HØRSHOLM, DENMARK — EQT IX has agreed to acquire the Natural Colors division of Chr. Hansen for €800 million ($934 million). EQT, a global investment organization, has more than €62 million raised capital and about €40 billion in assets under management.
Based in Hørsholm, the Natural Colors division generated sales of €224 million in 2018-19, serves more than 1,600 customers in the food and beverage industry, and has about 650 employees. The colors are made from fruit and vegetable concentrates sourced from sweet potatoes, grape skin, spirulina, carrots and beetroots. They are used in applications such as dairy preparations, fruit preparations, confectionery items, ice cream, prepared foods and beverages.
“The divestment of the Natural Colors division completes the review part of our recently launched 2025 strategy,” said Mauricio Graber, chief executive officer of Chr. Hansen. “Chr. Hansen can now focus on fulfilling the ambition of becoming a pure-play, microbial and fermentation company with industry leading, profitable growth. I am convinced EQT will be a great owner of the Natural Colors business, which has a leading global position in the industry. During the process it has become clear that EQT showed the strongest conviction in the potential of the business and the highest dedication to the future development of it.”
EQT plans to continue the colors division’s growth in current markets with a focus on the United States and Asia. The company, by exploring acquisitions, will use the colors division platform for industry consolidation. EQT will strengthen the division’s digital infrastructure, sustainability capabilities and supply chain setup.
“We are immensely proud and humble of having been chosen as the future owner of Natural Colors,” said Mads Ditlevsen, a partner at EQT Partners and investment adviser to EQT IX. “It is a high-quality and truly global business with a proud legacy of servicing customers all over the world for more than 100 years. We are highly impressed by the strong ESG (environmental, social and governance) profile, the high-quality organization and talented people we have met during this process, as well as the dedicated focus on food safety.
“Natural Colors fits very well with EQT’s thematic investment criteria and is operating in two of EQT IX’s five prioritized sub-sectors within industrial technology. EQT’s ambition is to help the business achieve further growth both organically and through acquisitions.”
The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2021.