PETROCHEMICAL giant Ineos, which has offices in Lyndhurst, is building a new factory to manufacture 1-million bottles of hand sanitiser a month to aid the battle against the coronavirus.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the multi-billionaire who chairs the company and has a house in Beaulieu, said it will build the facility in just 10 days near Middlesbrough.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that hand-to-mouth infection is a significant cause of corona virus contagion and Ineos is Europe’s largest manufacturer of the core ingredient of hand sanitiser,” Sir Jim said.
“We will build two factories in the UK and Germany in 10 days to produce very substantial supplies.”
He added: “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 said the hand sanitisers will be produced according to World Health Organisation specifications and specifically designed to kill bacteria and viruses.
The company is the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitisers: isopropyl alcohol and ethanol.
It said it is already running its plants flat out and has been diverting more of this product to essential medical use, and will now build two new factories to make hand sanitiser from them.
In its announcement Ineos said it intends to produce both standard and the increasingly popular “pocket bottle” hand sanitisers and is already talking to retail outlets across Europe.
Supplies to NHS hospitals will be free of charge for the period of the crisis, with the public to able to purchase bottles through retailers.
A company spokesman added: “Ineos takes its corporate and social responsibilities extremely seriously – its products are essential to the production of essential healthcare products from rubber gloves, to PVC saline drips, syringes, ventilators, medical tubing.
“Its products purify the public drinking water. It produces raw materials for soap, acetone for aspirin and paracetamol, and its phenol is being used in pharmaceutical analysis essential in procedures necessary to find a vaccine.”
More information is available at www.ineoshandgel.com.