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Dip in bread sales impacts Novozymes food unit

01-Feb-2005

Sales for food enzymes crept up by a slight 2 per cent in 2004 for number one enzymes player Novozymes, but a boost in low carb beverages continues to lift profit.

The Bagsvaerd-based company is a leading supplier of food enzymes, ingredients widely used across the food industry from enzymatic interesterification to shelf life extension, with nearly 60 per cent of the market.

Food enzyme sales in the US continue to be bruised by the low carbohydrate diet frenzy, which at its peak, now passed, had an estimated 30 million followers. The diet encourages consumers to turn away from carbohydrate products, like bread and pasta, and has concurrently fanned a rise in protein purchases.

Sales for the food division rose just a wisp, contributing €193 million to total turnover of €800 million. The rest of the firm's portfolio, technical and feed enzymes, and microorganisms, provided the remaining 75 per cent of turnover.

Counterbalancing the fall in bread enzyme sales, the 3900-strong firm reports that food enzyme sales to the brewing industry in the US were positively impacted by the low-carb trend, "partly due to an increase in demand for low-carbohydrate beer produced using enzymes."

Net profit for the year came in at €105 million, a 7.7 per cent rise on 2003, helped by substantial gains from double digit growth in the developing markets of Latin America and Asia Pacific.

But there are signs that the bakery enzyme market, that currently constitutes about a third of the overall food enzyme market, could actually bring the strongest gains in the near future with recent research from market analysts Frost and Sullivan pinpointing these enzymes as the fastest growing segment with a compound annual growth rate of about 7.2 per cent.

The report, that covers the three largest segments of the food enzyme industry - starch and sugar processing enzymes, dairy enzymes and bakery enzymes - pitched them collectively as worth $142.4 million (€117m) in 2003.

The market for bakery enzymes came in at $42.1 million in 2003 and is expected to climb to $68.7 million by 2010.

With $62.2 million in value and 43.7 per cent of the total revenues, starch and sugar processing enzymes are the largest market but with a slow growth rate hit by industry consolidation, says the Frost & Sullivan report, tipping the CAGR at a low 2.3 per cent between 2003 and 2010.

Novozymes has about 50 to 60 per cent of the overall food enzyme market . US firm Genencor International can claim roughly 30 per cent of the market. Last week Danish player Danisco announced plans to acquire Genencor, in which it already has a hefty stake. The move will give Danisco an immediate number two position in food enzymes.

According to the Frost & Sullivan report, Novozymes and Genencor are the top two players in starch and sugar processing enzymes controlling 97 per cent of the market between them. In the US their major customers in the industry include agribusiness Cargill, starch firm AVEBE, and UK sugar and sweeteners group Tate & Lyle.

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