The French plant extract supplier sees the sales objective as addressing the increasing demand from food makers for natural extracts as an alternative to synthetic ingredients. Naturex UK Ltd will enable Naturex to be closer to its current British and Irish clients, and situation in Oxford was strategic, based on the central location, Antoine Dauby, marketing manager, Naturex, told NutraIngredients.com. Dauby also said that the new commercial office will have no effect on sourcing of ingredients, nor on the strong scientific capabilities of the company already boasting extremely large extraction and spray-drying capabilities, an internal food application laboratory providing extract formulation expertise, all of which is backed up by QC and analytical power. The company has been strengthening its position on the European and global stage after having completed the integration of Pure World, which it bought for $37m (c €30m), in June 2005, six months ahead of schedule. Two months later it raised €13.2m for this purpose by issuing more than a quarter of a million new shares. Integration of Pure World gave the company a big leg-up in the US market, giving Naturex confidence for their sales objective in Britain and Ireland since they view the UK nutraceutical and food ingredient markets as relatively similar to that of the US. Naturex has also strengthened its position on the European plant extract scene with the acquisition of Italy's Hammer Pharma for €10m - a move that also marked in earnest its entry to the world of pharmaceutical ingredients. In the first half of 2006 Naturex reported sales of €34.66m with constant dollar rate and operating profit of €3.91m - 85.4 per cent and 76.1 per cent increases over the same period of 2005 respectively.