The global food ingredients company has been owned by private equity firm PAI Partners since July 2005. PAI acquired the company for €1.1bn and implemented a change in strategy towards specialising in bioscience, and profits have swelled from €80m in 2005 to €150m (EBITDA after special items) last financial year.
The move is being billed as heralding the next stage in Chr Hansen’s story.
CEO Lars Frederiksen said in a statement that “a possible flotation would mark an important step in our future development and NASDAQ OMX would be the natural listing location for Chr. Hansen”.
Frederiksen added that the listing would provide a good platform for the company to grow organically, and through targeted bolt-on acquisitions.
As for the projected €450m to be raised by the listing, the company has said this will be used to repay “certain indebtedness”. A partial secondary sell-down by existing shareholders is also being contemplated.
The company’s main ingredient offering consists of food cultures, probiotics, dairy enzymes and natural colours. These are organised into three divisions: cultures and enzymes; health and nutrition; and colours and blends.
Speaking to FoodNavigator.com last year, Frederiksen indicated that he places a high store in R&D. Between 2006 and 2009, the R&D budget increased by 20 per cent, to €30m.
Chr. Hansen had already indicated in its Q1 results that it was considering such a move, but with no details attached.
No timescale for the IPO has been given at this time, but a team of advisors has been appointed by Chr Hansen and PAI Partners. Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) and JP Morgan Securities are to act as joint global coordinators, and the joint bookrunners are Credit Suisse, Danske Markets, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and SEB Enskilda.