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Despite more challenging growth conditions Chr. Hansen delivers a strong EBIT margin and a healthy cash flow, while also making significant progress on key strategic priorities

CEO Mauricio Graber says: “2018/19 was a solid year for Chr. Hansen, although it was not without its challenges as tougher market conditions especially in emerging markets made it more difficult to grow to the level of our ambition. We ended the year with 7 % organic growth for the group, at the low end of the guidance provided in June. However, we are satisfied that we delivered well on the financial targets for EBIT margin and free cash flow that we set at the beginning of the year, with EBIT margin before special items reaching 29.6 % and 17 % growth in free cash flow before acquisitions and special items. For the full year, Food Cultures & Enzymes delivered solid organic growth of 8 %, while Health & Nutrition delivered 9 % and Natural Colors delivered 3 %. In Q4, organic growth came down as expected for all three business areas, as we continued to see macroeconomic challenges in emerging markets, primarily impacting Food Cultures & Enzymes and Natural Colors.

We made very good progress on our strategic priorities: Plant Health had a very strong year in Latin America, and is set to have another strong year, selling in both Latin America and North America. We’ve reached an important milestone for our Human Microbiome lighthouse with the Bacthera joint venture, and while bioprotection did not have a very strong year, it still delivered double-digit growth, and we are confident in the commercial pipeline and have accelerated the development of the 3rd generation technology.

We have a cautious outlook for 2019/20, given the market challenges we are facing. After a first quarter with flat to low-single digit growth, we expect to improve the momentum in Food Cultures & Enzymes and Health & Nutrition for the rest of the year to end at 4-8 % organic growth for the group, with an EBIT margin on par with 2018/19 and an improved operating cash flow.

Over the next six months, we will conduct our biennial review of the Nature’s no. 1 strategy and will present the results at a Capital Markets Day in April 2020. Given our strong belief in the opportunities inherent in the strategy, fundamental changes from our focus on microbial and natural solutions produced via fermentation should not be expected. Until then, our business focus in 2019/20 will be to improve on our execution of the strategy.”

The Board of Directors of Chr. Hansen Holding A/S has appointed Mauricio Graber as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as of 1 June 2018.

Mauricio Graber (54) has been President of the Flavours Division of Givaudan S.A. and a member of Givaudan’s Executive Committee since 2006.

Mauricio Graber holds a BSc in Electronic Engineering from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico, and a Masters in Management from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, USA. His professional career started in 1989 with The Nutrasweet Company in the USA as Business Development Manager. After two years in the role, he returned to Mexico in 1991 to become Regional Head of North Latin America.

In 1995, he joined the US-based flavour company Tastemaker as Regional President of Latin America. In 1997, Tastemaker was acquired by the industry leader Givaudan, and subsequently Mauricio was appointed Regional President of Latin America of the combined regional business. From his new base in Brazil, he continued in that role until 2006 when he was appointed President of the Flavours division based in Switzerland.

Over the past 10 years Mauricio has led Givaudan Flavours to strengthen its global industry leadership position. He has built a customer centric culture, accelerated commercialization of innovation, invested in developing markets, driven productivity programs, and delivered both organic growth and successful integration of strategic acquisitions. In addition, he has developed internal talents and built a strong organization.

Chr. Hansen’s current CEO, Cees the Jong, will continue as acting CEO until Mauricio Graber takes up his new position on 1 June 2018.