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No more alginate from San Diego

ISP have announced a major change in their alginate production with the transfer of many of their products to the Girvan factory in Scotland. The final outworking of this change will be the closure of alginate production at the San Diego early next year.

The closure of the San Diego factory marks the end of an important piece of alginate history. The San Diego factory was making alginate at the very beginning of the alginate industry and is presently the oldest alginate production site in existence. However times have changed from the heady days of the 1960s when alginate sales boomed with the new market created by the introduction of reactive cotton dyestuffs to the present day where cheap imports from Asia have largely eroded the profitability of the industry. This coupled with increasing environmental demands have made the manufacture of alginate in the western hemisphere look less and less attractive.

Girvan has also taken on the blends business from recently acquired blender Red Carnation as ISP reduces its overheads by consolidating its hydrocolloid bending operations into one site.

The announcement from ISP reads

ISP Shift Manufacturing of its Alginate Products

International Specialty Products (ISP) has announced that it will shift the manufacturing of many of its San Diego produced alginate products to its plant in Girvan, Scotland. San Diego plant operations currently employ 125 people and are expected to cease in early 2006. The entire San Diego product line will continue to be supported and products not transferred to Scotland will be manufactured under license.

According to Steve Olsen, ISP Senior Vice President for Global Marketing, this transition is necessary to ensure the continued, long term supply of premium alginate products. Mr. Olsen explains, "Our Girvan plant is the largest algin plant in the world and provides both the economy of scale and over sixty years of alginate production expertise. Reconfiguring our product sourcing will improve our ability to meet the needs of our customers and help us realize our plans for growth".

With operations dating back to 1929, the San Diego algin plant formed the foundation of the alginate industry. The San Diego plant and its people have a proud history of contributing to the San Diego economy and have done so for over 75 years. Unfortunately, persistently increasing production costs have necessitated this action.