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Givaudan prepares for life after Roche



One of Switzerland's most sucessful names, Givaudan, is making final preparations for an amicable separation from its parent company, Roche.

The pharmaceuticals giant is spinning off its fragrances and flavours division to concentrate on its drugs, diagnostics and vitamins businesses.

Givaudan is the world's leading producer of smells and tastes that go into perfumes, consumer goods, food and drinks. It had a net profit in 1999 of SFr182 million and employs around 5,000 people.

The world market for flavours and fragrances is estimated at SFr14 billion and Givaudan has a 14 per cent slice of the cake. Its shares will begin trading on Zurich's blue-chip SMI index on June 8.

"Givaudan has been preparing for its independence for the last ten years," says chief executive-designate, Juerg Witmer. "Givaudan has a very strong balance sheet and it's certainly well prepared to take on a leadership position in the market," he adds.

Analysts estimate that Givaudan will be worth between SFr5 and SFr6 billion. They also expect it to grow significantly faster than the market average of two to three per cent a year.

"It is our ambition to be the clear leader in flavours and fragrances worldwide," says Witmer. "We want to do that by organic growth, by growing faster than the overall market, by being a leader in the new technologies, new product concepts but also by further participating in industry consolidation."

Witmer said the new company particularly wants to strengthen its position in emerging markets in Asia but says there are also a number of interesting opportunities for acquisition in Europe and the United States.

by Michael Hollingdale

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