Symrise acquires Unilever ingredients business

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Flavours Flavor Unilever

Symrise has acquired Unilever's UK non-branded food ingredients
business in a bid to reach further into dry seasonings for the
chilled foods, culinary and snack food sectors.

The German flavours and flavours player has been active in dry seasonings for some time and has been making a concerted strategic effort in this area. Earlier this year it acquired Steng, and in 2005 Flavours Direct. Both of these were British firms supplying the snack food sector. The new deal, which closed on September 1, marks new territory in this area. Not only does it complement Symrise's existing customer base, but it also gives access to new technologies and development resources which Heinrich Schaper, president, flavour and nutrition, Europe, Africa and Middle East, said "should see the business accelerate its growth".​ The business acquired from Unilever is based in Burton-on-Trent. Symrise expects to achieve some economies of scale through synergies with its other UK factories in Corby and Eye, but details of what precisely this entails have not been disclosed. Bernhard Kott, Symrise's director of marketing services, flavours, told that although sales of the Unilever business are Europe-wide, the biggest part of its customer base is in the UK. He added that Symrise expects to be able to increase its supply of flavours to the food service sectors off the back of the new acquisition. So far Symrise has not focused on the business-to-business food service sector, but it recognises that this is a growing area. With its 'taste for life' programme initiated last year, the company has also been positioning towards a combination of health and taste, including naturally-derived flavours and those that allow manufacturers to reduce sugar, fat and salt in finished products. Kott was unable to reveal the value of the transaction nor give an indication of the outlook. Since both Symrise and Unilever are listed companies, disclosure prior to publication of the annual report for financial year 2007 could influence the share price. A Unilever spokesperson had not responded to's request for perspective on that company's ingredients strategy going forward. But the UK non-branded division is understood to have been non-core to its activities, and the indication is that it will be focusing on branded ingredients. The business now in the hands of Symrise had a turnover of €5m in 2006. Symrise claims a place amongst the top four international flavours and fragrance companies, in a market that has seen considerable consolidation in the last few years. The company reported sales of €1.23bn in 2006.

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