Growth in Asian and South American markets boost sales for colours firm Chr Hansen, counterbalancing a fall in revenue in North America for the first quarter of the year.
Sales at the ingredients unit of the Danish firm rose by 4 per cent overall, pulling in DKK845m (€113m) for months from September to November 2004. Creeping up from DKK836 m for the same period last year.
"Growth was primarily driven by sales of cultures and human health products, including pharma products," the Horsholm-based company said in a statement this week.
But strong pressure on prices in the rennet market knocked revenue for Europe that grew by 4 per cent, the firm added, and North American sales actually fell by 2 per cent.
Chr Hansen attributed a drop in orders for wine cultures, sweeteners and flavours to the fall. The company claims its new dairy culture system Easy-Set helped make up for the shortfall in the US, winning 'large market shares'.
Gains in South America, rising 17 per cent, were attributed to all product areas, except enzymes. In Asia, the firm said new sales offices in a number of countries had "resulted in strong sales growth", rising 16 per cent for the region.
Profit for the period rolled in at DKK114 million (€15.3m), a 7.5 per cent rise on the year before.
The number one cultures supplier announced, at the end of last year, the sale of its ingredients unit after a major stakeholder decided to pull away from the ingredients slice of the company, to focus on the pharmaceutical unit.
Not a surprise, the move evolved out of discussions over the past three years to separate the Danish group into two independent listed companies, an ingredient and an allergy vaccine company.
The ingredients operations of Chr. Hansen include cultures, enzymes, colours - where it is the number one natural colour supplier - flavours, seasonings and sweeteners. Industry players with the clout to acquire Chr Hansen may well meet with competition concerns. As such, observers suspect the group could be broken up into units.
But the CEO of Chr Hansen, Erik Soerensen told FoodNavigator.com at the time that this is definitely not the case: "The ingredients business will not be split up, it is all or nothing."