TAM was the leading producer of spirulina through the CYANE trademark in France, where the company said they developed the first unit in the country for organic greenhouse cultivation and marketing of spirulina.
Philippe Perret, Vice President of GEP, told NutraIngredients-USA that talks about a potential acquisition with TAM began last year. The discussions allowed GEP to better understand how TAM was organizing production and marketing as well as the challenges the company was facing. From there, GEP made plans to acquire TAM’s spirulina production facilities, its business assets, ISO 22000 certification for ecological microalgae cultivation and the CYANE brand.
Seizing the opportunity
Despite the pandemic and economic uncertainty, Perret told us that the opportunity determined the timing: “For us, this is a perfect timing as we gain momentum with the acquisition of material assets, but also of important intangible assets, such as trademark name, internet site, clients list…The acquisition of TAM’s assets will be beneficial for the two spirulina projects currently developed by GEP.”
Perret added that while the company is undergoing many changes, the products will remain the same. “We have our own spirulina strain chosen together with French Research Center CEA TECH and cultivated by Bertrand Lepine in South West France. This is part of the internal R&D of GEP. We are developing a strain with high phycocyanin content from premium spirulina.”
The acquisition is part of GEP’s strategy to develop France’s first “algo-solar” complex that combines green energy and spirulina production, allowing the site to be fully self-sufficient, while also producing surplus power.
“It’s an additional step in the development of ecological complexes using the concept of circular economy, mixing production of bio algae and production of green energy, a part of it being self-consumed for the spirulina needs,” explained Perret.
GEP is launching spirulina production units in Hers and Spiruline d’Annjou, France, which will supply photovoltaic energy to the production of micro-algae food. As GEP continues to expand its operations, the company will increase spirulina and phycocyanin production while strengthening its position in the market.
Ramping up production
“The Algo Solar complex of Payra sur l’Hers in South West France will be the first project worldwide of this kind with a forecasted production of 40 to 50 tons of premium spirulina and an extraction unit of phycocyanin,” said Perret.
Jean-Marie Santander, chairman and CEO of GEP said: “The acquisition of Tam’s business assets is an excellent opportunity for GEP, which will be able to ramp up its presence in the spirulina market with the aim of becoming the European leader in high end spirulina production and the extraction of phycocyanin in France.”
According to GEP, the US represented 50% of the spirulina and phycocyanin market in 2018 and both are forecast to grow to 60% by 2030.