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Finnish paint factory pumps out 100k litres of hand sanitiser a week

The roughly 74-year-old company has hired 21 people in the past week to satisfy demand for the product.

Käsiä desifioidaan.
GVK Coating Technology is sourcing the active ingredient in the product - alcohol - from the firm that makes Koskenkorva spirits. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Following a worldwide shortage of hand sanitiser, a paint factory in south-west Finland has started producing the product in order to meet a surge in demand as the coronavirus crisis continues.

GVK Coating Technology’s facilty, based on the small island municipality of Pargas is pumping out about 100,000 litres of the disinfectant per week, according to CEO Anssi Seppinen, who added that factory workers were working three shifts around the clock.

Seppinen said that there will soon be a lot of hand sanitiser on the market and that people don’t need to worry, explaining that the alcohol-based cleanser was being shipped to Kesko stores this week.

While the ongoing coronavirus crisis has brought many other businesses to their knees, consumer demand for hand disinfectant has allowed GVK to expand production.

"Of course it is a positive development in the sense that all companies are worried about the future [during this crisis]. We've been fortunate enough to be able to hire 21 additional staff in less than a week," Seppanen said.

Retail price cap agreements

The company sources the raw alcohol from state-owned booze manufacturer Altia, which among other things, makes the popular grain alcohol beverage Koskenkorva.

Seppinen said that GVK is not out to make huge profits on the new arrangement, explaining that there will only be a minor profit margin on the wholesale price of the disinfectant. He added that the firm is also making price ceiling agreements with retailers.

Hand sanitiser production at the plant has not interfered with output of the firm’s normal product - paint, according to the CEO. The factory has been operating since shortly after the second World War, in 1946.

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