* Says major U.S. player can help establish the industry
* Danisco takeover unlikely to alter Novozymes business
* Novozymes says it does not lack funds for R&D
* Novozymes’ shares up 3.6 pct, Danisco up 24.3 pct
(Adds details, quotes, share price)
COPENHAGEN, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Danish industrial enzymes producer Novozymes NZYMb.CO said on Monday it welcomed new competition from U.S. chemicals giant DuPont DD.N in biofuel enzymes, as this could help establish the fledgling industry.
DuPont said on Sunday it would pay $5.8 billion in cash and assume $500 million in debt to acquire Danish food ingredients and industrial enzymes group Danisco DCO.CO, Novozymes' main rival. [ID:nN09219516]
Novozymes and Danisco’s Genencor enzymes division have a near duopoly as suppliers of enzymes to the bioethanol industry. Enzymes are used to break down biomass into substances that can be distilled into biofuel to be blended with gasoline.
The industry, and especially the production of advanced second-generation biofuels from non-food crops, is in its infancy but is seen by analysts with big growth potential as the U.S. tries to wean itself off imported fossil fuels.
“I welcome more competition in that field,” Peder Holk Nielsen, head of Novozymes’ enzymes division, told Reuters.
“The more horses pulling on this one right now the better off we will all be because, in the short to mid-term, the task is to establish a whole new industry in the United States. A company like DuPont, with their presence in the U.S., can be a forceful entity in trying to establish that industry.”
Nielsen said he did not fear DuPont’s deep pockets.
“If you look at companies like Danisco and Novozymes, then we have enough to invest more in research and development than we currently do,” he said.
“Therefore I do not think DuPont ownership (of Danisco) will change the competitive nature and innovation power of the two enzymes competitors,” he said.
Shares in Novozymes traded up 3.6 percent at 801 crowns at 1537 GMT after touching a record 807, lifted by the DuPont acquisition of Danisco, traders said. [ID:nLDE7090IW]
Danisco shares traded up 24.3 percent at 659 crowns, just below the bid price of 665 crowns.