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Carbery Group eyes further expansion opportunities

May 17th, 2021 11:40 AM

By Emma Connolly

The acquisition of Chicago-based Innova Flavors comes on the back of the new €78m mozzarella plant in Ballineen.

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Carbery is looking to further expand in the nutrition and flavours sector

CARBERY group’s acquisition of US-based Innova Flavors will bring opportunities back to the Ballineen plant, delivering stability and returns for its farmer shareholders.

That’s according to chairman TJ Sullivan and ceo Jason Hawkins who were speaking after the deal for an undisclosed sum was announced.

And they confirmed that further acquisitions by Carbery Group could be on the cards in the nutrition or flavours sector, if they add value to the balance sheet.

Innova supplies customised savoury flavours and ingredients to customers around the world. The company will be an addition to Synergy, Carbery’s international flavours business.

Innova’s manufacturing facilities are based in the Chicago area, as is the HQ of Synergy US.

The acquisition will see 100 of Innova’s staff move to Carbery, along with two new manufacturing premises included in the deal.

Known in the US for their sweet flavours, extracts and essences, this strategic purchase expands the savoury capabilities of Synergy US and complements Synergy’s offerings worldwide.

TJ Sullivan said: ‘Our primary purpose is to add value for our farmer shareholders. Through a series of acquisitions in the UK, the USA, Europe, South America and Asia, we have successfully built Synergy, our international flavours business. This new acquisition brings new opportunities with customers and markets that will strengthen the returns across our whole business.’

This acquisition is another significant business development in the last 12 months, with the company also seeing the opening of their expanded cheese facility towards the end of 2020, and a diversification into producing mozzarella for international markets.

‘The deal has been in the pipeline for around nine months,’ said TJ.  ‘As with any of these type of activities, there is a lot of negotiation and detail to be worked out, so we’re happy to have been able to get those over the line and excited to be able to roll out new products for our customers in the US and globally as soon as possible.’

Jason Hawkins added: ‘Our business was resilient throughout Covid-19, Brexit and the challenges of the last few years. Stability is important for us, but we also need to consider strategic opportunities for us to grow, to strengthen our offerings for our customers and maximize what we can deliver for our shareholders. Acquiring Innova Flavors will enhance our business in the US, but also in Asia and Central and South America. The deal will bring opportunities right across our platforms of dairy, taste and nutrition.

Rod Sowders, president and ceo of Synergy Flavors Americas added: ‘This acquisition offers significant benefits to Synergy customers, by providing them access to a proven range of flavours to meet the growing demand for natural flavourings and savoury ingredients, and these products complement Synergy’s current offerings.’ Carbery confirmed they won’t be adding to their net debt level with further capital investments in the immediate future.

‘The business is well invested  at the moment from a capital expenditure perspective, with enough processing capacity to get us through the next 10 years. The one exception to this is acquisitions. Provided the acquisition will add value to the overall balance sheet, we’ll continue to look for opportunities in the nutrition or flavours sector to leverage our low debt level.’

Carbery, set up in 1965,  is owned by four Irish co-operatives – Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh and Lisavaird – and employs almost 800 people, with 1215 local farmer suppliers.

The Ballineen plant is the largest single cheese producing facility in Ireland.

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