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Heavily strategic Polish buy-out for Naturex finalised

By Kacey Culliney , 09-Mar-2012
Last updated on 09-Mar-2012 at 13:23 GMT

French botanicals giant, Naturex, will venture into the fruit and vegetable concentrates sector for the first time and almost double pectin production, as its acquisition of Polish manufacturer, Pektowin, is finalised.

The buy-out of the state-owned Polish company was signed on January 11, 2012 for €8.4m and has now been finalised following small accounting refinements.

“This acquisition is a major one and very important from a strategy point of view," Jacques Dikansky, president and CEO of Naturex, told FoodNavigator.com.

Dikansky said that the company’s pectin output will more or less double and producing in Poland means working close to the source.

“Before the acquisition, Eastern Europe represented about 3% of our business, around €6 or €7m,” he noted, but sales will be doubled in this region as a result of this acquisition.

Presence in Poland and Russia will also be significantly strengthened, he added.

Strategic first venture, old expertise…

Obtaining Pektowin will broaden Naturex’s product portfolio and fill a business gap, Dikansky said, as ventures will be made into the fruit and vegetable concentrates sector.

“This is our first venture into [fruit and vegetable concentrates]… but we are very strong in fruit and vegetable powders… so we need a lot of concentrate to produce these powders,” he said.

Producing concentrates will cut costs and benefit several areas of Naturex, including the powders and foodstuffs colouring range, he said, as “we will not have to buy them from elsewhere.”

While Naturex has no direct expertise in concentrates, Dikansky has knowledge on this sector as founder of Diana Naturals, a concentrates supplier.

Restructuring is essential

Dikansky said that full integration is ongoing, including system implementation and staff restructuring.

“We changed the Board of Directors immediately,” he said, “we had to change the board as it was previously state-owned and so members of this board had been selected by the government.”

“We have not kept any of Pektowin’s previous board members but we have kept managers and directors throughout the company,” he added.

Business focus will be on both pectin production and fruit and vegetable concentrates, Dikansky said, and Pektowin’s processed foods division will be ceased.

“We don’t want to keep this area of the business. It only represents a third of Pektowin and we want to exit as soon as possible… This will happen before the end of 2012. We know we want to exit and we are looking at different option to do so,” he said.

Naturex will focus on increasing efficiency, as “the organisation was not efficiently run” before, Dikansky said, and as a result production costs were very high.

“Naturex’s current EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) is around 17% or 18% and the goal is to reach the same by 2013 with the Pektowin business,” he said.

Eyes elsewhere?

Naturex has been involved in a string of buy-outs Dikansky said that Naturex is targeting Asia; “I hope that we will announce a new acquisition quite shortly.”

He previously revealed that the buy-out is with an unnamed Asian supplier, and will close by the end of March 2012.

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