Page 10-11 | Meet Corbion | July 2013
In 2006 the American Ingredients Company and Caravan Products merged and became Caravan Ingredients, a new leading supplier in the North-American markets for specialty ingredients including lactic-acid-based emulsifiers, functional blends containing enzymes, and fortification ingredients.
In the meantime, Purac became a center for innovation, focusing on bioplastics, biobased building blocks, and natural preservation solutions for food.
In mid-2012 a major step in the evolution of the company was announced: CSM would divest its bakery supplies activities in North America and Europe, and use the funds to transform into a biobased ingredients company focusing on Caravan Ingredients and Purac. This transformation also meant a new name for the company: CSM became Corbion.
2006-2013 Biobased it is
In 1994 CSM’s Ingredients Division, formerly the Biochemical Division, achieved a higher turnover than the Sugar Division. The period from 1997 to 2002 saw the construction of a new derivatives plant in the US and the construction of a new calcium lactate plant and a lactic acid powder plant in the Netherlands.
In the 1990s, CSM also acquired various bakery supplies operations in Europe and North America, including Unilever's European bakery supplies business in 2001. Out of this expansion, two new divisions were created: Bakery Supplies Europe and Bakery Supplies North America.
By 2001 CSM had grown to become Europe's second largest sugar confectionery company.
Three years later though, CSM shifted its focus to its B2B activities and sugar started to take up a smaller part of the company. The Sugar Confectionery businesses were sold in 2004. In 2006, the company decided to sell off the sugar production activities, a process that was completed in 2007. This was a historic moment for CSM as sugar had been the heritage business for so long.
1994-2005 No more sugar
In 1986 CSM acquired the Spanish producer of lactic acid, Louis Ayuso SA. By then, CSM had developed a broad spectrum of applications for lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives, which were used in the food industry as flavor enhancers, texture improvers, and natural preservatives. Further uses were found in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, in products such as calcium tablets, dialysis solutions, and skin creams. In the 1980s a high autonomous growth rate was achieved thanks to new applications and sales through the foreign sales offices in the US, the UK, and the Asia-Pacific region. By 1991 the name Purac was used for all of CSM’s lactic acid activities.
Alongside its autonomous growth, CSM also expanded through the acquisition of important users of lactic acid, including the American bakery ingredients producer, C.J. Patterson, in 1988. As with the acquisition of Breddo in 1982, this was the result of CSM’s vertical integration strategy. These two companies were subsequently combined to form American Ingredients Company.
CSM advanced further in the bakery ingredients market with the acquisition of Westco Products (USA) in 1992.
1985-1993 High growth and vertical integration
In 1968 CSM started a joint venture with Handelsvereniging Amsterdam (HVA) which had bought Schiedamse Melkzuurfabriek in 1963. This new operation was called the Chemie Combinatie Amsterdam, or CCA.
In the 1980s the investments in biochemicals started to pay off. As a producer of fermentative (natural) lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives, CCA benefited from the popularity of natural food ingredients and biobased chemicals.
CSM gained full control of CCA in 1982 and in July 1983 the first US sales office for lactic acid opened its doors in Arlington Heights, near Chicago. This sales office was called Purac, a contraction of the words “pure” and “acid.”
Besides its lactic acid activities, CSM further diversified its portfolio by entering the branded food business when it acquired Honig in 1978. Over the next several years CSM would go on to acquire a number of branded food and confectionery manufacturing companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
1968-1984 Entering the
lactic acid market
CSM started out as a domestic sugar processing company when the merger between Wester Suikerraffinaderij, Van Loon & Co., Hollandia and Asmij in 1919 created a new, publicly listed company called NV Centrale Suiker Maatschappij (CSM, Central Sugar Company), based in the Netherlands. After changes in European sugar regulations made expansion difficult, CSM started exploring other areas for growth. The company diversified its portfolio into foods and also saw high potential in the chemical industry, especially the biochemical industry. To explore this area, CSM created a research department in 1946 to develop new sugar-based products. It was based in the former sugar factory Hollandia in Gorinchem, the Netherlands.
But Corbion’s heritage can be traced even further back, to 1903, when a company called Caravan Products started distributing spices and flavors in the US. Exactly 100 years later CSM acquired Caravan Products, which merged with American Ingredients in 2006 to become Caravan Ingredients.
In 1931 a Dutch company called the Schiedamse Melkzuurfabriek (SMF) started producing lactic acid. Lactic acid was first used in dyes and wool, but later on became a versatile food ingredient.
1903-1967 How it all started
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Caravan Products starts trading as a distributor of spices and flavors
CSM nv, a domestic sugar processing company, is founded
CSM is floated on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange
Start lactic acid production in Schiedam, the Netherlands, by Schiedamse Melkzuurfabriek (SMF)
Lactic acid used as a food ingredient by Schiedamse Melkzuurfabriek
Schiedamse Melkzuurfabriek starts producing ethyl lactate
CSM sets up a biochemical research laboratory in the Netherlands to investigate the development of products based on sugar as a raw material
C.J. Patterson patents lactylates in the US
Caravan Products acquires Ira Grob, US, a supplier of mixes and bases
Handelsvereniging Amsterdam, the Netherlands, acquires Indústria Química de Sínteses e Fermentaçôes (IQSF) in Brazil
Handelsvereniging Amsterdam buys the Schiedamse Melkzuurfabriek
Start of the joint venture between Handelsvereniging Amsterdam and CSM's biochemical division by the name of CCA (Chemie Combinatie Amsterdam) to produce sucro-chemicals involving lactic acid and its derivatives
Caravan Products acquires Machmeister
CCA starts producing stearoyl lactylates and dilactide
Caravan Products launches Big 7, a base that has mass following and is used in many bakeries
CSM acquires the consumer food group of Koninklijke Scholten-Honig
CSM becomes sole owner of CCA
CSM acquires lactic acid user Breddo, a US producer of bakery ingredients
Caravan Products acquires Brokay, US. Bread and cake mixes are added to the product portfolio.
Launch of Purac America, the first foreign sales office in Arlington Heights, near Chicago
CSM's biochemical division is formed including Chemie Combinatie Amsterdam, Indústria Química de Sínteses e Fermentaçôes (Brazil), Purac, and Breddo (US)
A multi-purpose plant producing ethyl lactate is opened in Gorinchem, the Netherlands
Caravan Products starts developing bases and conditioners utilizing new and unique emulsifiers, and more complex enzymatic systems
CSM (Purac) acquires Spanish lactic acid producer Luis Ayuso based in Montmeló, Spain
The business unit Purac Biomaterials, focusing on medical biodegradable polymers, is created
Sodium lactate powder is being produced for the first time at the new plant in Montmeló, Spain (CSM-Luis Ayuso)
Caravan Products launches bagel products and turns out to be a major contributor to the development of the bagel market in the US
CSM acquires C.J. Patterson,
a producer of bakery ingredients and user of lactic acid. Along with Breddo, this acquisition was a result of CSM's vertical integration strategy. C.J. Patterson and Breddo together form the American Ingredients Company (AIC).
CSM's food division overtakes the sugar division on turnover basis
CCA is renamed Purac. The plants in Campos, Brazil (Química de Sínteses e Fermentaçôes) and Montmeló, Spain (Louis Ayuso) also continue under the name of Purac.
CSM acquires Westco, marking the beginning of a period of rapid expansion in the US market for bakery ingredients
CSM's biochemical division is renamed ingredients division; the ingredients division overtakes CSM's sugar division on turnover basis
CSM (AIC) purchases Elf-Atochem Milling and Ingredients
Construction starts of a Purac derivatives plant in the US (Blair, Nebraska) and a calcium lactate plant in the Netherlands (Gorinchem)
CSM (AIC) purchases Witco emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides)
Caravan Products acquires A&S Products, US, a producer of frozen dough
Construction starts of a new plant for Purac Biomaterials
CSM sells the food division
CSM acquires Unilever’s European Bakery Supplies Business
CSM (AIC) purchases J.R. Short, a bakery ingredient line, US
CSM (Bakery Supplies Europe) acquires Besser, Italy, Carels, the Netherlands, and the bakery operations of FIMA, Portugal
CSM (Purac) launches PURASAL Opti.Form, a special blend for food safety
Purac starts construction of a new lactic acid powder plant in Gorinchem, the Netherlands
CSM acquires Caravan Products (USA)
CSM sells the Sugar Confectionery division
AIC and Caravan Products merge to become Caravan Ingredients
Construction starts of Purac's new lactic acid plant in Rayong, Thailand
CSM (Caravan Ingredients) acquires ADM Arkady distilled monoglycerides business and bakery enhancers, mixes, stabilizers, release agents, flavors, and enrichments
First production of D(-) lactic acid at production plant in Montmeló (Spain)
CSM sells the Sugar division
Development of heat-stable PLA for bioplastics
Introduction of PuraQ product line for food preservation
Gypsum-free technology developed for lactic acid production
CSM (Purac) announces construction of new biomaterials plant in the US
Construction starts of a new lactides plant in Thailand
Start of Purac India
CSM and BASF start a joint venture called Succinity, for the production of succinic acid
CSM decides to focus on biobased ingredients and starts divestment of Bakery Supplies businesses
Caravan Ingredients and Purac together form Corbion
Corbion’s origins lie in CSM nv, a company whose exploration of several markets resulted in a broad product portfolio that evolved over time while always remaining close to its biobased activities.
Biobased it is
No more sugar
High growth and vertical integration
Entering the lactic acid market
How it all started