It was the largest merger ever in the chemical industry: the amalgamation of the chemical giants DuPont and Dow in 2017. During this process, the divergent activities of both multinationals were originally amalgamated, after which they were split up again into three strong independent listed companies: DuPont (including specialised materials, electronic components, food ingredients and biotechnology), Dow (chemicals and materials) and Corteva (agricultural chemicals and seeds).
‘For us, it means that we belong to the Nutrition & Biosciences segment of the new DuPont,’ says Geert Florizoone, Plant Manager of DuPont in Bruges (Belgium). In this unit, the complementary expertise and skills of the former Nutrition & Health and Industrial Biosciences divisions are merged: the production of food enzymes, microbiome science relating to humans and animals, bio‑process technology and R&D. In 2018, DuPont earned revenues totalling $6.2 billion from these activities. The Nutrition & Biosciences customers are primarily active in special nutrition, health care, the pharmaceutical sector, household and personal care, animal nutrition and biotechnology.
Fermentation is key in Bruges. ‘We use it to make enzymes; bio-catalysts that are primarily used in animal nutrition and foods. For example, they are found in cattle feed, bread, beer, bioethanol and detergents.’
DuPont performs similar activities in Finland, China and America. The Bruges site offers some unique benefits due to its central location in Europe and the excellent logistics connections for the supply of raw materials. The fermentation branch is therefore growing and there are plans for the future expansion of the branch in a few years’ time, as soon as the uncertain economic and political factors on the global market have stabilised.
Why did DuPont as a billion-dollar company become a member of Flanders Biobased Valley (FBBV)? Florizoone: ‘The activities of other members of FBBV follow on from what we do, albeit often on a somewhat smaller scale. By establishing contacts with this organisation, we stay abreast of biotechnological developments in Flanders. This also provides prospects for potential collaboration in the form of projects.’
The FBBV membership also fits in with the new DuPont company culture, which more than ever before is outward oriented and is open to collaboration. The new logo reflects this openness as well: ‘It illustrates that we are open to collaboration with external parties and aim to integrate more influences and technological developments from the outside into our company.’
This article was created in cooperation with Flanders Biobased Valley