Lessons of the Non-Tech Acquiring Tech Deal Of The Month

February 2022: Symrise AG agrees to acquire Wing Pet Food

On 23 February 2022, Symrise AG, a world leading manufacturer of flavours and fragrances, agreed to acquire China’s tech solutions company, Wing Pet Food. With this deal, Symrise will acquire additional capabilities to further strengthen its market position in the areas of pet food palatability, while accelerating the diversification in its pet food application area.

Tech – Wing Pet Food: Wing Pet Food is a technology firm that focuses on pet food palatability solutions with integrated R&D, production, and sales operations. After more than 10 years of development, Wing Pet Food has grown into a high-tech firm with two business units, Wing Bio and Witts Bio, focusing on pet food palatability and health & nutrition respectively. The company is engaged in the research and development of pet food ingredients, nutrition, and pet food protection formulations, enabling pet food brands to avail a comprehensive portfolio of ingredients as per their requirements.

Non-Tech – Symrise:
Symrise is a global supplier of fragrances, flavours, food, nutrition, and cosmetic ingredients. Its clients include manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and producers of nutritional supplements and pet food. The Group is represented by more than 100 locations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the United States and Latin America. Symrise works with its clients to develop new ideas and market-ready concepts for products that form an integral part of everyday life.


ADVANCING TASTE, NUTRITION AND HEALTH IN PET FOOD


On 23 February 2022, Symrise announced the acquisition of Wing Pet Food for an undisclosed amount, a deal that highlights the need for a solution to cater the evolving taste palates of pets in today’s world.

Wing Pet Food established Witts Bio in 2012 to focus on pet food nutrition and natural antioxidant sectors. After years of research on pet nutrition needs, Witts Bio successively launched premium pet food ingredients in various categories and fields since 2018.

With all these advancements in healthy pet food solutions, Wing Pet Food operates a proven sales platform and a reliable operational network across China and in adjacent Asian markets. In addition, it is well known for its strong customer intimacy across different product segments.

The deal demonstrates Symrise’s ability to adapt to and serve consumer’s needs.

“With this transaction we extend our access to additional customers and further diversify our portfolio in the pet food application area. Our customers will particularly benefit from an enhanced value proposition in Taste, Nutrition and Health.”

- Dr. Jean-Yves Parisot, President Flavor & Nutrition, Symrise AG


With this techquisition, Symrise will take a major strategic step in its accelerated global expansion in Pet Nutrition. Symrise will extend its capabilities with Wing Pet Food’s state-of-the-art Research & Development centre in Shanghai, two high-standard production sites strategically situated in the Chinese provinces of Jiangxi and Jiangsu as well as around 200 employees.

“I am very confident about partnering with Symrise. Combining our portfolios, our capabilities, and strong customer relationships will further strengthen our competitive position. We will be ideally positioned to make the best use of our growth opportunities in and outside China.”

- Wu Zhirong, Deputy General Manager, Wing Pet Food

This deal follows Symrise’s pet food related acquisitions of Michael Foods’ egg processing plant and Schaffelaarbos, a leading manufacturer of sustainable egg proteins in pet foods.

INDUSTRY DISRUPTION

The size of the global pet food market is estimated to grow from $97.5 billion in 2021 to $136.8 billion by 2028.

As people have been working from home during the lockdown, many used this as an opportunity to get the family pet.

Various studies have indicated that people who have pets suffer less with problems such as loneliness and depression due to the companionship that pet ownership brings.

The increasing rate of pet ownership worldwide, especially across the developing regions is anticipated to be one of the primary drivers of the market. The pet humanization is encouraging the pet owners to opt for nutritious and quality food for their pets, further boosting the market's growth.

Additionally, the rising per capita income of the consumer is motivating people to spend on healthy and organic food products for pet animals to aid their health.

Moreover, easy availability of products with different price ranges is a growth promoting factor for the global market.

The key global market players are focusing on the launch of a variety of sustainable food products for pets to address the needs of different types of animals belonging to different age groups.

This is projected to drive the global pet food market growth. In recent years, companies such as J.M. Smucker, Nestle, and Mars Inc. have launched premium food products to grab the consumer’s attention and address the growing “needs” of pets.

Pet food innovation is now more than ever addressing pet owners’ concerns about natural and nutritional ingredients as well as sustainability.

These ecological demands are also evident among European pet owners, who are increasingly scrutinising the sustainability credentials of pet food, from methods of production to ingredients and packaging. In Asia, pet owners are looking for functional benefits to help reduce the risk of their pets developing lifestyle diseases.

That said, Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing region in the global market, followed by South America. Economies such as Japan, Australia, and China are the major contributors to revenue generation across the region.

Japan is one of the leading importers of prepared dog and cat food across the world. However, the pet animal food market in the country is showcasing sluggish growth.

The market in China and India is expected to rise significantly during the forecast period due to the increasing consumer expenditure on food products for pet animals across these countries, coupled with the increasing investment by the global market players within these economies.

Especially in China, the urbanization trend has a greater influence on sales of prepared pet foods, as these products are more convenient and more suitable for the busy lifestyles of urban dwellers.

The Chinese market observed a rising awareness of feeding pets with prepared packaged pet food and increasing disposable income.

"Our two organizations are fully complementary and joining forces will be mutually beneficial. After 15 years of establishing a solid position in the Chinese market we will now take the next step in expanding our business."

- Yin Jun, Chief Executive Officer, Wing Pet Food

CLEAR TRANSFORMATIONAL OPPORTUNITY

This techquisition sits perfectly in line with Symrise’s global expansion strategy. As per its December 2021 trading update, the company had also earmarked certain capital for the construction of a new pet food production facility and development and application center in China.

With a strong foothold in the Chinese market and a state-of-the-art R&D center, Wing Pet Food should help Symrise diversify in its pet food application area.

Wing could also help Symrise rapidly expand in the Chinese and subsequently the entire APAC region, which is expected to drive the growth of pet food markets over the foreseeable future.

THE QUOTE

"The acquisition of Wing Pet Food is an excellent opportunity for Symrise to further strengthen its leading position in pet food and expand its footprint in the APAC region, where we see great growth potential."

- Dr. Jean-Yves Parisot, President Flavor & Nutrition, Symrise AG

Symrise’s techquisitions are a great example of how a traditional food ingredients manufacturer is actively engaged in the journey of transforming itself to deliver greater value to its stakeholders – particularly its shareholders and customers – by properly positioning itself for the future, ready to tackle any disruptions, especially in a pandemic.

The essence of such a transformation unfolding is embedded in a strategy execution approach we have trademarked and call Techquisition, which my firm, Aquaa Partners, has designed and delivers to its clients every day as an experienced and trusted expert partner.

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