FRANKFURT, Feb 18 (Reuters) - German chemicals firm Lanxess expects sales of icaridin, an active ingredient in insect repellents, to grow by 50 percent year-on-year due to concerns over the Zika virus, it said on Thursday.
The Zika virus, which is spreading quickly across the Americas and prompted the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency, is usually transmitted by mosquitoes.
It has been linked to birth defect microcephaly and to neurological disease Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Lanxess said demand for icaridin, which its unit Saltigo markets under the name Saltidin, had risen “very rapidly” since the start of the year.
“Our plant capacity is currently being adapted to meet this increased demand,” Saltigo Managing Director Wolfgang Schmitz said in a statement, without saying how much production capacity the company had previously had.
The Saltigo business is part of the Advanced Intermediates division, which had total sales of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in the 2014 financial year. ($1 = 0.8988 euros)
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Keith Weir