A war of the fragrance titans seems to be happening over Robertet even though the company has made their intentions of remaining independent clear. Both Givaudan and Firmenich are now minority shareholders in the business.
WHO: Opening their factory in 1850, François Chauvé and his nephew Jean-Baptiste Maubert concentrated on extracting scents from the region’s flowers and plants. The company was acquired by Paul Robertet in 1875. Robertet SA is one of the world’s top-ten developers of flavor and perfume additives and ingredients.
Givaudan is the global leader in the creation of flavors and fragrances. With a passion to understand consumers’ preferences and a relentless drive to innovate, Givaudan is at the forefront of creating flavors and fragrances that “engage your senses.” The company achieved sales of CHF 5.5 billion in 2018. Headquartered in Switzerland with a local presence in almost 150 locations, the company has more than 13,500 employees worldwide.
WHY: Companies today are keen to tap into natural-ingredient producers, which are key to nourishing the swiftly rising trend of natural fragrances and beauty products around the world.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “Givaudan informs us that, as a result of market purchases, it now holds 108,109 Robertet shares representing 4.68% of the share capital and that its shares are being registered. Robertet did not solicit the acquisition of this holding and it was not the subject of any negotiations,” announced Robertet in a release, emphasizing that independence remains a priority for the group.
Bob Weinstein, President and Chief Executive Officer of Robertet USA, said: “In order for the company to continue its path of growth … we need to do that independently because otherwise we would be part of a larger group and it would not be positive for the perennity of [Robertet], nor for the products that we make and our clients.”
“We have spent 170 years in the naturals area, with direct sourcing, controlling the supply chain of 600 botanical raw materials, which is far greater than any of our competitors and is serving us well in the marketplace where the trends for health and wellness in consumer goods are accelerating,” he continued. “It’s not a fad, it’s an accelerating trend in cosmetics, in ingestible products. So we are extremely well-positioned.”
During an interview with WWD, Christophe Maubert explained: “We are talking about Firmenich and Givaudan taking shares, but actually our concern is more that we try to acquire other companies. We do not hesitate if we find a good fit close to our DNA.”
- Givaudan purchased 108,109 Robertet shares last week that represent 4.68% of the group.
- Robertet in a statement dated February 4 wrote that it “did not solicit the acquisition of this holding and it was not the subject of any negotiations.”
- Robertet said last week in the statement that, to the best of its knowledge, its shareholder structure now stands at 47.02% of the group’s capital with 67.5% of its voting rights being held by the Maubert family.
- According to WWD, Firmenich has 21.61% of Robertet and 11.27% of its voting rights; Givaudan, 4.68% and 3.19%, respectively, and “others,” 26.69% and 18.03%, respectively.
- In September 2019 Firmenich reached an agreement with First Eagle Investment Management to acquire the stake held by its advisory clients in Robertet, representing approximately 17% of the share capital at a price of €683.30 per security.
- The company said it has no debt and the financial capacity to develop without the support of a competitor. Robertet emphasized that Firmenich is among its direct competitors.
- Robertet’s sales in the first half of 2019, the most recent available, reached 287.7 million euros, up 6.2% versus the same prior-year period.
- In 2018 the company posted revenues of 524.9 million euros, a 4.2% year-on-year rise.
- 37% of its business stems from the perfumery segment, 34% from aromas, 28% from raw materials, and 1% from actives.
Photo: Roman Synkevych via Unsplash