INDIA – Swiss company, Firmenich has acquired a majority stake in India’s leading seasonings and flavors producer, VKL Seasoning from private equity company True North.

According to Firmenich, the deal whose transaction details have not been disclosed, expands its capabilities and customer reach in India, the group’s key growth market.

VKL Seasoning was founded in 1996 and makes and distributes food seasoning and flavors in domestic and export markets, serving the quick service restaurants (QSR) and the processed food industry.

Its portfolio includes sauses, dressings, batter, bread topping and seasonings.

VKL’s business which also includes private labels and food ingredients complements Firmenich’s innovative portfolio to benefit food and beverage manufacturers in India.

“In a world of increasingly label-conscious consumers, VKL’s unique blends of spices, extracts and other natural ingredients will enrich our portfolio of authentic taste profiles to delight Indian consumers,” said Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich.

“We are excited to partner with VKL, a leader in the savory and food service space, who bring a demonstrated track record of innovation with both local and international players.”

On completion of the transaction, VKL Seasoning will retain its brand identity and will operate as a standalone business within the company.

In 2013, True North invested around US$40 million (about Rs 240 crore) in VKL Seasoning, which reported consolidated net sales of Rs 209.5 crore (US$30.11 million) for the year through March 2018.

“VKL Seasonings and True North share the same values, focused on professional management practices, high quality talent and innovative creative systems,” said Haresh Chawla, Partner, True North.

“VKL’s impressive customer base coupled with in-depth knowledge of the local palate, has led to significant growth in the industry. We are confident that the company will reach new heights with Firmenich.”

Firmenich operates in India through Mumbai-based unit Firmenich Aromatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. and appointed Satish Rao as the chairman and managing director of the India business in 2016.

“This joint venture underpins Firmenich’s ongoing commitment to India, one of our fastest growing markets,” said Satish Rao.

“VKL expands our presence in India, while advancing our vision to be the taste and nutrition innovation partner of choice.”