Global companies eye majority stake in VKL seasoning

Global flavors and fragrance makers have shown interest in purchasing a majority stake in VKL Seasoning, India’s leading manufacturer of seasonings and flavors.

About six companies, covering Swiss fragrance majors Givaudan and Firmenich, German firm Symrise, Ireland-based Kerry Group, and Japanese major Takasago, have expressed interest in acquiring majority stake in True North PE-owned Vallabhdas Kanji (VKL) Seasoning, according to two people aware of the development.

Bids will be deposited soon and two to three will be shortlisted in a month, said one of the persons cited above. True North, which invested about $40 million in 2013, is seeking a valuation of $140 million (?1,000 crores) for VKL Seasoning.

True North Capital is selling its majority stake in VKL Seasoning and has hired investment bank Avendus to manage the sale, ET had reported on November 19.

VKL creates food ingredients and flavoring solutions in India and the Middle East with a strong focus on the quick service restaurants (QSR) and processed food industries.

Top clients of VKL covers Americana Group, Amul, Bikanerwala, Britannia, Café Coffee Day, Chick King, Chili’s, Dabur, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, GlaxoSmithkline, Godrej, Gowardhan Dairy, McDonald’s, Mrs. Bector’s, Nestlé, Parle, Pepsico, Pizza Hut and Unibic. The product offerings of VKL include topping marinades, sprinklers (pizzas), bread toppings, patty seasonings, sauces & dressings (burgers), breeder, batter, glazes (chicken), cake premixes, red and white sauce, and mac and cheese sauce.

Set upped in Alleppey, Kerala, in 1935 as a whole spice dealer and later expanded into a private label and food ingredients businesses, VKL had sold its bulk spices and private label assets to Olam International in 2011.

VKL is flagship company of Mumbai-based Kanji Moorarji Group.

A True North spokesperson decreased to comment while emails sent to Givaudan, Firmenich, Symrise, Kerry Group, Takasago and Ajay Mariwala, managing director, VKL, did not elicit any response till press time on Wednesday.

Nearly 70% share of the global fragrances and flavors market is held by the top four players – Givaudan, Firmenich, IFF, and Symrise.

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