The centre will be based in Scion DTU science part, 25km north of Copenhagen, and FMC expects to open the facility in the second half of 2016, according to Gerard Lynch, global applications director at FMC.
Helping experts come together
“We’ll establish a technical centre there, we’ll put many of our customer-facing technical people, our applications development people, at that centre. It will also serve as a hub so that our material experts, people with deep knowledge of omega-3, or our colours or texturising ingredients, are able to come together with people to collaborate and formulate solutions to customer or industry problems,” said Lynch.
The move comes just months after FMC finalised its acquisition of Danish firm Cheminova, which Lynch acknowledged “definitely played into” the company’s decision to base the centre in Denmark. But he said Denmark’s combination of a sustainable, business-friendly environment and the high levels of education and productivity were also major factors.
‘Ultimately more jobs’
Lynch said some functions and staff, particularly back-office and research people, would be moved from FMC’s existing Danish sites to the new facility, but Cheminova’s existing manufacturing facility will not be affected. When asked if the establishment of the centre would lead to a net change in jobs, he suggested, for FMC’s health and nutrition business at least, there would “ultimately be more jobs”.
According to Lynch, the centre will add to FMC’s presence in Europe, rather than replace existing facilities: “What we have now is very local, especially for Europe, but we want to take the next logical step to make it a lot easier for our technical people, our innovative people, to work together. We have been integrating our businesses, but the next step is to create a place where these people can work together for our customers.
“The idea with the innovation centre is it would be the applications, the technical support centre for Europe. But we will also have remaining in Europe, in other labs, some deep-knowledge experts who know omega-3, for example – world experts,” he added.
To illustrate the type of innovation FMC hopes to foster in the new centre, Lynch gave the example of its acquisition of omega-3 firm Epax two years ago. The firm, he said, had great products and unique grades of omega-3 – but lacked expertise in formulating products for consumers.
“We have a lot of food formulation knowledge, processing knowledge, from our texture business. We also have a lot of knowledge of formulating for emulsions, or food products that are oil based, from our colours business – this is a critical competency in colours, being able to formulate very stable oil-based products,” said Lynch.
“By bringing these things together, we should be able to deliver much better solutions for our customers, for example in omega-3 fortification, new delivery systems, and so on,” he added.