WILMINGTON, DEL. – E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company has agreed to acquire Danisco, a global enzyme and specialty food ingredients company, for $5.8 billion in cash and assumption of $500 million of Danisco net debt. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Danisco is a specialty food ingredients manufacturer with a product portfolio that includes enablers, cultures and sweeteners.

DuPont and Danisco also are joint venture partners in the development of cellulosic ethanol technology.

“Danisco is a premier company, a longtime successful partner of DuPont and a proven innovator committed to sustainable growth,” said Ellen J. Kullman, chairman and chief executive officer of DuPont. “Danisco has attractive, market-driven science businesses that offer clear synergies with DuPont Nutrition & Health and Applied BioSciences.

“This transaction is a perfect strategic fit with our growth opportunities and will help us solve global challenges presented by dramatic population growth in the decades to come, specifically related to food and energy. In addition, biotechnology and specialty food ingredients have the potential to change the landscape of industries, such as substituting renewable materials for fossil fuel processes and addressing food needs in developing economies, that will generate more sustainable solutions and create growth for the company.”

DuPont said it expects to finance the acquisition with approximately $3 billion in existing cash and the remainder in debt. The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter and be cash and earnings accretive in 2012, the first full year of the combined entity.

DuPont has set its 2011 earnings per share outlook at a range of $3.30 to $3.60 per share, and the anticipated impact of the transaction would reduce that outlook by 30c to 45c per share on a reported basis, the company said.

“Danisco has two well-positioned global businesses that strongly complement our current biotechnology capabilities, R.&D. pipeline, and specialty food ingredients, a combination that offers attractive long-term financial returns,” Ms. Kullman said. “This also would create new opportunities across other parts of the DuPont portfolio, including traditional materials science offerings.”

Danisco has nearly 7,000 employees globally with operations in 23 countries.

Following news of the acquisition, Danisco’s stock jumped 25% in Copenhagen trading to 662 kroner ($114.71).