The announcement aligns with Firmenich’s focus on natural and sustainable ingredients.
Firmenich liaised with First Eagle Investment Management on the deal to acquire the 17% minority stake in Robertet, still subject to regulatory approval of the French body Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).
Supporting strong, continued growth
Robertet turned over €525m last year, up 4.2% on the previous year, and runs most of its global business in Europe (36%); followed by 33% in North America; 19% in Asia; 8% in South America and 4% in Africa & Middle East. Specialised in natural raw materials, the French ingredients player splits business between fragrances (37.3%) flavours (36.8%) and raw materials (25.9%), sourcing the latter from 60 countries worldwide.
Patrick Firmenich, chairman of the board of Firmenich, said the investment reflected a commitment to “best support Robertet’s continued growth”.
Firmenich said it planned to be a “passive long-term shareholder” in Robertet but was also “open to having friendly discussions for a larger participation or establishing a broader collaboration”. Should it be invited to do so, Firmenich may also consider taking a controlling interest, it said.
An ultra-natural move
Gilbert Ghostine, CEO of Firmenich, said the investment was “fully in line” with Firmenich’s focus on sustainable and natural ingredients.
“With its strong naturals portfolio in perfumery, flavours and ingredients, Robertet is well positioned to benefit from consumers’ continued demand for authentic natural products,” Ghostine said.
David Suffit Reedman, senior director of Fine Fragrance Development Europe at Firmenich, previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe ultra-natural was a trend taking significant hold across several beauty and personal care categories that held great promise.
“The main trend in the market is this quest and idea around ultra-natural; being really close to nature and this wish to be very true to life,” Suffit Reedman said. “…This is something we really see from the consumer, this desire to be close to nature, and I think it’s one of our biggest opportunities.”