The Benelux operation of Fiske Food Ingredients, a distribution business belonging to €4bn Dutch industrial chemicals group Univar, has linked up with starch ingredients company Avebe to distribute the co-operative's full range of products.
The agreement - effective from 1 October - covers all of the Benelux countries, and sees Fiske Benelux providing technical support and back-up for the Avebe range of food ingredients, which includes potato starches and derivatives, waxy maize derivatives, maltodextrins, dextrins and dextroses.
Although terms of the agreement were not disclosed, in a statement this week Fiske - that has a portfolio of about 1000 product groups - said that the support deal includes a new application lab at the company's Brussels headquarters 'where food technologists are able to carry out concept development work and specific projects for customers'.
Fiske Food ingredients, with distribution centres dotted around northern Europe, is part of Univar Europe, the European arm of independent industrial chemical distribution group Univar. In 2001 Fiske Food Ingredients completed a €1 million investment programme at its UK headquarters and distribution facility in Milton Keynes. A move designed to bring technical and sales support to the country.
In 2002, Univar USA accountedfor 53 per cent of total Univar revenues, Univar Canada 13 per cent and Univar Europe 34 per cent.
But the 'soft economic climate' saw sales in all geographical regions dipping for 2002 and margins taking a knock. In Europe revenue for Univar fell to $1,479m, from $1,624.2 million in 2001. A decline that the company also attributed to a price deflation in its mix of products and an overall decline in demand, especially in the company's largest market-the UK.
New distribution deals - such as that agreed with Avebe - mark opportunities for the ingredients arm of the company to raise revenues.
"Avebe's product portfolio and leadership position fits perfectly with our strategy of being a customer-focused, committed and innovative partner for the Benelux food industry," said Jo Lemmens, Fiske business manager, Benelux, this week.
The Avebe co-operative - that slashed 450 jobs last year and shrugged off its Glucona subsidiary as part of a restructuring programme - represents 5,000 farmers, producing 800,000 tonnes of starch annually from four million tonnes of potatoes.