The acquisition comes despite a long-running expectation that AkzoNobel will sell National Starch. The company made clear its intention to seek a new owner for the specialty starches business when it obtained National Starch and Chemical Company as part of its acquisition of ICI in January 2008, but it said it would postpone this possibility toward the end of last year as the global economic outlook deteriorated.
However, the company said it has decided to continue investing in National Starch while it is still on its books, even though it had said it expected to sell the company by the end of 2008.
Communications manager at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals Oskar Bosson told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “It is still for sale, but it is part of the company…The question is to invest or not to invest in a business up for sale. Just because we are intending to sell it does not mean that we won’t do what is right for the business while it’s part of us. Of course, we will take advantage of the current market, so if we see good deals appearing we will look to consolidate.”
Bosson added that the Penford acquisition opens opportunities for shorter supply chains to specialty food starch customers in the Asia-Pacific region – an area that “is a growing region in the long term.
National Starch managing director Jim Zallie said: “This addition to our global supply network will shorten our supply lines of specialty starches into Australia and Asia, improve our competitive advantage and enhance our ability to strengthen our leadership position in the region.”
National Starch will acquire two new product lines as a result of the acquisition: Penford’s clean label starch product technology, which the company said would complement its own Novation clean label starch range; and additional resistant starch products.
Resistant starch is not digested but is fermented in the large intestine and has prebiotic properties, so the purchase could see further opportunities in health and nutrition applications for National Starch.
The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.