Share issue to fund further Naturex expansion

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic growth Nutrition Business terms Naturex

Naturex is ready to implement the next step in its plan to make
more strategic acquisitions in the food and nutraceuticals sector
plan after raising €13.2m by issuing more than a quarter of a
million new shares.

The French plant extract manufacturer signalled its intention to start looking for new opportunities in April, when it released a particularly positive set of results for the first quarter 2006. It was not immediately evident at that time how it planned to fund the proposed acquisitions. The funding released through the issue of 266,148 shares at the price of € 49.70 gives it a respectable fighting fund to put its plans into effect.

Company chairman Jacques Dikansky said: "We now have the necessary financial resources to continue with our targeted acquisitions policy. We intend to strengthen our position as a leading global player in our business, the extraction and formulation of plant extracts for use in the food and nutraceutical industries."

Naturex's current programme is phase two of a plan that sprang to life in January 2005, when it raised €9.27 million in an earlier share placement and started casting about for two or three suitable acquisitions.

In the event, its first purchase was US-based Pure World in June 2005; with a $37m (€30m) price tag, this was no small transaction for Naturex, which last year had a turnover of €34.8m for full year 2004.

It gave itself a window of 18- to 24-months to integrate Pure World, including the implementation of a new management structure. In fact, the digestion process was completed six months earlier than expected and the US business has already started making a contribution towards growth.

Sales for Q1 2006 increased by 120 per cent over the prior year period to €18.3m, a boon attributed partly to Pure World and partly to organic growth.

Organic growth was 28.1 per cent - far and above the yearly target organic growth rate announced last March of between 10 and 15 per cent.

Naturex's headquarters are in Avignon, France, but over 90 per cent of its sales are generated from overseas. It is active in 30 countries outside France, and 70 per cent of sales are now in the US market.

It recently made its first inroads into Asia, and that market, still in its start-up phase, saw a 26.4 per cent increase in activities in Q1.

A spokesperson for Naturex could not be reached prior to publication for more information about what geographical markets the company may be targeting through its next acquisition, or whether negotiations have yet been instigated.

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