‘No better place than the nutra-science marketplace for financial investors’: BI Chief

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nutraceuticals and dietary supplements are attracting a lot of private equity attention, and it’s not surprising, says George Pontiakos, given that ‘it’s a growing market that historically provides efficacy and value to consumers’.

About 20% of all mergers and acquisitions in 2013 were in the ingredients space, which was more than in retail and brands combined, according to the Nutrition Capital Network (NCN).

NCN also said that probiotics, enzymes, and fiber could be the ingredient categories to watch​ moving forward for M&A activity. Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at last week’s SupplySide West, Pontiakos, CEO of BI Nutraceuticals, agreed that fibers in particular were a great category.

“There’s a lot of innovation in fibers,” ​he said, “a lot of opportunities to take a legacy-type fiber and engineer it into a different space in the market. It’s a product that consumers want, and provides a tremendous amount of efficacy. If there’s one singular category that has great efficacy, it’s the fiber space."

Pontiakos added that there was also a lot of investment in the contract manufacturer space, while the mass market space still attracts attention, with the likes of Cornerstone just being purchased again.

But where is the money coming from? “A lot of the investment on the strategic side has been Asian money,”​ he said. “But I also think a lot of money is US money from investment banks that are looking for returns.”

Pontiakos added that BI would consider acquisitions of companies that complement the markets it serves. “We have really expanded our market focus from nutra-science sector, and we’re doing a lot more food and beverage. We would be looking for something that complements those three markets, so an aroma-chem company.”

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