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Raisio sells testing labs to Eurofins

By Shane Starling , 03-Jul-2008

Benecol-owner Raisio has signed a deal with analytical specialist and fellow Finnish company, Eurofins Scientific Finland, that will see it take over Raisio's laboratory operations in September.

The undisclosed deal will see Raisio's existing 45 lab staff become Eurofins employees but no shift in location will occur and Raisio's research and development activities will be unaffected. Eurofins Scientific Finland will take over the running of Raisio's south western Finland facility that primarily engages in analytical and quality control procedures in the areas of microbiology, fat, ingredients, research and grain laboratories, as well as sensory analysis operations. Raisio will then become one of Eurofins' clients in the manner of an outsourcing arrangement, with Eurofin's renting the premises from Raisio. Eurofins, part of the Belgian-based Eurofins Scientific Group, said it will seek to attract other clients to the facility. Raisio vice president of operations, Vesa Kurula, emphasised the move allowed Raisio to focus on its core food, ingredients and feed activities and did not in any way affect its commitment to research and development. "This move makes resources more flexible and passes an aspect of our operations to a major specialist in this area," Kurula told NutraIngredients.com. "Our commitment to research and development is unchanged as that is another part of our business. This deal was all about ensuring the resources for analytics and quality control were in the best hands and we felt outsourcing this non-core aspect of our business made the most sense at this time." Raisio previously outsourced its entire IT department and had seen productivity improvements from that move. Operation outsource The company noted the increasingly technical nature of product analysis had been a driving factor in its decision to outsource, as well as cost savings. It said the move would make its operations more efficient, leading to "significant cost savings in the coming years". "Outsourcing laboratory analytics to an important international player will ensure that Raisio gets services that meet its needs in the future, as the field continues to grow more technical and the level of demands rises," the company said. Eurofins Scientific Finland was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. Its parent, founded in 1997, employs more than 7000 people in 29 countries. Raisio had turnover of €422m in 2007 and employs 1100 people. Raisio produces the Benecol plant stanol, cholesterol-lowering ingredient as well as Benecol cholesterol-lowering food range it sells in more than 30 countries. The range includes margarines, spreads, cream cheese-style spreads, yoghurts, yoghurt drinks, cereals, milk and soy drinks, pasta and olive oil.

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