06 Oct 2017 --- Firmenich has announced strong results for its fiscal year 2017, as it recorded CHF3.34 billion (US$3.41 billion) in net sales, an increase of 4.4 percent in Swiss Francs. With all its business units posting steady growth, the group says it further consolidated its' number one position as the leading private company in fine fragrance and ingredients.
“This has been a year of strategic breakthroughs for Firmenich, driven by our cutting-edge innovation, award-winning creation and reinforced leadership in sustainability,” says Patrick Firmenich, Chairman of the Board, Firmenich. “I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Gilbert and his team for driving Firmenich’s excellence forward for our customers and society.”
“We owe our strong performance to the trust of our customers who inspire our teams to push our leading innovation and creativity forward every day,” says Gilbert Ghostine, CEO, Firmenich. “Building on our commitment to the UN SDGs, I am proud of how we put our expertise to work to address key societal challenges this year, such as improving access to sanitation and nutrition, while reinforcing our excellence in naturals and environmental management”.
Anchored in Geneva but expanding international reach
Firmenich says it reinforced its commitment to Geneva, Switzerland this year, as it announced over CHF160 million in investments. The Group inaugurated its new perfumery plant in November, representing a CHF60m investment, and announced its intention to invest over CHF100m to create a campus of excellence in Geneva with a world-class research facility by 2020.
In parallel, to support its international growth, Firmenich points out that it opened new facilities in Nigeria, Korea, Mexico, Singapore and the US this year.
Innovation and creativity
Firmenich notes that it is committed to “making healthy taste delicious” and being a catalyst for responsible nutrition. The group has announced that its sweetness-enhancing solutions removed approximately 100,000 metric tons of sugar, equivalent to 500 billion calories, from food and beverages this year. Firmenich calls this: “advancing its taste modulation technologies to reduce sugar, salt and fat without compromising on taste.”
The group notes that its world-class creativity was broadly recognized by the industry with events such as Harry Fremont receiving the Fragrance Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his body of work.
Success in naturals
Firmenich took a majority equity stake in Essex Laboratories, a world leader in natural mint, based in Oregon, US, to offer unique, tailor-made, sustainable and traceable natural mint solutions.
Recognizing the group’s over 40 years of responsible business growth in Indonesia, Firmenich says it was honored to receive the country’s Presidential Award for its responsible sourcing of patchouli, enhancing the sustainable livelihoods of farming communities.
Managing the environment
Firmenich reports that it advanced its leadership in environmental management this year with continued industry-leading rankings from EcoVadis and CDP. In particular, Firmenich was rated the best company in environmental management by CDP across the Switzerland, Germany and Austria region.
Confirming the group’s leadership in advancing the UN SDGs, Firmenich was distinguished with the Better Society Network’s Ethical Business Award 2017. Firmenich’s Global Head of Sustainability, Dr. Bérangère Magarinos Ruchat, was also recognized by WBCSD’s with its Leading Women Award.
Keeping it in the family
Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned company in the fragrance and flavor business, announced the appointment of Julien Firmenich as Vice President of Ingredients this summer. In this role, which he began on July 1, Julien will lead the Ingredients Business Unit with a focus on breakthrough innovation, creativity and long-term value creation.
Julien most recently held the position of VP, Product Strategy & Promotion, Ingredients, at Firmenich where he played an instrumental role in the business’ successful transformation, with a focus on product lifecycle and innovation management. Prior to joining Ingredients, he took on roles of increasing responsibility within Perfumery, from Fragrance Development Manager, to Body and Home Care Commercial, followed by Fine Fragrance Sales. Across these roles he developed a broad understanding of the world of perfumery and ingredients, from creativity to consumer insights, all the way to customer intimacy.
Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, Firmenich has created many of the world’s best-known perfumes and flavors that billions of consumers enjoy each day. Each year, it invests 10% of its turnover in R&D, reflecting its continuous desire to understand, share and sublimate the best that nature has to offer. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3.2 billion Swiss Francs (US$3.3 billion) at the end of June 2016.
Julien Firmenich is the fourth generation of the Firmenich family to work at the company. He is the son of Pierre-Yves Firmenich, grandson of Fred Firmenich, one of the founders of the company. Pierre-Yves Firmenich was CEO of Firmenich from 1989-2002. Julien spoke to The World of Food Ingredients about the current market environment and trends driving innovation in the flavors sector.