In its first-quarter results, Lonza said the strategic review process of the wood protection division was proceeding according to plan and an information memorandum sent out recently had met with broad market interest.

Lonza completed a carve-out process of the wood protection division this year after earlier signalling plans to focus on the specialty ingredients/biotech markets.

A Lonza contact said the company could not comment as to how many interested parties had responded or whether the interest registered was for the whole wood protection division or part of it. The spokesperson said all options were being considered for the division, including retaining the business and listening to offers from interested parties.

“The plan is to take our time and go as carefully as we can in any decision we make. It [the wood protection division] is making money for us. We have to do the right thing for our shareholders and employees. There are a lot of options to consider.”

In Lonza’s Q1 report, the company reported a positive outlook from key drivers and indicators. It said US housing starts were forecast to be the highest this year since 2007, despite a slow start in Q1, while US home improvement spending continuing to grow.

In its annual financial results published in January, Lonza said increased European wood protection volumes were mostly down to the UK, thanks to signs of recovery in the construction and agricultural sectors.

In the UK, Castleford-based Lonza Wood Protection – part of Lonza’s Arch Timber Protection Ltd business – supplies the Tanalised and Tanatone timber preservative brands for pressure treatment of timber, as well as brush-on end-grain preservative products and Dricon and Non-Com fire-retardant products.