Symrise may further up stakes in specialist ingredients firms

FRANKFURT Mon Dec 9, 2013 10:43am EST

An employee works in the laboratory of Symrise AG's New Center of Excellence in Granja Viana, 40 km south of Sao Paulo August 2, 2012. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

An employee works in the laboratory of Symrise AG's New Center of Excellence in Granja Viana, 40 km south of Sao Paulo August 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Scents and flavors maker Symrise (SY1G.DE) may lift its stakes in probiotics specialist Probi (PROB.ST) and another Swedish food ingredient company as it seeks growth in nutritional supplements that carry the promise of better health.

Germany's Symrise, the world's fourth-largest scents and flavors maker, is building on its experience in developing snacks and drinks for the likes of Unilever (ULVR.L) and Nestle (NESN.VX) to also offer food supplements with health benefits.

"It is a possibility," Chief Executive Heinz-Juergen Bertram told Reuters on Monday, when asked whether Symrise would further raise its stakes in Sweden's Probi and Indevex Biotech.

"I can't disclose our plans, but what I can say is that we feel vindicated by the investments that we made. We have raised our stakes. In both companies we have reached positions that are reasonable."

Symrise last year acquired a 12 percent stake in Probi, which makes probiotic ingredients for yoghurt makers such as Danone (DANO.PA), and has since then gradually increased it to about 30 percent. It has a stake of about 20 percent in Indevex.

Together with Symrise, Probi is now developing toothpastes and chewing gums containing bacterial cultures that prevent tooth decay, which could be brought to market in coming years.

Symrise is looking to Probi's microbiology know-how to bolster its position as the world's largest maker of oral care ingredients, Bertram added.

Symrise sells scents and flavors for global consumer goods groups like Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and Colgate-Palmolive (CL.N), competing with larger rivals Givaudan (GIVN.VX), IFF (IFF.N) and unlisted Firmenich.

Bertram also said the group's full-year results would be broadly in line with market expectations.

Analysts on average expect earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 378 million euros ($517 million) in 2013, up from 339 million last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Probi shares were up 3.2 percent at 41.80 Swedish crowns by 1528 GMT. Symrise stock was up 1.1 percent at 33.105 euros.

(Editing by David Holmes)

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