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, and will facilitate both organic growth and targeted bolt-on acquisitions. At today’s exchange rates the net proceeds would equal €423.5m, however the share price is at the lower end of the anticipated range of between DKK 86 and DKK 117 per share.
The company’s retail offering closed yesterday after 5 days, with 5000 investors allocated shares. Ten per cent of the shares have gone to retailers in Denmark and the remainder to Danish and international institutional investors.
Lars Frederiksen, CEO of Chr. Hansen said: “We are very pleased with the substantial interest we have received from retail and institutional investors in Denmark and institutional investors internationally, particularly in light of the recent market turbulence. We see this as a strong sign of confidence in our business model and our plans for the next phase of growth.
“We are delighted to welcome the approximately 5,000 new shareholders, and are at the same time pleased to be able to continue the successful collaboration with PAI partners who have retained a considerable stake in the company.”
Frédéric Stévenin, partner at PAI partners, said the flotation confirms “what has long been our belief, that Chr. Hansen is an attractive proposition for investors”. Commentators have said PAI’s share remains at around 50 per cent.
Reuters has remarked that the offering marks a “thaw in Danish IPOs” after several years of inactivity.
Chr Hansen management has previously indicated that part of the funds raised will be used to pay “certain indebtedness”.
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.
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 and nutrition; and colours and blends.