Agrifirm adds to its feed additives portfolio

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Netherlands headquartered, Agrifirm, has acquired a US based producer of mycotoxin binders.

Located in Miami, Special Nutrients has been manufacturing such products for over 30 years.

Agrifirm, which produces feeds, premixes, concentrates, mineral mixes, and additives for the livestock sector, said the deal shows its commitment to growing the feed additive side of its business.

The Dutch firm said it has an existing business relationship with the US mycotoxin producer.

Digging deeper into deal, we had a Q&A with Johan de Schepper, CEO of Nuscience, the specialty division of the Dutch agribusiness.

FeedNavigator (FEN): The announcement about Agrifirm's acquisition of the mycotoxin producer mentioned ‘the long standing business relationship between Special Nutrients and the Royal Agrifirm Group.’ Can you expand on that?

Johan de Schepper: “We have known Fernando Tamames [Special Nutrients President] and the team for a long time and we recognized their know-how and [their] insights in terms of solving the toxin binding challenges worldwide. In our ambition to deliver sustainable, relevant and measurable value to farm, field and industry, the Special Nutrients concepts have consequently always been of great interest to our group.

FEN: What is it about Special Nutrients’ mycotoxin prevention portfolio that is so appealing? 

Johan de Schepper: “Its incredible amount of know-how and experience across the globe, leveraged into specific toxin binding solutions, which outperform [solutions from] many big names in the worldwide toxin binding market. Additionally, it is especially strong in the Latin American and Southeast Asian markets.” 

FEN: Why did Agrifirm see there was a need to acquire the actual business – why not just continue with this ‘special relationship’? ​ 

Johan de Schepper: “Agrifirm has ambitions to grow its functional feed additives business by investing in organic market growth but also through acquisition of companies that have products with a unique proposition for the [farmed animal] market and that complement our present portfolio. But this acquisition also offers the possibility to realize synergies in all parts of the world, enabling an even faster growth of our additives business.”

FEN: The announcement mentioned that Fernando Tamames, president of Special Nutrients, is to keep a stake in the company – how much of a stake?

Johan de Schepper: We do not disclose such details but it is good for the company, for the team and for the Royal Agrifirm Group that he remains an important shareholder.” 

FEN: Will Agrifirm look to target markets beyond the ones that Special Nutrients is already selling into with this mycotoxin portfolio? 

Johan de Schepper: ​Absolutely. Expanding our business scope by acquisitions is a key support for the growth of our additives business. We look at many areas in the world where growth is accelerating. [Those regions need] products answering today’s challenges – reduction in the use of medication and antibiotics and ensuring feed and food safety.  

FEN: Does Agrifirm have any other interests in the US?​ 

Johan de Schepper: ​The US remains a very important and demanding market with good growth [prospects]. As such, we remain focused on growing our business in the US. For that reason, we are continuing to work together with our partner, PMI Nutritional Additives, the subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, on bringing antimicrobial solutions to the US market.

On the asset trail 

Agrifirm has been busy on the acquisition front.

In March, the company signed a joint venture agreement in Algiers with Diam Grain, aimed at the local production and sales of premixes in Algeria. The agreement, it said, includes the construction of a new state of the art premix plant aimed at providing high quality products for the expanding Algerian poultry and ruminant markets.

Algeria has been a key export market for Agrifirm for many years.

The construction of a state of the art premix production unit is planned in Blida, centrally located near Algiers with all major animal production zones within easy reach of the facility, reported the Dutch group.

This time last year saw Agrifirm on the asset trail in Eastern Europe. It bought Bacutil in Poland, then citing the growth in Central and Eastern Europe as a key strategic priority and the rationale behind the move.

That deal saw it get almost nationwide coverage in Poland, edging Agrifirm towards pole position in the compound feed producer rankings for that market. The move followed the July 2016 acquisition of Polish compound feed player, Paszmark, which serves the poultry, pig and cattle production sector and is located in an area of high animal density, in Płosnica, near Żuromin.

Sale of compound feed plants in Germany

The Dutch group has also been divesting. In August 2017, it sold its compound feed plant in Drentwede in Germany to Hauptgenossenschaft Nord (HaGe).

Agrifirm said the rationale behind that sale was that it was revising its strategy for the German market, based on its increased complexity.

“The plant in Drentwede primarily produces pig feeds, which are largely sold within the region. Following the completion of the sale, HaGe will phase out the production of conventional feeds and increasingly focus on the production of organic feeds.”

Agrifirm said then it would continue to actively serve the market in the German border region, Weser Ems, from its Dutch plants.  

In another strategic deal in that market, Deutsche Tiernahrung Cremer (DTC) took over Agrifirm’s compound feed plant in Neuss in March 2017.

The idea was that Agrifirm would become a partner for DTC in the supply of minerals, pre-starters, concentrates and additives. 

This article, originally published on June 28, was updated on July 2 to include the comments from Johan de Schepper, CEO of Nuscience.

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