It is likely that Graber, who will take over from Mike Davis in July 2006, will continue the Swiss firm's ongoing initiative of eliminating lower value-added ingredients both in fragrances and flavours in order to improve margins, which have been flat.
Overall flavour sector sales grew 1.3 per cent in local currencies and 2.5 per cent in Swiss Francs, with sales in the mature markets of North America and Western Europe showing little improvement at all.
The company says that division sales, in addition to the ongoing streamlining initiative, were also impacted by lower prices for natural vanilla.
Graber therefore comes to the post during a time of significant restructuring, though much of this will have been put in place when he assumes his position in July. For example, Givaudan has already successfully completed the transfer of the liquid and dry flavour production from Barneveld (Netherlands) to Dortmund (Germany) and Zurich (Switzerland). <<P>In addition, the French market commercial team has already been moved from Tremblay (France) to the newly refurbished facilities in Argenteuil (France).
And in August 2005, the final phase of the Savoury Development Centre in Kemptthal (Switzerland) was completed with the inauguration of a fully dedicated pilot plant, capable of handling a wide range of food manufacturing processes. The firm says that this will allow the development of flavours together with customers in a realistic setting.
Graber began his career with Tastemaker in 1995 as managing director for Latin America. Since that time he has been appointed to increasing roles of responsibility within the company, most recently as the head of Latin America, flavours.
Despite some difficulties, Givaudan continues to lead the industry with an estimated 13.5 per cent slice of the market in 2003, followed by US International Flavours & Fragrances with an 11.7 per cent share. Firmenich, equity-owned Symrise and ICI-owned flavours company Quest International are slated to have about 9.8, 9 and 6.1 per cent of the market respectively.
As a result, Givaudan is confident of its ability to sustain its leading market position and to deliver a strong performance in 2006.
Total group sales for 2005 reached CHF 2,778 million, reflecting an increase of 2.5 per cent in local currencies and a 3.6 per cent in Swiss Francs. Excluding the ongoing streamlining initiative, Givaudan says that sales would have grown by 3.5 per cent in local currencies, in line with Givaudan's objective to grow faster than the market.