In 2nd largest ever deal for Israeli firm, IFF to buy Frutarom for $7 billion

International Flavors & Fragrances announces mega deal to purchase the Haifa-based manufacturer, making it largest flavoring company in the world

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

A Frutarom R&D lab in Germany (Courtesy)
A Frutarom R&D lab in Germany (Courtesy)

The US firm International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) will purchase Israel’s Frutarom, a maker of flavors and fragrances for use in food, beverages and pharmaceuticals, for $7.1 billion, the companies announced on Monday, making it the second-largest purchase of an Israeli company ever after Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye in 2017.

The acquisition of Frutarom would reportedly make IFF the largest flavoring company in the world. Frutarom has until now been the sixth-largest food flavorings maker in the world. Its shares have surged some 64 percent in the past 12 months and it posted record sales of $1.36 billion in 2017.

“Frutarom has had a fascinating journey of accelerated growth, far above our industry benchmarks through our investment in unique technologies and focus on natural products in the growing world of health and taste,” CEO and president Ori Yehuda said in the statement, adding that the companies “are committed to maintaining a presence in Israel.”

“Today, we are extremely excited to combine Frutarom with IFF and together create global leadership in natural taste, scent and nutrition,” he said. “The growth potential for the combined company is substantial and our shareholders will continue to enjoy this upside.”

Frutarom President and CEO Ori Yehudai in 2012. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The companies valued the total deal, including a cash and stock transaction, at approximately $7.1 billion  including the assumption of Frutarom’s net debt.

That makes it the second largest ever acquisition of an Israeli company following Intel Corp’s purchase last year of Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems, for $15.3 billion.

A Frutarom plant in North Bergen, New Jersey, United States on February 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

Under the terms of the agreement, Frutarom’s shareholders will receive for each Frutarom share $71.19 in cash and 0.249 of a share of IFF common stock, which, based on the 10-day volume weighted average price (VWAP) for IFF’s common stock for the period ending May 4, 2018, represents a total value of $106.25 per share.

IFF chairman and CEO Andreas Fibig said: “We have long admired Frutarom and have a great deal of respect for its team and all of its dedicated and talented employees around the globe. We look forward to welcoming Frutarom to the IFF family.”

“Frutarom has an extremely attractive product portfolio, including broad expertise in naturals and diverse adjacencies with capabilities beyond our core taste and scent businesses,” Fibig continued. “It also has significant exposure to complementary and fast-growing small- and mid-sized customers. By combining our deep R&D expertise with Frutarom’s, we are offering our customers a broader range of solutions and accelerating our growth strategy.”

The flavors and fragrances market has seen consolidation in the past few years. Last month Geneva-based Givaudan said it would buy French natural ingredients group Naturex.

In 2008, IFF acquired Israeli food flavorings maker Aromor of Kibbutz Givat Oz in the Lower Galilee.

The fruit of prickly pears (sabras), one of the ‘raw materials’ used by flavoring and fragrance companies to enhance hundreds of food and consumer products (Photo credit: Anna Kaplan/ Flash90 )

Frutarom was founded in 1934 and went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 1997.

Frutarom has production plants and development centers globally, including in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, China and Morocco. The firm markets and sells over 70,000 products to 30,000 customers in over 150 countries and employs some 5,600 people worldwide. It is primarily focused on natural products, which drive more than 75% of its sales.

The company has been growing via an aggressive acquisition strategy. It made 12 acquisitions in 2017, eight in 2016 and two since the beginning of 2018, according to data provided by the company. It has made 39 acquisitions in the past five years.

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.

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