A BASF spokesperson refused to comment on the speculation of a bid of about €3bn, despite the Financial Times reporting that BASF insiders had confirmed the bid last Friday.
Permira and Goldman Sachs paid €2.5bn for Cognis in 2001, but estimates of the company’s worth have dipped as low as €1.5bn in the wake of the recession.
It is believed US specialty chemicals maker Lubrizol and UK-based Croda have withdrawn any interest they may have shown in a buy-out that has been linked to BASF as far back as 2008.
Vitamin B2 price increase
Meanwhile, BASF has increased the price of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) by 10 per cent, citing rising raw material costs as the reason.
The German firm, which is one of the two biggest vitamin B manufacturers in the world, along with Chinese-based Hubei Guangji Pharmaceutical, revealed no other detail about the increase.
It said it would in August be closing the South Korean facility at Gunsan that exclusively manufactures its vitamin B for “a few weeks” to perform annual maintenance, but said this would not affect supply of the nutrient.
The global vitamin B market has enjoyed healthy price levels for several years but the market dynamic changed somewhat last year when two new Chinese enterprises entered the fray.
Between them, Xinfa Pharmaceutical and a partnership between Hubei Guangji Pharmaceutical and Henan Golden Corn, have added potential capacity to the sector of 4000+ tones per year.
In human nutrition riboflavin is most commonly used in vitamin B complexes and multivitamin products, and has also become a staple in many energy drinks due its links to boosted energy levels.
Vitmain B2 is important for the production of red blood cells, antibody production, regulation of thyroid activity, and other functions. It is also commonly added to breakfast cereals.
Market researcher, Euromonitor, puts the global market for all B vitamins at €2.6bn.
It is typically one of the best selling letter vitamins in the supplements aisle and recently benefitted from a recent study that found high-dose vitamin B2 supplementation could benefit migraine sufferers.
Such healthy demand has helped the fermentation-derived ingredient maintain a price of about €40-€90 per kilogram of material depending on volumes and whether it is food or feed grade.
Riboflavin’s yellow-orange colour means it is often used as a food colouring.
It is typically found in legumes, yeast, mushrooms, almonds, dairy products and cruciferous vegetables.