UPDATE: Feb. 1, 2021: International Flavors & Fragrances announced the company completed it merger with DuPont's Nutrition & Biosciences as scheduled and will continue trading under the symbol IFF. The combined company has an estimated 2020 pro forma revenue of more than $11 billion and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of approximately $2.5 billion, excluding synergies, IFF said in a statement. The company will have leadership positions in taste, texture, scent, nutrition, enzymes, cultures, soy proteins and probiotics ingredient categories.
- International Flavors & Fragrances is on track to complete its $26.2 billion merger with DuPont's Nutrition & Biosciences division (N&B) by Feb. 1, IFF CEO Andreas Fibig said on a call with investors this week.
- Shareholders of IFF and DuPont voted to approve the merger, with 99% approval on the IFF side, Fibig said. The merger has received antitrust approval in most jurisdictions, with Mexico the latest country to greenlight the deal last week. Fibig said he is hoping for approval from Europe next month.
- The IFF-DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences merger will create a global powerhouse worth $45.4 billion, according to Bloomberg. The company will have dominant positions in taste, texture, nutrition, enzymes, cultures, soy proteins and probiotics, as well as leading R&D capabilities.
The megamerger between the two ingredients titans is getting closer, and there is a lot of anticipation in the ranks at IFF for the possibilities the new company presents.
"I believe we have a significant amount of opportunities to create strong shareholder value in the future," Fibig said on the call with investors, according to a transcript. "We actively review our portfolios on a constant basis, especially in light of the future combination with N&B to look to maximize our returns by driving growth in accretive categories and de-prioritizing our low-value businesses."
While IFF doesn't yet own the DuPont division, it's been taking a hard look at its assets and divisions, and how to make it into a stronger company. According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in July, IFF projected 5% growth, and the Nutrition and Beverages business would grow 4%. Fibig said on the call those growth rates are based on solid projections of both companies' portfolios — even though IFF's sales growth in the most recent quarter was flat compared to a year ago, and is actually down 1% on the year.
But IFF is eyeing how to best integrate all of DuPont's business segments into its operations. Fibig said there may be divestitures once the merger is complete.
"There are pieces where we really want to accelerate our growth going forward because we believe it's the right thing to do," he said in the transcript. "And there are pieces which might not fit too much any longer into our portfolio on the IFF side. And it's probably too early to talk about concrete pieces, but we are looking actively into it and we can't make a decision on N&B, but we are looking into the portfolio here as well."
While integrating such a large company is a challenge, Fibig said this process is easier because IFF is finishing up the integration of another big merger.
IFF acquired Frutarom — an Israel-based flavors, savory solutions and natural ingredients company — for $7.1 billion in 2018. The company has spent much of the last year working through the integration process for Frutarom, finding cost synergies and new opportunities for IFF. The ingredients company has been closing former Frutarom manufacturing sites, bringing Frutarom product solutions to IFF customers and integrating Frutarom employees into a new company culture. The Frutarom integration is on track to be essentially finished when the DuPont deal officially closes.
Fibig said the Frutarom acquisition has shown the importance of spending time determining synergies and opportunities early on. IFF has already done a lot of that with DuPont. It has named about 170 leaders for the new IFF-DuPont collaboration. There are likely to be more hired and appointed before February.
As the deal gets closer to closing, IFF seems ready to become even more of a force in the ingredients space. Fibig said the company is currently "light years ahead" of where it was at this point in previous planned mergers. And with all of this forethought and potential divestitures on the way, there will be a lot to look for as the new company comes together in 2021.