The last financial year saw the Danish ingredient firm massively increase its investment in R&D. Anders Mohr Christensen, Chr Hansen’s senior director, investor relations, told this publication that the company spent €55 million on R&D during 2014-2015, which equated to 6.4% of revenue and an increase of 19% compared to the previous year.
“The increase was primarily driven by a step up in our efforts to develop new microbial solutions in plant protection and explore the opportunities for microbial solutions related to the human microbiome,” said Christensen.
“In addition to this, we also continue to develop solutions within our other and more established businesses for dairy cultures, animal and human health, natural colours, and more,” he added.
This year, Christensen said the company was intending to spend around 7% of revenue on R&D.
“One of several funding opportunities”
He was keen to emphasise that the EIB loan was “just one of several funding opportunities Chr Hansen uses” and the loan “will not change or expand” the company’s research & development programme beyond what had already been planned.
“Our R&D programme covers innovation of new bacterial solutions for food, especially dairy and meat, dietary supplements, animal health, plant protection and the human microbiome, and natural colour solutions for the food and beverage industry,” said Christensen.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU member states. Its remit is to make finance available for investments that contribute towards EU policy.
“We support projects that are financially, economically, socially, environmentally and technically sound, and contribute to EU economic policy objectives,” EIB press officer Alicja Chytla told NutraIngredients.
“We work to support sustainable growth and job creation by supporting our policy objectives, which include support for small businesses, backing innovation and skills, investing in infrastructure and financing essential environmental and climate-friendly projects.”
The benefit of obtaining a loan from EIB is that rates and maturities are often more attractive than those available in domestic markets, according to Chytla.
“Our excellent credit rating (AAA) means we can raise funds on the international capital markets at advantageous rates. The benefits are passed on to our clients, hence our loan conditions are more attractive,” she said.
There are no quotas for countries or sectors and the EIB finances projects in most sectors. In the last five years, the institution has provided around €10bn for projects to improve health through innovation and delivering better healthcare.