France’s PAI Partners acquired Chr Hansen in July 2005 for €1.1bn. Since then the company has implemented a change in focus, from being a one-stop ingredient supplier to specialising in bioscience.
This management strategy has brought organic growth of around 10 per cent each year (exchange rates notwithstanding), and profits have swelled from €80m in 2005 to €150m (EBITDA after special items) last financial year.
The confirmation that public listing is being mulled came in the Q1 results statement, where the company posted 6 per cent growth in revenues on the prior year period to €128m. EBITDA was also up by 22 per cent to €39m.
However tales of a potential floatation started circulating last year, when Reuters quoted sources as saying the company could be valued at around 2bn, and that the IPO could take place as early as 2010.
Chr Hansen has given no firmer indication of the timescale, simple saying in its statement“within the coming years”.
Speaking to FoodNavigator.com last November, when Chr. Hansen’s annual results were published, CEO Lars Frederiksen said: “It is clear there will be a change of ownership some time in the future, but when that will be it is impossible to say.
What is important is that we run a pretty tight ship and have good performance,” he said, addingthat it would not make sense for a future owner to tear it all apart.
Frederiksen said the company’s immediate plans are to continue expanding. While he is pleased with the level of investment in R&D at the moment – the 6 per cent of revenue is higher than in previous years – he signalled that he “would like to see it grow”.