• Sales of ingredient icaridin to grow 50 percent year-on-year
  • Saltigo unit to adapt plant capacity to meet increased demand

Lanxess AG has seen a surge in demand for an ingredient used in mosquito repellents because of the spread of the Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.

Sales of icaridin, an active ingredient used in insect repellents, are expected to grow by 50 percent this year with demand coming mostly from Latin America, Lanxess said in a statementon Thursday, declining to give precise figures. Plant capacity is being adapted to meet the increased demand, the Cologne, Germany-based company said.

The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency over the Zika virus, which has spread to more than 20 countries from Brazil to Indonesia, recommending that travelers to the area where the disease is endemic use mosquito repellents. Icaridin is produced by Lanxess’s Saltigo unit, which makes compounds for various agricultural and pharmaceutical products.

“Since the start of the year, demand for the active ingredient icaridin, which we market under the name Saltidin, has risen very rapidly,” said Saltigo Managing Director Wolfgang Schmitz. Saltidin is used by numerous manufacturers worldwide in insect repellents, the company said.

Lanxess shares gained 1 percent to 37.35 euros as of 12:38 p.m. in Frankfurt, reversing an earlier decline. The stock has lost 12 percent this year, reducing the market value to 3.4 billion euros ($3.8 billion).

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended insect repellents, including ones containing the active ingredient icaridin, for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children from the age of two, Lanxess said.

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