Business India ×

Published on: Jan. 17, 2024, 2:17 p.m.
Robertet acquires Sonarome to spread fragrance
  • Bruhat: on a path to redefine industry standards

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

Amidst the bustling streets of Bengaluru, where the aroma of spices and the vibrant colours of the marketplaces paint a picture of India’s rich heritage, a significant business move took shape – one that would mark a shift in India’s natural ingredients market. The Robertet Group, France, a global leader in the realm of natural raw materials, acquired Sonarome, a leading Indian flavour company. While the deal size of the acquisition has not been disclosed, it has expanded global footprint of Robertet and marked its expansion into the burgeoning markets of India and South-east Asia and East Africa.

Sonarome has a consistent track record with more than €15 million in sales and a consistent double-digit growth over the past three years. The Bengaluru-based company, under the leadership of the Gulhati family since 1979, has carved a niche in the flavour industry with its innovative products and deep understanding of regional market trends. 

“For Robertet, the acquisition aligns seamlessly with our unique stance in the natural products sector,” says Jerome Bruhat, CEO, Robertet Group. “Sonarome’s local industrial strengths and their flavour expertise has given us the edge to emerge as a key player in these vibrant markets. It will set us on a path to redefine industry standards and generate enduring value for our customers and stakeholders across the globe. The acquisition will also deepen our roots in India and South East Asia and East Africa”.

For Sonarome, the integration of the latest technological achievements and expertise will usher in a new era of innovation and excellence. This advancement will enable the company to enhance its product offerings, streamline processes and reinforce its position as a leader in the fragrance and flavours (F&F) industry in India and other nearby markets. “The collaboration marks a new chapter in our journey, opening doors to innovative possibilities and allowing us to contribute to the rich global flavours,” says Nitesh Gulati, chairman & CEO, Sonarome Group. “Our combined strengths will exceed the evolving needs of our customers, and set new standards in the flavour industry.”

Since its creation in 1850, the Robertet Group has been under the control of the Maubert family. And, it is the only fragrance, flavour and ingredient company that is fully integrated throughout the entire creative process, from source to final fragrance or flavour. Jerome Bruhat, the first non-family CEO in Robertet’s history, oversees a unique blend of traditional family values and forward-thinking business acumen. Robertet holds the distinct position as a leading player in the F&F industry.

World leader in naturals

“We are number seven globally in terms of total turnover, but when it comes to naturals, we are the world leader,” he says. Robertet’s core business model revolves around sourcing over 1,300 natural ingredients from 60 countries and transforming them into exquisite essences and flavours.

  • None

    We are number seven globally in terms of total turnover, but when it comes to naturals, we are the world leader

Robertet is expanding into sophisticated and premium products in India and other markets due to the increasing demand for upscale, natural products. “The era of basic products is over. There is a growing appetite for sophisticated, unique products, especially in the F&F market,” notes Bruhat.

With 2,250 employees worldwide and a turnover of €703 million in 2022, Robertet has established a global presence. However, the company has a relatively smaller footprint in Asia, accounting for just 15 per cent of its business. “There is a substantial opportunity in Asia and, with the Sonarome acquisition, we aim to bridge this gap,” affirms Bruhat.

Robertet’s goal is clear: to maintain its core focus on F&F while continuing to innovate and lead in the natural products segment. Robertet aims for a turnover between €80 and €100 million in India by 2030. “Investing in creative, sales, and production capacities will be key for us in the coming years”, points out Bruhat. As the new chapter unfolds, Robertet’s increasing focus on India will leave an indelible mark in the global F&F industry.

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