NEW YORK — E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. is beginning to see some of the top-line synergies come forward from its 2011 acquisition of Danisco and its assumption of full ownership of Solae in 2012, said Ellen Kullman, chairman and chief executive officer.
In a May 31 presentation at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York, Ms. Kullman said DuPont is “really happy” it acquired Danisco and the integration is going well with cost synergies ahead of schedule. She said the company now is in the process of integrating the Solae isolate business into Danisco.
“We have a full suite of products in both bakery, in meat, in dairy and in other segments of food ingredients, and we continue to drive forward,” she said.
DuPont acquired Danisco in 2011. DuPont in 2012 acquired full ownership of St. Louis-based Solae, which develops soy-based ingredients, from Bunge. Previously, Solae was a joint venture between DuPont and Bunge. DuPont earlier this year combined three of its food-related units into one business called DuPont Nutrition & Health. Danisco, Solae and Qualicon are the three units.
Ms. Kullman said DuPont is spending a lot of time globalizing the Danisco business.
“We (DuPont) have a very localized presence as a company in Southeast Asia, in Latin America, and Danisco didn’t,” she explained. “And so a big part of the integration is localizing them in areas of the world that they just weren’t big enough to have a presence in, and building out our capability there. And I tell you, every country I go into I see a lot of opportunity in that space.”
Specifically, Ms. Kullman pointed to China as a country where there is a big opportunity for the food industry.
“Food is moving from a farm-based economy to an urban-based economy,” she said. “Food safety, food security, shelf life, nutritional content and packaging materials all are at a different level today than they ever were in that country. So I think there are opportunities from that standpoint.”
Commenting briefly on the news that Monsanto’s bioengineered wheat recently showed up in a field in Oregon, Ms. Kullman said bioengineering is an area coming under more scrutiny than ever before. But with global populations increasing and arable land holding steady, it’s a technology that is needed, she said.
“If you look at the growing middle classes in India and Southeast Asia and China and the amount of people moving from a grain-based diet to a protein-based diet, productivity in agriculture is key and you’re not going to get that without using the power of all the sciences available,” she said. “It’s genetics, it’s biotechnology traits, along with good agronomic processes, and so I do think there’s a need in the world to continue to let science allow us to feed the growing population. And I think it’s something we as an industry have to continue to be engaged in.”