Chr. Hansen, Hørsholm, Denmark, and the EQT IX fund, Stockholm, said that that EQT has agreed to acquire the Natural Colors Division, a subsidiary of Chr. Hansen. The purchase price amounts to 800 million euros.

According to the companies, Chr. Hansen’s Natural Colors Division serves over 1,600 customers in the food and beverages industry. The division is the global leader in the natural colorants industry in terms of innovation, application, formulation, product portfolio breadth and geographical reach.

“The divestment of the Natural Colors Division completes the review part of our recently launched 2025 strategy,” said Mauricio Graber, CEO of Chr. Hansen. “Chr. Hansen can now focus on fulfilling the ambition of becoming a pure-play microbial and fermentation company with industry leading, profitable growth. I am convinced EQT will be a great owner of the Natural Colors business, which has a leading global position in the industry.”

Natural Colors’ products are made from all-natural fruit and vegetable concentrates from sweet potatoes, grape skin, spirulina, carrots and beetroots. The products are primarily used within food and beverage applications where the conversion from artificial to natural colorants is highest, including dairy and fruit preparations, ice cream, prepared foods and beverages, the companies said.  

According to the companies, EQT intends to build on the existing strategy of continued organic growth in current markets with a focus on the United States and Asia. EQT will also support acquisitive expansion within the highly fragmented foods coloring market by utilizing the Natural Colors platform for industry consolidation. Moreover, EQT plans to invest significantly in the division’s organization and strengthen its digital infrastructure, sustainability capabilities and supply chain setup. Natural Colors is expected to leverage EQT’s in-house expertise within digitalization and sustainability and EQT’s global advisory network, which possesses significant experience from developing strong ingredient companies.

“We are immensely proud and humble of having been chosen as the future owner of Natural Colors. It is a high-quality and truly global business with a proud legacy of servicing customers all over the world for more than 100 years,” said Mads Ditlevsen, partner at EQT Partners and investment advisor to EQT IX. “Natural Colors fits very well with EQT’s thematic investment criteria and is operating in two of EQT IX’s five prioritized sub-sectors within Industrial Technology. EQT’s ambition is to help the business achieve further growth both organically and through acquisitions.”

The transaction is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals. It is expected to close in the first half 2021, the companies said.