Raisio appoints to fast-track growth of ingredients division

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Finnish food group Raisio has revealed plans to reinforce the
position of its ingredient division as a growth engine for its
business through new products, partnerships and business
development.

The company, which is best known for its Benecol brand of plant sterol ingredients and finished products that license the name, has knuckled down to restructuring over the past year. Ingredients have emerged as an area of potential for future growth. ​Measures to tap into this potential have involved reorganising the Ingredients business, focusing its sales approach on consumer applications and increasing production capacity so as to be more efficient. It is also regaining the rights to stanol ester and the Benecol brand from McNeil, its long-term partner so as to develop the business from a new starting point. The company today announced that it has hired a new VP business development Vincent Poujardieu, who is tasked particularly with accelerating growth in ingredients. ​The company has said this will be done "through development of the product portfolio, development of the partner network throughout the world, and through business development".​ The company said in September that it aims to retain a large slice of European and US cholesterol-lowering foods markets by introducing innovative product applications. It is also planning to enter Asian markets, where cholesterol is a matter of considerable concern as an emerging middle class ditches health, traditional eating habits for less healthy foods from the West. In the most recently reported quarter, July to September 2007, Raisio's ingredients division reported a decrease in turnover from €12.6m to €10.2m, and for the first nine months of 2007 it was down from €39.6m to €33.3m. The drop over the summer was attributed to strong seasonal fluctuations in partners' stocks and decreased volumes for the US and German markets. However the operating result for the third quarter remained at a level over 20 per cent of turnover - €2.1m, compared to €2.2m for the prior year period, including €0.3m of rationalisation expenses. ​The company said it expects turnover to return to the previous, normal level in the last quarter of the year. Poujardieu, whose most recent position was in business development, marketing and sales for European tobacco company Altadis, will also take overall responsibility for business development at a group level. Other measures taken this year to address profitability issues have involved divesting of unprofitable parts of the business such as the Russian potato business, closure of its wheat and rye mills in Finland, and transfer of its Russian margarine production to a subcontractor.

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