Speaking to us at HI China in Shanghai, the firm’s new president of global business, John Kamphuis, said the herbal and botanical ingredient specialist was determined to become “a major global player” by the turn of the next decade.
Kamphuis, who leads OmniActive’s sales and business development efforts in all markets, joined the business earlier this year, having spent the last 34 years working in the functional food and dietary supplement industries with companies such as Bioriginal Food & Science Corp, DSM and Gist Brocades.
He said: “Asia, and China in particular, is a market of huge potential, but it is also very complicated, not least because the speed of innovation is faster than the regulations can keep up with."
“For us, business is picking up nicely in China and we have some good business in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. I’m trying now to accelerate the growth in this region.”
He confirmed the company would soon be opening an office in Singapore and appointing a senior industry leader to oversee and expand the firm’s regional team.
“This person will join in mid-August and his job will be to aggressively grow the market across Asia. We are looking closely at Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as the markets where we are already strong, and we will quickly decide where we need to speed up and where we need to slow down.”
“Australia can grow faster, Japan and Korea still have great potential, and we are looking closely at how we can grow in China by seeking partners in Shanghai and Beijing.”
OmniActive is headquartered in India, but the US accounts for a large portion of its business.
Kamphuis said that in five years’ time, he expected the US to account for 60% of total business, Europe between 10% and 20%, and Asia to have grown from 5% today to 20% or 30%.
“We are on a very steep growth path. We want to become a very big company in four or five years from now,” he added.
Late last year, the firm acquired Indian botanical extractor Indfrag, which brought with it about 25 to 30 extracts, many in the weight management space.
“We are now working as one company and looking to bring some of our scientific expertise behind their products,” added Kamphuis. “We are also looking at how we can combine products from our expanded portfolio to create new ingredients.”
Kamphuis added that further acquisitions remained on the cards, estimating that the firm would look to close one new deal each year, with the next one likely to be in the US.
“Our plan is to do another acquisition by the end of the year,” he said. “That will probably be in the US but you can never be sure. We have a long wish list but we have to see.”
The acquisition drive follows $35 million of investment from venture capitalist Everstone Group.
“This will help us keep growing, but I was also brought in to also look at how we can increase our organic growth. We are spending a lot of time looking at our consumer strategy and assessing the market, while seeking to get the most out of our portfolio," he said.
“We also need to be aware consumers are changing and their buying habits are changing, and our customers want us to help them understand and capitalise on that.
“We have a lot to do, but it’s a very exciting time to be involved.”