Organic growth was 9%, and adjusting for a negative currency impact of 6%, corresponded to a revenue increase of 3% to €1.1bn ($1.27bn).
EBIT before special items increased by 4% to €320m ($370m), compared to €307m ($355m) in 2016/17. The EBIT margin before special items was 29.2%, compared to 28.9% in 2016/17.
Profit for the year increased by 2% to €228m ($264m), compared to €224m ($259m) in 2016/17, while free cash flow before special items and acquisitions was €196m ($227m), compared to €188m ($217m) in 2016/17.
CEO Mauricio Graber said 2017/18 was another good year for Chr. Hansen, finishing strongly in Q4 driven by Food Cultures & Enzymes and Health & Nutrition.
“We achieved all the overall financial targets that we set at the beginning of the year, in spite of currency headwinds impacting both revenues and earnings,” Graber said.
“For the full year, Food Cultures & Enzymes delivered strong growth organic of 12%, performing well above the long-term ambition of growing 7-8% per year, while Health & Nutrition and Natural Colors delivered moderate growth and grew by 8% and 5%, respectively.”
Revenue in bioprotection grew around 35%, Graber said, with the second-generation products showing impressive early progress.
Plant Health also had good results, with good traction of the newly launched products, Quartzo and Presence in Brazil. The company said Human Microbiome saw exciting developments in two key projects – a partnership with Prota Therapeutics on peanut allergy and a discovery of the potential to use a probiotic to treat side-effects from regular consumption of acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin.
Outlook for 2018/19
The company said it is looking to organic revenue growth of 9-11%, and an EBIT margin before special items of around 29.5%.
Chr. Hansen said the acquisition of the Austrian-based dairy ingredients company will further expand its enzyme production and presence into the traditional segments of specialty cheeses. It said it will enable Chr. Hansen to offer cheesemakers a product portfolio in the animal rennet space.
“The acquisition confirms our commitment to the traditional segment of animal derived coagulants for our customers in the cheese industry,” the company said.
The market for traditional and specialty cheese continues to develop, and the acquisition of Hundsbichler ensures Chr. Hansen’s Food Cultures & Enzymes business is well positioned for future growth opportunities, the company said.
Senior commercial development manager, Michael Fooken Jensen, said, “We’re very proud to take on Hundsbichler’s high quality products and will do our utmost to deliver the same exceptional service levels that the customers have been used to. Chr. Hansen was founded on the discovery of animal rennet in 1874 and therefore has a strong tradition and expertise in this field, and we therefore believe that we can create true value for our new customers.”
Hundsbichler, founded in 1947 and headquartered in Langkampfen, Austria, is a leading suppliers of animal rennet to the cheese industry. Products include the BioRen brand ranging from mainstream products to more specialized items used for production of typical, traditional cheeses.
Chr. Hansen said Hundsbichler is expected to provide opportunities for synergies within sales, including cross-selling, supply chain improvements and innovation. These synergies are expected to be achieved in the coming two years.
The assets of Hundsbichler was acquired for an undisclosed amount and comprises customers, products, trademarks and production equipment.
The acquisition will not impact the financial guidance of Chr. Hansen and will only have a minor impact on sales and earnings in 2018/19, according to the company.