EQT completes lucrative Symrise exit

EQT has sold its remaining stake in Symrise, a German flavouring business. With a total return of about €1.1 billion, the investment has proved to be one of the most successful European private equity deals to date.

Nordic private equity firm EQT has sold its remaining stake in German flavours and fragrance maker Symrise, taking its total realisation from the investment to more than €1 billion.

EQT retained a 15.9 percent stake after Symrise’s initial public offering in December 2006. This has now been sold for an estimated €384 million.

Symrise has risen 22 percent in value from its initial offer price of €17.25 per share. Its shares closed on €21.00 yesterday, giving the business a market capitalisation of €2.4 billion.

The company’s initial public offering last year was Germany’s biggest private equity exit in 2006. It raised €1.4 billion, of which EQT and its co-investors pocketed about €750 million.

Altogether EQT has now realised about €1.1 billion from the investment.

EQT created Symrise in 2002, buying Haarmann and Reimer from chemicals and pharmaceuticals group Bayer and subsequent merging it with Dragoco, a privately owned competitor, in a deal worth €1.7 billion ($2.3 billion). EQT was left with a 51 percent stake in the combined business.

Symrise has now developed into the fourth largest producer of flavours and fragrances worldwide.

Both EQT and Symrise were unavailable for comment.