IFF outlines merger plans with DuPont division

Dive Brief:

  • The new company resulting from the merger of International Flavors and Fragrances and DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences division, which is scheduled to close in the first quarter of next year, has declared its purpose: “Applying science and creativity for a better world,” with a vision to “be the partner for essential solutions,” the companies announced this week.
  • The $26.2 billion deal, announced in December, will have four divisions: Taste, Food and Beverage — made up of IFF’s Taste division and DuPont’s Food & Beverage division; Scent — currently an IFF division; Health & Biosciences — which will include probiotics, fibers, cultures, food enzymes, biorefineries and microbial control; and Pharma Solutions from DuPont.
  • Current IFF executives will be well represented in the combined company. Current CEO Andreas Fibig and CFO and Executive Vice President Rustom Jilla will continue in their current roles. Matthias Haeni, who currently leads IFF’s Flavors division, and Amy Byrick, the platform leader for DuPont’s Food & Beverage division, will both be presidents of the new Taste, Food and Beverage division. Meanwhile, current DuPont leadership — including Executive Chairman and CEO Ed Breen, and Nutrition & Biosciences President Matthias Heinzel — will join the new company’s board of directors.

Dive Insight:

As IFF and DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences Division prepare to combine into a $45 billion powerhouse for food ingredients — as well as for fragrances and pharmaceuticals — coordination is key. So even though the actual merger is about a year off, it’s understandable the business plans and corporate structure are being established for the combined company now.

The structure is designed to leverage the strengths and capabilities of each company with category leaders in many divisions.

IFF reported earnings this week, the same day it announced the new company mission, vision and structure. On the call with analysts, Fibig said both companies have products that are solidly at the top of their divisions, as well as each being active in R&D and steadfast innovators. The combined R&D spend of both companies is about $550 million, and both entities have more than 9,000 patents.

“From day one we will bring unmatched innovation and leading edge insight to anticipate what will be essential to tomorrow’s consumers,” Fibig said. “We are more than a vendor or supplier. Yes, we supply the ingredients, components and solutions you require, but we’re also united in understanding and meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Both companies have performed well in the beginning of the year, even as the coronavirus pandemic has snarled supply chains and hampered manufacturing and research. In the first quarter of 2020, IFF saw $1.3 billion in sales, with 5% growth in its Scent division, and 3% growth in Taste.

DuPont, which reported earnings May 5, had a good quarter in its Nutrition & Biosciences Division with sales of $1.5 billion — 1% more than a year before. Probiotics ingredients had their strongest quarter ever, as consumers worldwide continue to look for functional foods that boost immune health. Protein solutions were also up as a result of increased consumer demand for packaged goods and plant-based meat.

In order for this new combined company to become a true powerhouse, the merger must be approved by shareholders and regulators in countries where it does business. According to the release announcing the business purpose and vision, the companies got antitrust approval from the U.S. in March. The shareholder vote is scheduled for September, he said.

IFF is known for using acquisitions to build its business and capabilities. In 2018, it acquired Frutarom Industries for $7.1 billion, increasing its reach into natural colors, enzymes, antioxidants and health ingredients. In the most recent earnings report, this acquisition significantly helped increase growth in its Taste business, Fibig said in the earnings call. If it were broken out as its own business, Frutarom would have seen 4% growth over the same period last year.

While IFF’s coming merger with DuPont is the biggest pending deal, other ingredients companies are also using acquisitions to increase their capabilities. Ingredion is entering the stevia market in a huge way, buying a controlling stake in Pure Circle, which is the global leader in ingredients and R&D for the sugar alternative. In 2018, Geneva-based Givaudan increased its footprint in the plant-based ingredient market by buying a stake in French company Naturex

The merger of IFF and DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences business will create a behemoth, but there will still be room for other players in the ingredients business. New ingredients and needs are ever-present in the food industry. Smaller companies that specialize in some of these solutions will have the opportunity to win that corner of the market — or become acquisition targets themselves.

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