Chemical giant Ineos has announced plans to build two hand sanitizer factories in just 10 days as part of the effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The material will be produced according to World Health Organization specifications and be specifically designed to kill bacteria and viruses. The company will produce both standard 250-milliliter size containers and 50-milliliter pocket bottle size packaging, both of which will be available from retailers as soon as possible.
The privately-owned multinational chemical company says it will produce 1 million bottles of hand sanitizer a month when the plants are in operation and is already talking to retail outlets across Europe. The company has said that supplies to NHS hospitals will be free of charge for the period of the crisis.
One factory will be at an existing Ineos site at Newton Aycliffe, England, while the other will be built in Germany. Ineos is the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitizers – isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol. Production of both has been running at full capacity since the outbreak. The company has been diverting more of this product to essential medical use and will now build two new factories to make hand sanitizer from them.
Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of Ineos, said in a statement that “Ineos is a company with enormous resources and manufacturing skills. If we can find other ways to help in the coronavirus battle, we are absolutely committed to playing our part.”
Ineos is not the only company pledging to help. In France, LVMH, the owner of famous luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Dior, has retooled its perfumes and cosmetics production units to manufacture and distribute large quantities of hand sanitizer to public authorities, free of charge. Moreover, drawing on its global distribution network, LVHM is now also addressing the shortage of surgical masks in the country.
Brewers and distillers around the world also have started revamping their production facilities in order to tackle the shortage of hand sanitizer. Big names in Europe such as BrewDog, Leith Gin, Verdant Spirits and Pernod Ricard, as well as local breweries around the continent are involved in the effort. Global corporations Diageo and Anheuser-Busch have also announced they will be revamping some production lines around the world to produce hand gel that will go to hospitals and frontline medical personnel.