Novonesis: Chr Hansen and Novozymes merge to form €3.7bn ‘biosolutions’ major

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

The name ‘Novonesis’ comes from a mash-up between ‘novo’, meaning new, and ‘genesis’ – Greek for ‘origin’ or ‘beginning’. GettyImages/Wasan Tita
The name ‘Novonesis’ comes from a mash-up between ‘novo’, meaning new, and ‘genesis’ – Greek for ‘origin’ or ‘beginning’. GettyImages/Wasan Tita

Related tags Novozymes Novo Holdings Chr hansen

Just over a year after announcing plans to merge, Danish enzyme and cultures suppliers Novozymes and Chr Hansen have joined forces under a new company name: Novonesis.

In Denmark, the national business authority has officially registered Novonesis, marking the completed merger​ between enzyme and cultures suppliers Novozymes and Chr Hansen.  The combined group will have an estimated annual revenue of €3.7bn.

Coming together to form a ‘global biosolutions partner’, Novonesis combines both companies’ strengths and aims to innovate and develop ‘transformative’ biosolutions that improve how populations produce, consume and live, commented Novonesis CEO and president Ester Baiget.

“And we have gathered the brightest minds and together with my 10,000 colleagues, we will unlock the limitless potential of biosolutions.”

Novonesis will be headed up by former Novozymes CEO Baiget, leading a team dominated by other ex-Novozymes employees (just one-third of the new executive team joins from Chr Hansen).

Former Chr Hansen CEO Mauricio Graber has stepped down with the creation of Novonesis.

How will the Novonesis business functions be organised?

By joining forces, the new company automatically expands its portfolio and reach. Novonesis will now serve more than 30 industries with its 10,000-strong workforce. Infrastructure spans around 40 R&D and application centres and more than 20 manufacturing sites.

Why the name 'Novonesis'?

The name ‘Novonesis’ comes from a mash-up between ‘novo’, meaning new, and ‘genesis’ – Greek for ‘origin’ or ‘beginning’. Since Novozymes also used the ‘novo’ reference, as does Novo Holdings (an investor in both Chr Hansen and Novozymes), the new company claims the word is ‘globally associated with strong capabilities’ and a ‘Nordic heritage’. “These are all assets and values that are shared by the future combined company.”

Half of the portfolio is now dedicated to biosolutions for human health (including prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes) and for food and beverage applications. ‘Human Health’ incorporates Novozymes’ Human Health and Chr Hansen’s Human Health divisions, whereas ‘Food & Beverages’ incorporates Novozymes’ Food & Beverage and Chr Hansens’ Food Cultures & Enzymes businesses.

The latter spans ingredients that extend shelf-life in categories such as dairy and bakery; serve the infant nutrition industry; and claim to improve taste, texture, and nutrition in plant-based foods.

The other half of the portfolio is dedicated to biosolutions for planetary health, including bioenergy and carbon capture technologies, as well as plant and animal health.

“All Novonesis solutions fit into three commercial business areas that are directly responsible for sales, marketing, applied research and customer-driven innovation,” ​Lina Danstrup, head of external communications at Novonesis, told FoodNavigator.

“They also lead business choices and set priorities for cross-functional collaboration. This reflects our customer and innovation-driven approach.”

Novonesis revenue synergies and sustainability ambitions

From a financial perspective, there is strong collaboration potential: the company is expecting annual revenue synergies of an estimated €200m, with an EBIT impact thought to be achievable within four years of completion. Cost synergies of an estimated €80-90m is thought to be realised within three years of completion.

“Novonesis will present a 2024 financial outlook no later than March 31. This includes more detail impact and benefits within the F&B portfolio,” ​Danstrup revealed.

Beyond 2025, Novonesis plans to ‘continue to deliver accelerated sustainable growth’ from its existing business, coupled with new innovation and growth opportunities.

As to the new company’s sustainability ambitions, Novonesis is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050. By 2030, the company is aiming for a 75% reduction in absolute CO2 emissions from its own operations (scope 1 and 2) and a 35% reduction in absolute CO2 emissions from its supply chain (scope 3).

The merger follows, and was conditional on, the divestment of Novonesis’ lactase enzyme business​ to Kerry Group, which has now been approved.

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