“Naturex has grown from $10 million to $300 million, half by acquisitions and half by organic growth. Acquisitions combined with strong organic growth, that’s what we want,” Lambert told NutraIngredients-USA.
“We are strong in North America and American companies are the ones with the technology,” he said.
The Decas deal is part of a plan revealed in January by Naturex chairman and then CEO Jacques Dikansky. Naturex at that time had a goal of “3-4” acquisitions in Europe and North America in 2012, Dikansky told NutraIngredients. Naturex has reportedly rebuffed numerous takeover offers, and plans to grow sales to close to $700 million by 2015.
A good ingredient, or a good company?
Naturex takes a two-phase approach to evaluating which companies to buy, Lambert said. First, the company has to be active in a space that fits Naturex’ overall product picture. Secondly, it has to be one of the leaders in that space in terms of overall company quality.
“The first approach to identify how does the product range fit within our strategy. And what is their know how. The quality of the company is more a question of price. A good quality company is more expensive,” he said.
And location plays a role, too, Lambert said.
“It’s better to be closer to the raw material.” he said.
Acquisitions boost results
Naturex has seen its acquisitions strategy contribute powerfully to the bottom line. In June (the month that Lambert was promoted to CEO after a stint as Naturex’s CFO) the company reported 15% sales growth for the first half of 2012, growth that was in part attributed to the contribution of recent acquisitions.
Even with uncertain economic conditions, North America is a key market for Naturex. The company makes 90% of its sales outside France, and 65% of those are made in North America. So even though Naturex is behind the pace that Dikansky laid out in January, the company is still in the mood to buy.
“We have been looking for acquisitions for a long time. We will be ready to make U.S. acquisitions if interesting companies become available,” Lambert said.