While the undisclosed transaction – which makes Symrise Probi’s largest investor – is purely financial at this stage, Probi CEO Michael Oredsson said the two firms would be sitting down to discuss how they can jointly drive commercial projects.
“They have a global sales force and a lot of R&D expertise so we will look at how to leverage that,” Oredsson told us. “So they definitely bring more marketing and R&D muscle to the table.”
Symrise spokesperson Bernhard Kott said aggressive Symrise had evaluated probiotic firms for some time before choosing to invest in Probi because of its probiotic strain portfolio and the fact it was, “a very well-managed company”.
“This is our first venture into probiotics so this deal is all about complementary competencies and while not defined yet, we are looking to leverage those competencies. It’s a very interesting playing field, the probiotics sector.”
He said Symrise may have become Probi’s biggest shareholder but the German firm had no intention to influence business decisions at board level.
Probi is listed on the Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange in Stockholm.
Symrise’s stake consisted of 1,102,301 shares or 11.8 % of the capital and 12.1 % of the voting rights.
Kott said sector expansion was in the firm’s DNA and that further investments and acquisitions were planned.
Symrise is the world’s fourth largest supplier of fragrances and flavourings after Givaudan, Firmenich and International Flavors and Fragrances. It operates in 160 countries and had a turnover of €1.6bn in 2011.
Probi had sales of more than €10m in 2011 and has deals with Danone and Merck.