Quillaja is used in cosmetics as a surfactant for balms and creams and as a foaming agent for emulsifiers and shampoos.
The specialty ingredients supplier has invested almost $3 million (€2.2m) for a 51% stake in Chile Botanics and says that it fits the Group's strategy of pursuing selective external growth opportunities using a collaborative approach, when applicable, in building equity positions.
"We are proud of this investment and delighted to welcome the Chile Botanics team within our Group,” says Naturex's Chairman-CEO, Thierry Lambert.
“This acquisition will expand our range of raw materials in a manner consistent with our sustainable development approach and strengthen our positioning in Latin America, a region with very strong growth potential.”
Lambert explains that this strategy allows Naturex to address the principal market trend related challenges: access to differentiating or complimentary raw materials, penetrating or strengthening local positions in geographical markets with strong potential, developing an offering combining quality, innovation and sustainability.
Chile Botanics has an additional base in Latin America where Naturex is already present as well as access to very specific resources, such as Quillaja.
Native to Chile, Quillaja saponaria, the soap bark tree, is a hardy perennial evergreen. Its dry bark, rich in saponin, has been used for centuries by the local population for its cleaning properties (body, hair, clothing.)
Located near the country's most prolific natural Quillaja forests, Chile Botanics has developed Quillaja sourcing providing for sustained harvesting of the wood and branches, with the agreement of the Chilean government and in accordance with environmental standards of the Chilean government forest agency (CONAF - Corporación Nacional Forestal).
The South American firm will also benefit both from the worldwide geographical coverage of Naturex's sales force through its network of more than 20 sales offices and the Group's marketing know-how in promoting the offering and positioning products to maximize commercial synergies and diversify its customer base.
Furthermore, Naturex's scientific expertise in the area of research and development will contribute to development by Chile Botanics of new high value added innovative applications for the agro-food and cosmetic industries.