Naturex buys majority stake in Chile Botanics

The acquisition of the quillaja extract specialist will help Naturex strengthen its Latin American presence

Plant based natural ingredients supplier Naturex has acquired a majority stake in Chile Botanics, a Chilean company specialised in the production and marketing of quillaja extracts. The investment, worth approximately US$3m, is said to fit the group's strategy of pursuing selective external growth opportunities using a collaborative approach in building equity positions. According to Naturex, this strategy allows it to address the main market trend related challenges: access to differentiating or complimentary raw materials, penetrating or strengthening local positions in geographical markets with strong potential and developing an offering combining quality, innovation and sustainability.

Chile Botanics will provide Naturex with an additional base in Latin America, where the company is already present in Brazil and Mexico, as well as access to very specific resources (quillaja) and a solid positioning as a specialist underpinned by the strong local management involvement.

Quillaja saponaria, the soap bark tree, has a dry bark that is rich in saponin and which has been used for centuries for its cleaning properties. In the cosmetics industry, quillaja extract is used as a surfactant for balms and creams, and as a foaming agent for emulsifiers and shampoos.

Chile Botanics sources quillaja sustainably with the agreement of the Chilean government and in accordance with environmental standards of the Chilean government forest agency (CONAF – Corporación Nacional Forestal). In this way, during harvest, only a part of the wood is pruned and the tree is preserved to guarantee sustainable use. Meanwhile, the extraction process developed by the founders of Chile Botanics makes it possible to obtain quillaja extract with different levels of purity to address different markets depending on the final applications.

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