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Naturex Chief Spurns Offers With Plan to Double Sales By 2015

Naturex SA Chief Executive Officer Jacques Dikansky said he’s rebuffed takeover approaches as the French maker of natural flavors and color extracts is capable of doubling sales in three to four years by going it alone.

“It happens often, they’re ready to be generous,” said Dikansky, without identifying the suitors. “We’ve always had the autonomy of an independent company. It’s better to go on like that for a good number of years.”

Naturex, based in Avignon, may have sales “in the ballpark” of 500 million euros ($668 million) in three to four years, said Dikansky, who controls a holding company that owns 13 percent of Naturex. The company has been cited as a possible target for flavor and fragrance maker Symrise AG by Berenberg analyst Jaideep Pandya.

Dikansky sees Naturex as a consolidator rather than a target. Naturex is selling 49.3 million euros of new shares to fund acquisitions that will broaden its product range and give it access to new clients in Europe, the U.S. and emerging markets. Five or six acquisition targets may materialize in the next 12 months, which would bring about 50 million euros of additional sales, Dikansky said in an interview yesterday.

“We have very good organic growth prospects ahead of us, and acquisitions projects,” said the CEO. “We may finalize two or three deals by the end of the year.”

Adding to cosmetics ingredients is one area of interest, he said.

Given that acquisition prices in the industry average about 1.5 times revenue, Naturex may spend about 75 million euros on these purchases, the CEO said. The company’s net debt-to-equity ratio should remain around 60 percent, where it stood at the end of 2010.

Naturex shares were up 2.4 percent to 47.22 euros at 11:18 a.m. in Paris, taking this year’s gain to 16 percent.

The company, which had revenue of 226 million euros in 2010, is predicting like-for-like growth of at least 10 percent in 2011. The company’s sales “aren’t really affected by the crisis” because U.S. and European consumers are increasingly buying natural products, Dikansky said.

“The difficult economic and financial situation may create a slight slowdown because our customers are slowing product launches. Our strong development in emerging markets is picking up the baton,” he said.

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