Feb 11, 2020
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Givaudan the latest perfumery giant to take a stake in France's Robertet

Feb 11, 2020

It's a familiar story for France's Robertet, a atural plant-extract producer which has again attracted the attention of heavyweights in the fragrance and flavor production industry. After an undesired acquisition of its shares by the Firmenich group last September, another Swiss company, namely Givaudan, has become a minority shareholder.

A number of big names in the fragrance and flavor sectors have been drawn to Robertet, based in Grasse - Robertet

“Givaudan informs us that, as a result of market purchases, it now holds 108,109 Robertet shares representing 4.68% of the share capital and that its shares are being registered. Robertet did not solicit the acquisition of this holding and it was not the subject of any negotiations,” announced Robertet in a release, emphasizing that independence remains a priority for the group.

If the Maubert family, which has controlled Robertet for six generations, still holds 47.02% of the share capital, representing 67.50% of the voting rights, its independence is now being strongly buffeted.

The American fund First Eagle Investment Management, a long-time Robertet shareholder, made way for Firmenich, a Swiss perfume and taste company, last fall.  Firmenich raised its stake to 21.6%, representing 11.3% of the voting rights. Following the transaction, Firmenich described itself as a “passive and long-term minority shareholder,” while admitting that if the opportunity presented itself, it would consider taking a controlling interest.

It's clearly an undesirable possibility for Robertet, whose CEO Philippe Maubert commented last December that “Robertet’s independence was non-negotiable,” since Robertet has the “full financial capacity to develop without the support of a competitor."

Founded in 1850 in Grasse, Robertet is well-positioned in the highly coveted natural ingredient sector, earning 287.7 million euros in the first half of 2019, representing a 6.2% increase.

Givaudan, whose 2019 turnover reached 6.2 billion Swiss francs, or 5.7 million euros, has in fact increased its growth across this segment. In November 2019, the Swiss company announced its purchase of Ungerer, an American supplier and manufacturer of essential oils, specialized in scent creation. Givaudan also announced in November its intention to do the same with Indena, the Italian company dedicated to the production of high-quality active ingredients from plants.

A few days ago, Firmenich announced a joint investment for shares of Loop, a French reusable packaging company, continuing in the same sustainable vein.


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