Mixed fortunes in first quarter for Chr Hansen

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Growth in Asian and South American markets boost sales for Danish
firm Chr Hansen, counterbalancing a fall in revenue in North
America for the first quarter of the year.

Sales at the ingredients unit of the Danish firm rose by 4 per cent overall, pulling in DKK 845 million (€113m) for months from September to November 2004, creeping up from DKK 836 million for the same period last year.

"Growth was primarily driven by sales of cultures and human health products, including pharma products,"​ the Horsholm-based company said in a statement this week.

But while ingredient sales into the human healthcare segment showed what the company said was 'a favourable trend', strong pressure on prices in the rennet market knocked revenue for Europe, which grew by 4 per cent. North American sales actually fell by 2 per cent. Chr Hansen attributed the fall in the US to a drop in orders for sweeteners and flavours, amongst other products.

Gains in South America, rising 17 per cent, were attributed to all product areas, except enzymes. In Asia, the firm said new sales offices in a number of countries had "resulted in strong sales growth", rising 16 per cent for the region.

Profit for the period rolled in at DKK 114 million, a 7.5 per cent rise on the year before.

At the end of last year, Chr Hansen said it was considering breaking up into two separate entities, one focused on food and pharmaceutical ingredients and the other a pharmaceutical pure-play making allergy vaccines and asthma treatments, activities currently handled by its ALK-Abelló unit.

First quarter sales at the allergy vaccines group rose 5 per cent to DKK 325 million, with earnings of DKK 93 million, helped by a good performance by its sublingual immunotherapy SLITone.

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