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INTERVIEW: Perstorp’s New Head of Animal Nutrition Outlines Growth Agenda

Source: Feedindo Logo Final

14 September 2021 – Perstorp implemented a refocused strategy in March 2021. One of the key elements of the strategy is that Perstorp will further drive growth in the specialties segments, of which animal nutrition is one.

As a result, Animal Nutrition has been named a division rather than a business area as the animal nutrition market is a different market from the other segments Perstorp serves. Hence, the need for more autonomy. With this new set-up, the animal nutrition division will be able to act more independently, making it more agile and quicker to respond to challenges from the market.

A few months later, Perstorp appointed industry veteran Aart Mateboer to the helm of its animal nutrition business. According to Perstorp, the appointment of Mateboer comes at a time of rapid transformation and ambitious growth objectives for the business segment. His role as EVP Animal Nutrition for Perstorp became effective on 1 August 2021.

Aart Mateboer
EVP Animal Nutrition

 Mateboer’s background is in the chemical and animal nutrition industries. Most recently he was Vice President Animal Nutrition at IFF – International Flavors & Fragrances. Prior to that role he held several senior positions in companies such as Akzo Nobel, Cargill and Danisco.

Upon Mateboer’s appointment, Jan Secher, Perstorp President & CEO said: “I am very pleased to welcome Aart to Perstorp. The Animal Nutrition business is continuing to be one of Perstorp’s focus segments, and with our ongoing investments as well as product innovations in the area, we have high expectations on even better serving the animal nutrition market.”

Mateboer was happy to talk to Feedinfo and share his vision of the road ahead for Perstorp Animal Nutrition.

His first impressions of Perstorp’s animal nutrition team since he joined are good ones. He quickly determined that they are committed to the business and to delivering on the targets set.

“The team took me through the strategy that was developed earlier, I can only conclude that there is a solid foundation in place and that I fully buy into the ambitions laid out in that plan,” Mateboer commented.

The new EVP Animal Nutrition for Perstorp confirmed that he won’t alter the plans in place. He will be focused instead on executing the plans while keeping an eye on the constant movement in the animal nutrition marketplace, which may eventually require adjustments to the plans.

“Our strategy is based on driving organic growth, and that is why we have been investing in both production capacity as well as in new product development,” Mateboer outlined.

In terms of production capacity, Perstorp Animal Nutrition is carrying out a series of ongoing investments at its production unit in Waspik, the Netherlands to meet increased demand and shifting customer requirements.

“The announced investments at our production site in Waspik, The Netherlands, are on track and expected to be finalised by the end of this year,” Mateboer said. “These investments entail construction of multiple new production lines and significantly expanding storage and office facilities along the way.”

“Since we are a global business, once the Waspik projects are finalised, we will take a critical look at our global footprint and decide where we will take the next steps in our global expansion plan,” he added.

The investments will also be used to make sure that the new portfolio consisting of gut health solutions, currently in the innovation pipeline, can be produced at the right scale when it goes to market in 2022. This portfolio is the fruit of years of R&D focus, using in-house developed production technologies.

Providing an update on the 2022 gut health solutions project, Mateboer said that Perstorp expects to launch its first product and realise its first sales in Q1 2022.

“Once that product is launched, you can expect a steady stream of new products over the coming years,” he said.

Also in the gut health space, two years ago, Perstorp entered a research agreement with Evonik to develop new animal nutrition products and investigate options for commercial partnerships.

On this partnership, Mateboer said that both companies are making progress on the commercial side as well as on the research side. The collaboration itself is focused on antibiotic replacement and in that sense is part of Perstorp Animal Nutrition’s overall strategy.

Beyond organic growth and new product development, Mateboer said that his company is not ruling out M&A.

“In case an opportunity would present itself that will enable additional growth in our target or adjacent segments, there definitely is an appetite to look at that,” he commented.

But the road ahead, however, won’t be without its bumps, as reported by Perstorp in its interim report 1 April ‒ 30 June 2021, released in late-July.

The company reported that Animal Nutrition experienced strong sales in the Asia-Pacific with solid growth in some key focus segments, such as gut health in China and India, and acid blends in Vietnam. But overall, Perstorp said it was a disappointing quarter with challenges in the volatile acid market. The segment was also still negatively impacted from curtailed traveling.

Providing some additional explanation, Perstorp’s EVP Animal Nutrition, said: “The position Perstorp holds in markets outside Europe is quite young, it was only two years ago that Perstorp significantly increased the sales organisation on a global scale. That means that we need to work closely with potential customers to show the performance and value of our products which often entails doing animal performance trials. Especially the latter has been hampered by the COVID-19 situation.”

“However, the COVID-19 situation also offered an opportunity to drive our digital transformation, which became quite evident in the large number of webinars we organised on the topics of feed preservation and gut health,” he added.

“This year we are looking back and forward more than usual at Perstorp,” Mateboer went on to say. “First of all, Perstorp was founded 140 years ago this year. We have reflected a lot on where we come from and where we’re going under this umbrella.”

“It has also been a decade since the inception of one of our flagship tributyrin products. In that decade tributyrins have gone from a curious innovation to becoming an integral part of the gut health landscape in animal nutrition.”

This is another milestone Perstorp intends to celebrate in the months to come.