Ingredion Seeks Deals in Asia, Eastern Europe, CEO Says

Ingredion Inc., North America’s fourth-largest maker of high-fructose corn syrup, is seeking deals to tap into increasing Asian consumption of packaged foods and demand for specialty starches in Eastern Europe.

The company is targeting deals in the $50 million to $500 million range to expand geographically and boost its range of products that add texture and sweetness to food, said Ingredion Chief Executive Officer Ilene Gordon. The company completed its biggest deal two years ago with the $1.3 billion purchase of National Starch.

“You can grow organically and build a facility, but it’s a lot faster to buy somebody if you can find the right value proposition,” Gordon said todayin an interview at a company event in New York.

The company formerly known as Corn Products International Inc. has spent 54 percent of its investments on acquisitions since 2008, according to a presentation to analysts today. The five-year target of growing adjusted earnings per share by 10 to 12 percent annually from an estimated $5.47 to $5.57 in 2012 may include acquisitions and share repurchases, the Westchester, Illinois-based company said today.

Ingredion wants to increase sales to $8 billion in five years from $6.5 billion excluding acquisitions, Claire Regan, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail today.

Ingredion turns corn into products used in foods such as carbonated drinks, soups and yogurt and consumer goods such as corrugated boxes and detergents. Its customers include General Mills Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.

The largest North American high-fructose corn syrup makers are Cargill Inc., Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Tate & Lyle Plc.

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