Expanding on its strategy to deliver natural products, Swiss company Givaudan — global leader in the creation of flavors and fragrances — agreed to acquire 40.6% of the shares of plant-based ingredient manufacturer Naturex, for a premium price of $1.6 billion.
The valuation is unusually high for the health-care and technology industries, which reflects that the consumer demand for natural and organic products is reaching the supply chain, Bloomberg reported.
Vontobel analyst Jean-Philippe Bertschy described the move as making strategic sense “as Givaudan is securing a leading position in naturals,” but the price “seems very high.”
“Givaudan is the global leader in the space of natural flavours and Naturex further complements our capabilities with its strong portfolio of plant extracts and natural ingredients across the food and beverage, nutrition and health and personal care sectors,” said Givaudan CEO Gilles Andrier, in a statement announcing the deal.
Givaudan has a global network with local presence in nearly 50 countries. Naturex, headquartered in Avignon, France, employs 1,700 people worldwide.
“The combination is supported by a strong strategic rationale with an ambition to become the leader in natural ingredients,” said Naturex CEO Olivier Rigaud. Naturex sources, manufactures and markets natural specialty ingredients for the food, health and cosmetic industries. Its portfolio includes colors, antioxidants, specialty fruits and vegetables, phytoactives and other plant-based natural ingredients.
The deal marks the latest in a series of Givaudan acquisitions designed to establish a strong natural products capability. Its three acquisitions in 2017 include Activ International, a flavor, marine extract and seafood and vegetable-based culinary creator; Vika BV, a natural dairy solutions company, and Centroflora Nutra, which manufactures botanical extracts and dehydrated fruits for the food, beverage and consumer goods sectors.
In a first step, the Vernier-based company will acquire 40.6% of Naturex’s shares at 135 euros each, and then will begin a tender offer for the remaining stock at the same price, Givaudan said in its statement. The companies didn’t identify the sellers.