We spoke to Andrew Carlson, vice president of global feed additives and ingredients, ADM, at the Hannover based trade show.
“We have always been a global company, but one with a heavy North American focus. We are trying to make sure that we show that, through our recent moves - like the acquisition of Protexin [Probiotics International Limited (PIL)] in the UK, and the pending acquisition of Neovia - that we are truly a global business, not just a North American business; we are putting that out there to customers who might not know us beyond the realm of grain trading or soy crushing.”
He said ADM still gets questions at shows like EuroTier as to what the company’s portfolio looks like beyond wheat, soybean and corn.
“Not everyone understands the depth and breadth of [our animal nutrition portfolio] relative to enzymes, probiotics and prebiotics – all those different facets of the portfolio that people aren’t aware of, especially here in Europe.”
ADM, he continued, wants to underline the legitimacy of its place in the animal nutrition additive space. “We are in this for the long haul, and not just from a commercial standpoint but also in terms of dedication to the science.
“There is a true dedication [at ADM] to being innovative, trying to be innovative at scale but also trying to be innovative for solutions that apply to specific geographical locations. We understand we are big but we are much more agile than people believe as they begin to see our different portfolios, our ability to logistically move micro ingredients around the world as efficiently as the macro ones.”
He said that if you string together all of the decisions, all the undertakings that ADM has made in the animal nutrition space in the past nine months, from the opening of innovation labs in China, to the opening of the enzyme lab in Davis, California, to the completed and pending acquisitions there is, no doubt, a narrative that says ADM “has been in the animal nutrition space, will stay in this space and will continue to grow its market share in this space.”
Carlson said the acquisition of Neovia is edging towards the closing stages; it is in front of the regulatory stages. “So I am limited as to what I can say about the impact of that deal right now.”
That deal, when it was announced, was seen by observers as massively widening ADM Animal Nutrition’s reach, from both a geographical and portfolio perspective.
European market goals
ADM has a focus to grow its European business both organically and by acquisition. “It is a core area for us, due to our logistics and also from a protein demand perspective. It has always been a component of the portfolio, but I would say we are going to weight that [component] much heavier than we have in the past," continued Carlson.
Where do the opportunities lie in Europe?
“Europe is decentralized relative to the North American market, so a different approach to market is needed. With us being our own science company, having our own biotechnology component and laboratories in the US, we believe that we can bring tailored solutions to the genetics and to macro ingredients that are relative to Europe, not just applying rations and concepts worldwide, as that doesn’t work. Understanding the full value of the macro commodities – that transparency that we have all the way through – and delivering that solution to the customer [is one area where we are strong.]”
He said ADM, while always pushing for organic growth, would continue to look for strategic acquisitions:
“I would say there is an extra alertness to how we match our organic growth with further acquisitions. We are not going to buy a company just to buy a company. We want to be better, if not the best, when we make that next move into the different areas.”
Asia is a component of that, he said.
“Asia is always front of mind for us especially on the commodity side and we would like to grow the additive component there as well.”
He said aqua is a growing segment for ADM Animal Nutrition, and one that will remain a long-term play for the company.
It launched a 'DHA rich' alternative to fish oil sourced long chain omega-3 in 2016 – DHA Natur.
The algae biomass needed to produce that product is being generated through a heterotrophic fermentation process at the company’s facility in Clinton, Iowa.
“Our ability to ferment and our ability to move product throughout the world means we can scale and compete with anyone else. Where the model may not work for others, it will for us.”