Raisio chemicals sale approved, clears debt

Related tags Stanol ester

The maker of Benecol, Finnish firm Raisio, has received regulatory
approval for the sale of its chemicals arm, which will rid the
company of its debt and allow it to focus solely on health foods
and ingredients.

The sale of Raisio Chemicals to Switzerland's Ciba Specialty Chemicals, announced in March, will close in the next few weeks, said the company.

The transaction is valued at €475 million and will free Raisio of its debts as it embarks on a new strategy focused around health and nutrition.

While the company said it will issue details of the strategy during the summer, it has already revealed that it is looking at developing new ingredients for its life sciences unit.

This division, responsible for producing plant sterols and stanol esters under the Benecol brand, saw one of its best quarters in some time at the beginning of 2004, with sales up by 88.7 per cent to €11.8 million. The figures were partly boosted by the recently acquired food diagnostics company Diffchamb but also by an excellent performance from the ingredients business, where sales rose from €6.3 million to €9.8 million.

Raisio is also setting up new R&D centres for both foods and food diagnostics to speed up development of new products for a bigger portfolio.

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