Global nutrition company Kerry expands with two biotech acquisitions

15 Feb 2022

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Kerry aims to extend its capabilities in areas such as enzyme engineering with the acquisition of biotech companies from Germany and Mexico.

Nutrition company Kerry Group has confirmed the acquisition of two biotech companies as it looks to expand its manufacturing capabilities.

The Irish company has reached an agreement to acquire 92pc of German biotech company C-Lecta for €137m. Kerry also fully purchased the share capital of Mexican enzyme manufacturer Enmex last December for €62m.

Based in Leipzig, C-Lecta and its 100 employees develop biotech products for industries such as food and pharmaceuticals. The company works as both an in-house developer of products such as customised enzymes and microbial strains.

C-Lecta covers the entire value chain from development and regulatory approval, to commercial-scale production and distribution. Its CEO Dr Marc Struhalla said Kerry Group’s global presence in the food and pharmaceutical sectors will give the company access to additional markets.

“At the same time, their expertise in ingredient technologies and applications is a perfect fit as we continue to drive our growth potential in the future,” Struhalla said. “We will continue to collaborate with our existing industry partners and will of course continue to produce and distribute our products for our valued customers.”

Kerry chief science and technology officer Dr Albert McQuaid said the food and pharma industries are on the “cusp of a new wave of innovation” as developments in biotechnology, fermentation and synthetic biology are “radically transforming these sectors”.

“C-Lecta is a leader in these new technologies, which includes fermentation-based products such as disruptive new enzymes, and the strategically compelling combination with Kerry will accelerate our innovation capabilities in enzyme engineering, fermentation and bio-process development,” McQuaid added.

Enmex was founded in 1972 and is an enzyme manufacturer for various markets such as food, beverages, detergents and animal nutrition. Kerry said the Mexican company has a complementary enzyme portfolio and a strong manufacturing infrastructure, which will allow Kerry to expand its fermentation and enzyme production capabilities into Latin American markets.

Kerry Group said its broad range of ingredients have reached more than 1bn consumers around the world. The company operates from multiple locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Latin America. Its corporate headquarters are based in Co Kerry, while its global technology and innovation centre is based in Co Kildare.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic