VIV Europe 2022: Perstorp executive talks gut health, sustainability goals and the ambitions of its new owners

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Robert Daly
© GettyImages/Robert Daly

Related tags Perstorp Sustainability butyric acid valeric acid phytogenics

With Perstorp having recently been divested by its private equity owners, we get the low down on the implications of the acquisition for the Swedish company's animal nutrition business.

Last month saw PAI Partners report it was selling Perstorp Holding to Malaysia headquartered Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) for €2.3bn (US$2.42bn).

So we caught up with Aart Mateboer, EVP animal nutrition for Perstorp, at VIV Europe 2022, to hear more about that deal.

He told us that securing PCG as the new owner is the ideal scenario, in terms of the various type of buyers that potentially could have acquired the Swedish firm, from financial investors to competitors:  “It’s a bolt on acquisition for PCG, we perfectly fit its ambitions, there is very little or no overlap.” 

The acquisition, he continued, is a key platform for the Malaysian company’s strategy to expand into the specialty chemicals industry.

PAI Partners had owned Perstorp for over 12 years, which is extremely long for a private equity player, noted Mateboer. “That showed the long-term vision our previous owners had but they apparently felt it was now time to sell the company.”

He anticipates the deal being concluded in early September.

The new owners have indicated that they are excited about the animal nutrition business, that they have a clear interest to grow the division and maybe even at an accelerated pace than the rate at which the business has developed to date, said Mateboer.

The strategic path for Perstorp's animal nutrition business was set two to three years ago, with the division becoming a dedicated unit, rather than just being part of the chemical business; it was deemed a key revenue driver for the wider group, he said.

New blending facility 

A new facility in the Netherlands will help with the execution of the division’s strategy.

The investments in our site in Waspik have now been finalized,​” said Mateboer.

“That gives us a state-of-the-art blending facility and automatic packaging lines so we can manufacture more complex products now, aligned with our product development strategy, expansion in the gut health area. Rather than having products based just on butyric acid, we now have solutions that combine butyric acid, valeric acid and phytogenics.

"Our new product, Gastrivix Avi, is the first one in a series. Over the coming years, the plan is to release a new product in that Gastrivix line every six months. The initial product focuses on broilers, an additional one is expected in swine with further poultry targeted products on the way. We will also keep an eye out for new technologies to add to our toolkit, ones that could help us achieve our ambitious targets.”

In the past Perstorp did a lot of work on butyric acid to really understand the fundamentals of that short-chain fatty acid. “We will continue to undertake collaborations of that nature.”

Organic acid volume boost

The group also announced in April that it would build a new plant on the site of its existing carboxylic acid production operation in Stenungsund, Sweden. It will enable extra capacity of around 70,000 tons/year of carboxylic acids and will be on stream in 2024. ”The approval is there; we are now in planning phase and then the building and the execution phase will follow. We already have one reactor, a new reactor will be installed that will produce propionic, butyric and valeric acids. The facility can switch between the acids based on market demands.”

The company, overall, has a heightened a focus on sustainability, he said. “We have some major projects in play whereby some of our facilities will become completely carbon neutral in the next five to ten years. The animal nutrition business will also benefit from that. Perstorp is already ahead of many of its peers in the chemical industry on the sustainability front and we plan to expand further in that respect, to be a frontrunner. That is one of the reasons that Petronas was excited to acquire us. It has similar ambitions.”

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