March 18, 2020 / 6:11 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Tereos, Ricard offer help to address French sanitiser shortage

(Updates to include Ricard)

PARIS, March 18 (Reuters) - French sugar and ethanol maker Tereos and spirits company Pernod Ricard offered their help on Wednesday to address a shortage of alcohol sanitisers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus has infected some 200,000 people worldwide, according to a Reuters tally, including about 7,700 in France where the authorities ordered a lockdown from Tuesday.

Governments and health agencies have advised people to wash their hands and use hand sanitisers to curb the spread of the disease, prompting an increase in demand for the alcohol used in many of the products.

Tereos said it would boost the production of pharmaceutical alcohol at five of its factories in France to ensure the supply of 11,000 litres of hydroalcoholic gel per week to be given free of charge to the relevant authorities.

Ricard, part of the Pernod Ricard group which makes wines, spirits, whiskies, and champagne, said it was donating 70,000 litres of pure alcohol to Laboratoire Cooper, the leading supplier of hydroalcoholic gels to pharmacies in France.

This will allow Cooper to increase alcohol deliveries to pharmacies to produce hydroalcoholic gel by the equivalent of approximately 1.8 million individual 50 millilitre vials, it said.

Pernod Ricard said other companies in the group were supporting efforts to fight the coronavirus, including a similar move by the Absolut Vodka in Sweden.

Tereos said last week it had seen a spike in demand for denatured alcohol.

French rival Cristal Union said on Tuesday it was suspending the production of bioethanol at the Arcis sur Aube distillery to redirect production towards ethyl alcohol. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by David Clarke and Mark Potter)

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