Lesaffre ramps up China presence with majority shareholding

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Biohymn Biotechnology in Northern China. Pic: Lesaffre
Biohymn Biotechnology in Northern China. Pic: Lesaffre

Related tags: Lesaffre, Yeast, Fermentation, China, Biohymn Biotechnology, mantou

The global yeast and fermentation specialist has concluded a majority shareholding of Northern Chinese firm Biohymn Biotechnology, which also specialises in yeast and yeast extracts.

According to Lesaffre, Biohymn’s operation is perfectly in line with its own goal of strengthening its presence on the Chinese market and ensuring greater proximity to its clients.

The Chinese company produces yeast and yeast extracts, mainly for China. It was created in 2012 and is based in Chifeng City in Northern China. The region, inner Mongolia, is surrounded by sugar beet and corn cultivation.

Poverty reduction

“The cooperation between Biohymn and Lesaffre is a win-win and mutually beneficial partnership between two strong players in the market,”​ said Su Yanliang, chairman of Biohymn.

“Lesaffre and Biohymn have common prospects in future, and both respect environment protection and produce and promote green and healthy products.

“Along with our cooperation, we hope we can make greater contribution to poverty reduction in Inner Mongolia and local economic development.”

Lesaffre has had a foothold in Chinese market since the 1980’s with its Saf-Instant brand and industrially for more than 20 years.

In 1999, the group acquired a yeast plant in Ming Guang, 300km from Shanghai. A year later, new plants were commissioned in Guangxi in partnership with sugar producer Donta. It also acquired a majority shareholding in Guangxi Sungain Yeast Co. in 2015.

Today, Lesaffre has three production sites in China and operates four Baking Centers: in Shanghai, Hong-Kong, Beijing and Canton, which offer technical support, training and advice to its customers.

With Biohymn’s operation, Lesaffre will strengthen its presence and offering to Chinese customers, not only in baking and food taste & pleasure, but also in animal nutrition and health, and in nutriments for biotechnologies.

Yeast for mantou

“We have been present in China for many years and we want to work on long term. With this new significant investment, we are establishing our will to be close to our customers to offer them our products and services and fulfil their specific requirements,” ​said Antoine Baule, CEO of Lesaffre.

Mantou is a soft steamed bun popular in Northern China.

“We aim to answer to the increasing market demand, especially yeast for mantou.”

Jean-Philippe Poulin, president of Lesaffre’s China region, added, “This partnership between Lesaffre and Biohymn will create great synergy; our joined expertise will contribute to develop the main sugar production region in the north China. We will leverage the localisation of Biohymn to further develop the North China market by better serving bakery, animal health and nutrition and biotech markets.”

Family group Lesaffre – founded in Northern France in 1853 – has grown into a multinational and multicultural company, employing more than 10,000 people in 80 subsidiaries based in more than 50 countries, with an annual turnover of €2.2bn. The company employs more than 1,000 people in China.

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