HOERSHOLM, DENMARK — Chr. Hansen has agreed to acquire all the shares of Jennewein Biotechnologie GmbH, which is active in the human milk oligosaccharides market, for €310 million ($362 million) on a debt-free basis.

“The fast-growing HMO market is a new space that we have been following with strong interest for some years,” said Mauricio Graber, chief executive officer of Hoersholm-based Chr. Hansen, when the transaction was announced Sept. 22. “In truth, we are making a long-term investment and commitment to HMOs, which I am convinced will bring long-term value creation to our shareholders.”

Jennewein, Bonn, Germany, is expected to generate sales of about €50 million in 2021 but with a net loss before interest and taxes. Jennewein has six commercialized HMOs, a global customer base and more than 200 patents. HMOs are essential groups of milk sugars that occur naturally in human breast milk. They nurture the infant microbiome. HMOs are produced industrially by fermentation, a capability of Chr. Hansen.

“Today, we are starting a new chapter in the pre- and synbiotic market by combining the strengths of Chr. Hansen and Jennewein Biotechnologie,” said Stefan Jennewein, founder and CEO of Jennewein. “Fifteen years ago, Jennewein started with the ambition to make human milk oligosaccharides available for all infants. Today, HMOs have become a must-have for all premium infant formula.”

Mr. Graber said Jennewein’s HMOs will create functional synergies with Chr. Hansen’s probiotic bacteria such as LGG and BB-12.

“For us, Jennewein is a strong fit to our microbial portfolio, as its fermentation platform is also scalable and offers good long-term margin potential as volumes increase,” he said. “Jennewein is a leader in the HMO industry with a superior product offering and IP portfolio, and we believe the company holds a leading position in this relatively new and very exciting market.”

Chr. Hansen expects to complete the transaction this month. Committed facilities from existing debt financing partners will finance the acquisition. Chr. Hansen plans to invest more than €200 million in production assets until 2025.