The global flavours, fragrances and cosmetics ingredients firm’s flavour and nutrition division increased sales by 5% to €208m, versus €198m in the first quarter of 2011. At local currency rates, sales rose by 3% in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. However, pre-tax profit in the division was slightly hit by moderate sales growth and cost impacts from higher raw material prices, declining €42.2m in the first quarter of 2011 to €42m.
In the first quarter, Symrise strengthened its growing consumer health business by entering into an exclusive partnership with Indevex Biotech focus on joint research, as well as the development of new product concepts. With the partnership, Symrise secured access to a Scandinavian biotech network with existing product partnerships.
The company added that it had achieved particularly strong sales in North America, up by 11% at local currency rates. Asia/Pacific markets were hit by weak demand in the first two months, although March performance had shown considerable improvement. Oral care, sweet and beverage applications contributed to growth in Latin America.
Defying higher energy costs
Overall, Symrise said it defied higher energy costs and volatile raw material pricing to achieve pre-tax profit margin of 2% to €87m on sales up 4% in the quarter to €432.6m. The group said it generated almost a third of its sales with top 10 customers during the quarter.
Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, chief executive of Symrise, said: “Symrise is off to a solid start for the current fiscal year. After the subdued development at the beginning of this year, the market environment improved faster than originally anticipated. Our business with global customers has grown especially rapidly.
“We also expanded our market presence with targeted acquisitions and strengthened our focus on innovation in fast growing market segments. In view of the positive developments seen in this quarter, we are raising our sales outlook for the current financial year.”
Despite the fact that it predicted raw material volatility would continue in 2012, the company maintained its profit targets and forecast it would exceed previously expected market growth.