In the 1980s the economy in Argentina - South America's second largest country with a 37 million population - stumbled, weighed down by a stagnant economy, burdensome foreign debt, and hyperinflation.
Since then an effort to reverse the situation with a path of trade liberalisation, deregulation, and privatisation has encouraged foreign investors into the country, notably the food giants targeting some of the best growth opportunities in the global market in the years ahead. A market poised to grow by 50 per cent from 2000 to 2010.
Following its international customers into the Argentine arena, the Copenhagen-based global leader in cultures said this week it had made a DKK 5 million (€0.67m) investment in new 2000 m2 facilities. Pilot plants and application laboratories for meat & prepared foods, dairy, and food and beverages will be 'the cornerstone in the company's aim to expand its activities in the Argentine food market'.
"After some years with a slow-down in the Argentine economy, it is now again showing promise, and we believe that the time is ripe to strengthen our activities in the country," said Jan Boeg Hansen, group vice president.
In July this year third quarter sales in South America for Chr Hansen were 'very satisfactory' for the firm, with 29 per cent organic growth, resulting in overall nine-month organic growth of 7 per cent. Although figures in Brazil were knocked, Chr Hansen reported decent sales growth 'especially in Argentina and Central America'.
"The launch of a new product line, SENSES, which combines Chr. Hansen's colours and flavours in a number of food products, also contributed to increasing sales," said the firm in the third quarter statement to 31 May.
The ingredients company, with a €584 million turnover in 02/03, also reports that in the last two weeks its share value has risen by more than 18 per cent, and during the past year stock has increased by 50 per cent.
"The booming share value is caused by a better than market performance by Chr Hansens ingredients division, that has showed a 7 per cent organic growth," a spokesperson for Chr Hansen said to FoodNavigator.com.