Italian pectin manufacturer snapped up by US firm

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fmc biopolymer, Thickening agent

Pectin Italia processes pectin, which is derived from lemon peel
Pectin Italia processes pectin, which is derived from lemon peel
Italian food pectin processor Pectine Italia has signed an agreement to be snapped up by US firm FMC Corporation for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase marks the entry into the pectin market of FMC, which is a mammoth diversified chemical company serving agricultural, industrial, environmental and consumer markets globally.

FMC said the move would expand its portfolio of hydrocolloid texturants and stabilisers. The company, which clocked up annual sales of $3.4bn (€2.77bn) in 2011, has been highly acquisitive in the past year.

“This acquisition continues our strategic expansion into the high growth, natural based food ingredients market,”​ said Michael Wilson, president, FMC Specialty Chemicals. “With our recent acquisitions of two natural food colours businesses, our entry into pectin underscores our commitment to broaden FMC’s portfolio of innovative food ingredients.”

Manufacturing capabilities

The acquisition provides FMC with high quality pectin manufacturing capabilities, located near important raw materials sources.

Pectine Italia, which has production facilities in Milazzo, Sicily, will become part of FMC BioPolymer, a business unit of FMC. FMC Biopolymer is one of the world’s leading providers of naturally-derived alginate, carrageenan, Avicel microcrystalline cellulose and natural colours serving the worldwide food, pharmaceutical, personal care and speciality markets.

Pectin, a well-known stabiliser and thickening agent used widely in foods and derived primarily from lemon peel.

Positive consumer image

“Pectin has a very positive consumer image and unique functionality that has helped it grow globally in recent years,”​ said Mike Smith, division manager, FMC Biopolymer. “It is particularly well-suited for low pH applications and our technical teams already work regularly with pectin.

“FMC Biopolymer’s global resources, technical service and more than 65 years of product development, coupled with Pectine Italia’s pectin processing knowledge, will allow us to grow a new platform as an industry-leading pectin supplier.”

The terms of the transaction, which FMC expects to complete in the third quarter, were not disclosed. Pectine Italia declined to comment.

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