IFF sells its Flavor Specialty Ingredients business for $220M

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Dive Brief:

  • International Flavors & Fragrances will sell its Flavor Specialty Ingredients business to Exponent for $220 million in cash. The deal is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.
  • This business makes base aromas primarily for the flavor market. It has four manufacturing and distribution facilities — two in the U.K., one in Ohio and one in China — and additional distribution points in Mexico, Brazil and Hong Kong. The division has about 340 employees and generated more than $100 million in revenue during the past 12 months, IFF said.
  • In December, IFF CEO Frank Clyburn announced the company would be divesting three of its non-core businesses in the first quarter of 2023. This is the second of those to be announced. The company is also selling its Savory Solutions Group for $900 million.

Dive Insight:

IFF seems to be moving forward quickly with its strategy to trim its size to both cut expenses and better serve customers. This is the second major sale the ingredients mega-company has announced in the past two months.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate our portfolio as we go forward to make sure we have the right portfolio for our customers, but also making sure it aligns and helps us to focus on deleveraging our balance sheet,” Clyburn told analysts Thursday afternoon at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Florida.

Exponent is a U.K.-based private equity firm that describes itself as an investor looking for unique opportunities to help companies transform to reach a fuller potential. It was established in 2004 and has portfolio companies across a wide spectrum of functions, from theater operators to sightseeing bus tours to electrical engineering. In the food space, Exponent’s best-known investment is fermented meat analog maker Quorn, which it purchased in 2011 for 205 million pounds ($328 million at the time). Exponent sold Quorn in 2015 to its current owner, Monde Nissin, for 550 million pounds ($825 million at the time).

In a statement, Exponent partner Mark Taylor said that the Fragrance Specialty Ingredients business’s differentiated portfolio attracted their attention.

“This strong market position is founded on deep technical expertise and a reputation for supplying products of the highest quality,” Taylor said. “With further investment and support as an independent business, we see a significant opportunity to accelerate FSI’s growth.”

While this division does a lot of business, it’s small when compared to the larger IFF. The company has about 24,000 employees worldwide, and more than 340 sites at which it does work, according to IFF’s Investor Day presentation in December. While the FSI division has more than 970 customers, IFF as a whole has 50,000 customers.

This divestment, like that of the Savory Solutions Group, will help IFF reduce its debt. These moves, in conjunction with other structural changes, are intended to get IFF on a more solid financial footing for growth. With its new private equity ownership, FSI will get to be considered a large business and can focus on its own growth opportunities.

— Christopher Doering contributed to this report.

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About the Author

Jervie David Montejar
A food lover who wants to try every delicious dishes around him and spread the news to everyone to try it as well. Finding the latest trends about food and restaurants around Cebu and the rest of the world :) "Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." -Ernestine Ulmer
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