Sector News

LCI acquires Unicorn Grain Specialties, forms European leader in cereal ingredients

May 23, 2018
Consumer Packaged Goods

Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients (LCI) has agreed to acquire 100 percent shares of Unicorn Grain Specialties from Nordian Capital. The operation will be effective in a few weeks, according to the company. Financial details of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

Unicorn Grain Specialties has a strong presence in Northern Europe in the cereals and pulses ingredients markets, relying on heat treatment technologies for puffed cereals, cooking-extrusion and flaking, for example.

The combination of strengths of the two structures is said to provide enhanced expertise and innovative ingredients to LCI’s customers involved in the bakery, snacking, breakfast cereal, ready meals and animal nutrition markets.

The new group with a workforce of 350 employees will generate a turnover close to €150 million (US$177.4 million) and will strengthen its position as the European leader in cereal ingredients. It will process more than 330,000 tons of grain each year in seven production plants across Europe.

The need for clean label is driving demands from customers in this space, according to Walter Lopez, Communications Manager at LCI. “The new structure is motivated by this mega trend and also by innovation, in order to prepare the future and the new customer requirements,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“Cereal ingredients are an important sector in the industry right now thanks to their functionality, texture particularly, and nutrition is coming from ingredients and raw materials used in the formulations.”

“With this merger, the new entity has a real European ambition, becoming a key player in the market,” Lopez notes.

“In the immediate future, the fusion of the two companies will retain all of the employees because we are complementary geographically. LCI is present in France (HQ and factories) and the UK (commercial office), while Unicorn Grain Specialties is focused on the Netherlands (headquarters and factories) and Germany (commercial office). And also regarding applications, Unicorn brings expertise in pet food and animal feed while LCI is very active in food.”

Emmanuel Goujon, Managing Director of LCI, says: “Unicorn has a solid presence in the Benelux and Germany, competitive and innovative products, a team with a solid know-how. The two companies share the same vision of food that must be safe, natural and a source of pleasure. Thus, thanks to our research efforts (variety selection of plants, heat treatment, and nutrition) we will continue to offer the best cereals, to satisfy our customers with an extended range of products that are 100 percent natural and with high added value.”

Pieter Spanjers, Managing Director of Unicorn Grain Specialties, also commented: “This operation marks an opportunity to accelerate our development strategy with the strength of Limagrain Group and to enter a new dimension. We are delighted to be able to benefit from LCI’s size, geographic location, product offerings and cereal expertise. Together with four locations in Europe (France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK), we create a European leader with strong ambitions. LCI is a strategic partner who, like us, is convinced of the strength of innovation to develop natural solutions with high added value for our customers.”

By Elizabeth Green

Source: Food Ingredients First

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