UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number 1-4858
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
521 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019-2960
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (212) 765-5500
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OF THE ACT:
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value 12 1/2¢ per share
New York Stock Exchange
6.00% Tangible Equity Units
New York Stock Exchange
0.500% Senior Notes due 2021
New York Stock Exchange
1.750% Senior Notes due 2024
New York Stock Exchange
1.800% Senior Notes due 2026
New York Stock Exchange
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(g) OF THE ACT:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by checkmark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No þ
The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was $15,491,883,187 as of June 30, 2019.
As of February 26, 2020, there were 106,802,194 shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value 12 1/2¢ per share, outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s proxy statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the “IFF 2020 Proxy Statement”) are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In this report, we use the terms “IFF,” “the Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” to refer to International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. and its subsidiaries.
We are a leading innovator of sensory experiences that move the world. Our creative capabilities, global footprint, regulatory and technological know-how provide us a competitive advantage in meeting the demands of our global, regional and local customers around the world. The 2018 acquisition of Frutarom solidified our position as an industry leader across an expanded portfolio of products, resulting in a broader customer base across small, mid-sized and large companies and an expansion to new adjacencies that provides a platform for significant cross-selling opportunities.
Our product portfolio covers taste, scent and complementary adjacent products, and we have over 128,000 individual products that are provided to customers in approximately 200 countries. Our global manufacturing footprint allows us to optimize our supply chain and support our global and regional customers. As of December 31, 2019, we had 104 manufacturing facilities and 82 creative centers and application laboratories located in 44 different countries. We currently anticipate that we will continue to optimize our global facilities footprint as we seek opportunities to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver value to our global and regional customers.
Sales in 2019 were approximately $5.1 billion which, management believes, makes us the second largest company in the taste, scent, nutrition and specialty ingredient industry. During the past few years, we have diversified our customer base and leveraged our technical expertise to significantly expand our global small and mid-sized customer base through acquisitions, including, Frutarom, and the development of Tastepoint. Based on 2019 sales, of our approximately 38,000 customers, approximately 35% are global consumer products companies and approximately 65% are small and mid-sized companies. During 2019, our 25 largest customers accounted for 38% of our sales. In 2019, no customer accounted for more than 10% of sales.
Our business is geographically diverse, with sales in the U.S. representing approximately 20% of sales in 2019. No other country represents more than 6% of sales. We believe that more significant future growth potential for taste and scent, and for our business, exists in the emerging markets (which we classify as all markets except North America, Japan, Australia, and Western, Southern and Northern Europe). As a result, we intend to continue to build on our multi-decade experience in the emerging markets. As our customers seek to grow their businesses in emerging markets, we provide them the ability to leverage our long-standing international presence and extensive market knowledge to help drive their brands in these markets.
For the periods presented in this Form 10-K, our business was organized in three segments: Taste, Scent and Frutarom. Beginning in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, we are operating our business across two segments, Taste and Scent. As part of this new operating model, nearly all of the former Frutarom business segment was combined with the Taste segment. The financial results presented in this Form 10-K reflect the Taste, Scent and legacy Frutarom business segments prior to the realignment.
Vision 2021 and Frutarom Integration Initiative
Following the acquisition of Frutarom, we developed a new strategy, Vision 2021, targeting accelerated revenue and profitability growth. Vision 2021 has four "pillars":
•Unlocking growth opportunities - capitalizing on our expanded product portfolio, broader customer base and extensive geographic presence as well as cross-selling and integrated solutions
•Driving innovation - investing in high-growth and high-return platforms to continue to drive our research and development pipeline and accelerate long-term growth
•Managing the Portfolio - focusing on optimizing our portfolio to maximize value creation
•Accelerating Business Transformation - successfully integrating Frutarom while delivering on synergy targets and achieving productivity gains across the business base.
At the same time, we have been executing on our Frutarom integration plan to build our go-to-market business model by replicating the Tastepoint blueprint across certain markets, clarify roles and responsibilities and, thereby, accelerate decision-making through a series of organizational changes primarily aimed at driving cost synergies in the manufacturing and creative networks, procurement and overhead functions.
Pending Transaction with Nutrition & Biosciences, Inc.
On December 15, 2019, the Company entered into definitive agreements with DuPont de Nemours, Inc. (“DuPont”), including an Agreement and Plan of Merger, pursuant to which DuPont will transfer its nutrition and biosciences business (the “N&B Business”) to Nutrition & Biosciences, Inc., a Delaware corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont (“N&B”), and N&B will merge with and into a wholly owned subsidiary of IFF in exchange for a number of shares of IFF common stock, par value $0.125 per share (“IFF Common Stock”) (collectively, the “DuPont N&B Transaction”). In connection with the transaction, DuPont will receive a one-time $7.3 billion special cash payment (the “Special Cash Payment”), subject to certain adjustments. As a result of the DuPont N&B Transaction, holders of DuPont’s common stock will own approximately 55.4% of the outstanding shares of IFF on a fully diluted basis. We believe that the combination of IFF and the N&B Business will create a global leader in high-value ingredients and solutions in the global Food & Beverage, Home & Personal Care and Health & Wellness markets. We expect that the companies' complementary product portfolios will give the combined company leadership positions across key Taste, Texture, Scent, Nutrition, Enzymes, Cultures, Soy Proteins and Probiotics categories.
Completion of the DuPont N&B Transaction is subject to various closing conditions, including, among other things, (1) approval by IFF’s shareholders of the issuance of IFF Common Stock in connection with the transaction; (2) the effectiveness of the registration statements to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Merger Agreement; and (3) the expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and obtaining certain other consents, authorizations, orders or approvals from governmental authorities. We expect that the transaction will close in early 2021.
Our Product Offerings
As a leading creator of flavor offerings, we help our customers deliver on the promise of delicious and healthy foods and drinks that appeal to consumers. While we are a global leader, our Taste business is more regional in nature, with different formulas that reflect local taste preferences. Consequently, we manage our Taste business geographically, creating products in our regional creative centers which allow us to satisfy local taste preferences, while also helping to ensure regulatory compliance and production standards. We develop thousands of different flavors and taste offerings for our customers, most of which are tailor-made. We continually develop new formulas to meet changing consumer preferences and customer needs.
Our Taste business comprises a diversified portfolio across flavor compounds, savory solutions, inclusions and nutrition and specialty ingredients. The savory solutions compounds, inclusions and nutrition and specialty ingredients products were included in the legacy Frutarom businesses during 2019 and we will begin reporting them under the Taste business segment in 2020.
Flavor Compounds. Our flavor compounds provide unique flavors that are ultimately used by our customers in savory products (soups, sauces, meat, fish, poultry, snacks, etc.), beverages (juice drinks, carbonated or flavored beverages, spirits, etc.), sweets (bakery products, candy, cereal, chewing gum, etc.), and dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc.).
Savory Solutions. Savory solutions include marinades or powder blends of flavors, natural colors, seasonings, functional ingredients and natural anti-oxidants that are primarily designed for the meat and fish industry.
Inclusions. Inclusions provide taste and texture by, among other things, combining flavorings with fruit, vegetables, and other natural ingredients for a wide range of food products, such as health snacks, baked goods, cereals, pastries, ice cream and other dairy products.
Nutrition and Specialty Ingredients. Our nutrition and specialty ingredients primarily consist of natural health ingredients, natural food protection, natural colors and flavor ingredients. Natural health ingredients include natural ingredients derived from plants and herbs, which provide, or are perceived as providing, health benefits. These ingredients are used in dietary supplements, functional food, infant and elderly nutrition, cosmetics, personal care and other over-the-counter products. Natural food protection ingredients consist of natural antioxidants and anti-microbials used for natural food preservation and shelf life extension to beverages, cosmetic and healthcare products, and pet food and feed additives. These ingredients reduce the oxidative deterioration and/or microbiology load that leads to rancidity or loss of flavor, color, and nutritional value. Natural colors comprise a wide array of natural colors and fruit and vegetable concentrates for food, beverage, and cosmetics.
Flavor Ingredients. The flavor ingredients market includes natural flavor extracts, specialty botanical extracts, distillates, essential oils, citrus products, aroma chemicals, and natural gums and resins. Such ingredients are used for food, beverage, and flavors and are often sold directly to food and beverage manufacturers who use them in producing consumer products.
Our global Scent business creates fragrance compounds and fragrance ingredients that are integral elements in the world’s finest perfumes and best-known household and personal care products. We believe our unique portfolio of natural and synthetic ingredients, global footprint, innovative technologies and know-how, deep consumer insight and customer intimacy make us a market leader in scent.
Our Scent business is a vertically integrated operation, originating in our research facilities with the development of natural, synthetic and proprietary molecules and innovative delivery systems, progressing to our creative centers, application laboratories and consumer insight teams where our perfumers partner with our customers to create unique fragrance compounds for use in a variety of end-use products. Finally, we produce these products in our manufacturing facilities in a consistent, high-quality and cost-effective manner. We also produce cosmetic active and functional ingredients for use in cosmetics. By providing our fragrance development teams with an extensive portfolio of innovative, high-quality and effective ingredients to support their creativity, we are able to provide our customers with a unique identity for their brands. These ingredients or fragrance compounds can then be combined with our innovative delivery systems which are key differentiators in the growth of our consumer fragrance portfolio. In September 2019, we opened our new Home & Fabric Care Innovation Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, a 60,000 square-foot research and development hub, to further drive innovation in our home care and fabric care categories, including digital olfaction technology, immersive virtual reality scent experiences, and the latest generation of encapsulation technology.
Fragrance Compounds. Fragrance compounds are unique and proprietary combinations of multiple ingredients that are ultimately used by our customers in their consumer goods. Our creative and commercial teams within fragrance compounds are organized into two broad categories, fine fragrances and consumer fragrances.
Our fine fragrances focus on perfumes and colognes. Our scientists and perfumers collaborate to develop new molecules, new natural extractions, and innovative processes to create unique, inspiring fragrances. We have created some of the industry-leading fine fragrance classics as well as cutting-edge niche fragrances, as evidenced by the number of top sellers and award winners.
Our consumer fragrances include five end-use categories of products:
•Fabric Care, including laundry detergents, fabric softeners and specialty laundry products;
•Home Care, including household cleaners, dishwashing detergents and air fresheners;
•Personal Wash, including bar soaps and shower gels;
•Hair Care, including shampoos and conditioners; and
•Toiletries, including deodorants and shaving creams.
Ingredients. Fragrance ingredients consists of natural and synthetic, of active and functional ingredients that are used internally and sold to third parties, including competitors, for use in preparation of compounds. While the principal role of our fragrance ingredients facilities is to support our fragrance compounds business, we utilize our excess manufacturing capacity to manufacture and sell certain fragrance ingredients to third parties. We believe that this business allows us to leverage our fixed costs while maintaining the security of supply for our perfumers and ultimately our customers. Fragrance ingredients available for sale to third parties include innovative ingredients that leverage our manufacturing experience as well as a limited amount of cost-competitive, commodity ingredients. Fragrance ingredients also includes our cosmetic active and functional ingredients, which provide biologists and cosmetic chemists with innovative solutions to address cosmetic challenges such as skin aging and hair protection. With approximately 1,800 separate fragrance and active and functional ingredients, plus additional botanicals and delivery systems, we believe we are a leader in the industry with the breadth of our product portfolio.
During 2019, our Frutarom business created and manufactured a broad suite of flavor compounds and specialty fine ingredients, largely targeting small, local and regional customers. As noted above, beginning in fiscal year 2020, our business segments have been realigned such that nearly all of the Frutarom business segment will combine with our Taste business. The financial results presented in this Form 10-K reflect the Scent, Taste and Frutarom business segments prior to the realignment.
Consumer Insights, Research and Product Development Process
The markets in which we compete require constant innovation to stay ahead of the curve and to be competitive. Consumer preferences tend to drive change in our markets, and as science evolves and sustainability continues to be a key factor to customers and consumers, we must continue to strengthen our research and development platforms and adapt our capabilities to provide differentiated products to our customers.
We believe that the first step to creating an innovative and unique flavor or fragrance experience begins with gaining insight into the consumer and emerging trends. By developing a deep understanding of what consumers value and prefer through our consumer insight programs, we are better able to focus our research and development and creative efforts.
Our consumer science, insight and marketing teams interpret trends, monitor product launches, analyze quantitative market data, and conduct numerous consumer interviews annually. Our sensory experts direct research programs exploring topics such as fragrance performance, the psychophysics of sensory perception (including chemesthetic properties such as warming, cooling, and tingling), the genetic basis for flavor and fragrance preference, and the effects of aromas on mood, performance, health, and well-being.
Based on this information, we develop innovative and proprietary programs to evaluate potential products that enable us to understand the emotional connections between a prospective product and the consumer. We believe this ability to pinpoint the likelihood of a product’s success translates into stronger brand equity, resulting in increased returns and greater market share gains for our customers as well as for IFF.
Research and Development
We consider our research and development infrastructure to be one of our key competencies and critical to our ability to provide differentiated products to our customers. We focus and invest substantial resources in the research and development of new and innovative molecules, compounds, formulas and technologies and the application of these to our customers’ products. Using the knowledge gained from our consumer insights programs, we strategically focus our resources around key research and development platforms that address or anticipate consumer needs or preferences. By aligning our capabilities and resources to these platforms, we ensure the proper support and focus for each program so that it can be further developed and eventually accepted for commercial application.
We have been granted 415 patents in the United States since 2000 and we have developed many unique molecules and delivery systems for our customers that are used as the foundations of successful flavors and fragrances around the world.
We have traditionally conducted our principal basic research and development activities in Union Beach, New Jersey, where we employ scientists and application engineers who collaborate with our other research and development centers around the world, to support the:
•discovery of new materials;
•development of new technologies, such as delivery systems;
•creation of new compounds; and
•enhancement of existing ingredients and compounds.
We also have key basic research and development centers in Tilburg, the Netherlands, Neuilly and Grasse, France, and Nanjing, China. As of December 31, 2019, we employed approximately 2,300 people globally in research and development activities.
Our ingredients research program discovers molecules found in natural substances and creates new molecules that are subsequently tested for their sensorial value. To broaden our offerings of natural, innovative and unique products, we seek collaborations with research institutions and other companies throughout the world. We have established a number of such collaborations to strengthen our innovation pipeline. We may also consider acquiring companies that could provide access to new technologies.
The development of new and customized flavor and fragrance compounds is a complex process calling upon the combined knowledge of our scientists, flavorists and perfumers. Scientists from various disciplines work in project teams with flavorists and perfumers to develop flavor and fragrance compounds with consumer preferred performance characteristics. The development of new flavor and fragrance compounds requires (i) an in-depth knowledge of the flavor and fragrance
characteristics of the various ingredients we use, (ii) an understanding of how the many ingredients in a consumer product interact and (iii) the creation of controlled release and delivery systems to enhance flavor and fragrance performance. To facilitate this process, we have a scientific advisory board that provides external perspectives and independent feedback on our research and development and sustainability initiatives.
Through our global network of creative centers and application laboratories, we create or adapt the basic flavors or fragrances compounds that we have developed in the research and development process to commercialize for use in our customers’ consumer products. Our global creative teams consist of perfumers, fragrance evaluators and flavorists, as well as marketing, consumer science, consumer insights, and technical application experts, from a wide range of cultures and nationalities. In close partnership with our customers’ product development groups, our creative teams create the sensory experiences that our customers are seeking in order to satisfy consumer demands in each of their markets.
New flavor and fragrance development is driven by a variety of sources including requests from our customers, who are in need of specific flavors and fragrances for use in a new or modified consumer product, or as a result of internal initiatives stemming from our consumer insights program. Our product development team works in partnership with our scientists and researchers to optimize the consumer appeal and relevance of our flavors and fragrances. A collaborative process between our researchers, our product development team and our customers then follows to perfect the flavors and fragrances, so they are ready to be included in the final consumer product.
In addition to creating new flavors and fragrances, our researchers and product development teams advise customers on ways to improve their existing products by moderating or substituting current ingredients with more readily accessible or less expensive materials enhancing their yield. This often results in creating a better value proposition for our customers.
Our flavors and fragrances compound formulas are treated as trade secrets and remain our proprietary assets. Our business is not materially dependent upon any individual patent, trademark or license.
We strive to provide our customers with consistent quality products on a timely and cost-effective basis by managing all aspects of the supply chain, from raw material sourcing through manufacturing, quality assurance, regulatory compliance and distribution.
In connection with the manufacture of compounds, we use natural ingredients and, primarily in our fragrance compounds, synthetic ingredients. We purchase approximately 23,000 different raw materials from an extensive network of domestic and international suppliers and distributors.
With the acquisition of Frutarom, we significantly increased our natural products and therefore the percentage of our ingredients that are natural or crop-related has increased. Natural ingredients are derived from flowers, fruits and other botanical products, as well as from animal products, and contain varying numbers of organic chemicals that are responsible for the fragrance or flavor of the natural product. Natural products are purchased in processed or semi-processed form. Some are used in compounds in the state in which they are obtained and others are used after further processing. Natural products, together with various chemicals, are also used as raw materials for the manufacture of synthetic ingredients by chemical processes. Our flavor products also include extracts and seasonings derived from various fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices, and microbiologically-derived ingredients.
In order to ensure our supply of raw materials, achieve favorable pricing and provide timely transparency regarding inflationary trends to our customers, we continue to be focused on:
•purchasing under contract with fixed or formula based pricing for set time periods;
•entering into supplier relationships to gain access to supplies and available capacity that we do not have;
•implementing indexed pricing;
•reducing the complexity of our formulations; and
•evaluating whether it is more profitable to buy or make an ingredient
•local country sourcing with our own procurement professionals.
Manufacturing and Distribution
As of December 31, 2019, we had 186 manufacturing facilities and creative centers and application laboratories located in 44 different countries. Our major manufacturing facilities are located in the United States, the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Slovenia, China, India, and Singapore. Based on the regional nature of the Taste business and the concerns regarding the fragile nature of transporting raw materials, we have typically established smaller manufacturing facilities in our local markets that are focused on local needs. Products within the Scent business are typically composed of compounds that are more stable and more transportable around the world. Consequently, we have fewer manufacturing facilities within our Scent business, which produce compounds and ingredients for global distribution.
In connection with the integration of Frutarom, we have undertaken to optimize our global operations footprint to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver value to our global customers. As part of this effort, we expect to close approximately 35 manufacturing sites over the next two years with most of the closures targeted to occur before the end of fiscal 2020. During 2019, the Company announced the closure of 10 facilities, of which six facilities are in Europe, Africa and Middle East, one facility in each North America, Greater Asia and Latin America regions.
Our supply chain initiatives are focused on increasing capacity and investments in key technologies. Within our more mature markets, we tend to focus on consolidation and cost optimization as well as implementing new technologies. In addition to our own manufacturing facilities, we develop relationships with third parties, including contract manufacturing organizations, that permit us to expand access to the technologies, capabilities and capacity that we need to better serve our customers.
Over the past several years, we have redefined the way we envision sustainability. Moving from the traditional “take-make-dispose” model, we have embraced the circular economy model - one that is restorative and regenerative by design, which we believe is key in safeguarding the wellbeing of our consumers, the health of our planet and the integrity of our business.
Customers and consumers want to know if the products they are purchasing are responsibly sourced and environmentally conscious. Our sustainability vision and strategy are designed to meet these global trends, and we are committed to making real progress happen at every opportunity. Following the Frutarom acquisition, we are working on assessing our combined environmental footprint with the intent of identifying synergies, gaps and opportunities in our sustainability efforts and upgrading the legacy Frutarom operations to better align them with the legacy IFF sustainability practices.
In line with our Vision 2021 strategy and our goal of redefining how we live in and care for the resources of our world, our sustainability goals include:
•Reducing Our Environmental Footprint - we will seek to leverage synergies and manage our combined footprint to reduce our environmental impact.
•Strengthening Responsible Sourcing - we will continue to assess our supply chain and seek to increase sustainable sourcing across our combined supply base.
•Driving Sustainable Innovation - we will seek to embed sustainability into our products and processes.
•Embracing People and Communities - we will seek to create a culture of diversity and inclusiveness while giving back to the communities where we source and operate.
In 2019, we were recognized for our sustainability efforts with the 2019 “Industry Mover” award from SAM, a subsidiary of RobecoSAM which specializes in providing environmental, social and governance (ESG) data, benchmarks and ratings. The award acknowledges IFF’s top-scoring performance in economic, social and environmental categories. We also reconfirmed our commitment to mitigate climate change by signing the United Nation’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C: Our Only Future pledge, committing to set science-based emissions targets to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In addition, among other distinctions, we were named to Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies List for the second consecutive year, recognizing our exceptional environmental, social and corporate governance performance.
For more detailed information about our sustainability programs and performance, please refer to our annual sustainability report.
We develop, produce and market our products in a number of jurisdictions around the world and are subject to federal, regional and local legislation and regulations in each of the various countries. Our products, which among other industries, are intended for use in food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, are subject to strict quality and regulatory standards. As a result, we in turn are required to meet these strict standards which, in recent years, have become increasingly stringent and affect both existing as well as new products.
Our products and operations are subject to regulation by governmental agencies in each of the markets in which we operate. These agencies include (1) the Food and Drug Administration and equivalent international agencies that regulate flavors and other ingredients in consumer products, (2) the Environmental Protection Agency and equivalent international agencies that regulate our manufacturing facilities, (3) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and equivalent international agencies that regulate the working conditions in our manufacturing, research laboratories and creative centers, (4) local and international agencies that regulate trade and customs, (5) the Drug Enforcement Administration and other local or international agencies that regulate controlled chemicals that we use in our operations and (6) the Chemical Registration/Notification authorities that regulate chemicals that we use in, or transport to, the various countries in which we manufacture and/or market our products. We have seen an increase in registration and reporting requirements concerning the use of certain chemicals in a number of countries, such as Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) regulations in the European Union, as well as similar regulations in other countries. In addition, the acquisition of Frutarom introduced business adjacencies which broaden the landscape of regulatory compliance requirements applicable to IFF.
In addition, we are subject to various rules relating to health, work safety and the environment at the local and international levels in the various countries in which we operate. Our manufacturing facilities throughout the world are subject to environmental standards relating to air emissions, sewage discharges, the use of hazardous materials, waste disposal practices and clean-up of existing environmental contamination. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the stringency of environmental regulation and enforcement of environmental standards, and the costs of compliance have risen significantly, a trend we expect will continue in the future.
The markets for taste and scent are part of a larger market that supplies a wide variety of ingredients and compounds used in consumer products. The broader market includes functional foods and food additives, including seasonings, texturizers, spices, enzymes, certain food-related commodities, and fortified products as well as nutritional ingredients, supplements and active cosmetic ingredients.
The global market for taste and scent has expanded consistently, primarily as a result of an increase in demand for, and an increase in the variety of, consumer products containing flavors and fragrances.
The market for taste and scent is highly competitive. Based on annual sales, our main competitors consist of (1) the three other large global flavor and fragrance manufacturers, Givaudan, Firmenich and Symrise, (2) mid-sized companies, (3) numerous regional and local manufacturers and (4) consumer product companies who may develop their own flavors or fragrances.
We believe that our ability to compete successfully in the flavors and fragrances sub-market is based on:
•our in-depth understanding of consumers,
•innovation and technological advances from our research and development activities and our perfumers and flavorists,
•our ability to tailor products to customers’ needs,
•our ability to manufacture products on a global scale, and
•broad-based regulatory capabilities.
Large multi-national customers and, increasingly, mid-sized customers, may limit the number of their suppliers by placing some on “core lists,” giving them priority for development and production of their new or modified products. To compete more successfully in this environment, we must make continued investments in customer relationships and tailor our research and development efforts to anticipate customers’ needs, provide effective service and secure and maintain inclusion on these “core lists.”
Private label manufacturers, mostly medium-sized, local or small food manufacturers, constitute a growing segment in the flavor market. Over the last decade, with the strengthening of supermarket chains, online platforms and growing consumer price consciousness, demand and consumption of private label products has grown at a faster rate than the brand food industry rate. We believe that new business opportunities will continue to arise from these clients as they are increasing their demand for products that are similar to existing products in the market, distinctive premium products, as well as more innovative products.
The global demand for functional foods, food additives, natural ingredients, nutritional ingredients and supplements and active cosmetic ingredients is also growing. With our recent acquisitions, we have expanded our offerings to include products within the functional food ingredient market, including ingredients focused on improving the health and wellness characteristics of a consumer good, the nutritional supplement and infant nutrition markets and the cosmetic actives market. While the three other large global flavor and fragrance manufacturers, Givaudan, Firmenich and Symrise, are active in these areas, we also compete with specialty chemical companies, other large multi-national companies and smaller regional and local participants that offer products that address these same needs.
The success of our business is built on our talented employees. Our global team uses the latest science, insights, research, creative thinking and customer understanding to develop products that make an impact with customers and consumers across the world. At December 31, 2019, we had approximately 13,600 employees worldwide, of whom approximately 2,000 are employed in the United States. We believe that relations with our employees are good.
Availability of Reports
We make available free of charge on or through the “Investors” link on our website, www.iff.com, all materials that we file electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing such materials with, or furnishing them to, the SEC. During the period covered by this Form 10-K, we made all such materials available through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after filing such materials with the SEC.
The SEC maintains an Internet website, www.sec.gov, that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information that we file electronically with the SEC.
A copy of our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and the charters of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board of Directors are posted on the “Investors” section of our website, www.iff.com.
Our principal executive offices are located at 521 West 57th Street, New York, New York 10019 (212-765-5500).
Executive Officers of Registrant
The current executive officers of the Company, as of March 3, 2020, are listed below.
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Richard A. O'Leary
Executive Vice President, Integration Officer
Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Scent
Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Taste
Executive Vice President, Chief Global Scientific & Sustainability Officer
Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Executive Vice President, Operations
Andreas Fibig has served as our Chairman since December 2014 and Chief Executive Officer since September 2014. Mr. Fibig has been a member of our Board of Directors since 2011. From 2008 to 2014, Mr. Fibig served as President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical division of Bayer AG. Prior to Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Fibig held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at Pfizer Inc., a research-based
pharmaceutical company, including as Senior Vice President in the US Pharmaceutical Operations group from 2007 through 2008 and as President, Latin America, Africa and Middle East from 2006 through 2007.
Rustom Jilla has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since January 2020. From July 2015 to January 2020, Mr. Jilla served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc., a distributor of metalworking and maintenance repair operations, products and services. From April 2013 to September 2014, Mr. Jilla served as CFO for Dematic Group, a European based global provider of warehouse logistics and inventory management solutions. Prior to that Mr. Jilla was CFO of Ansell Limited, an Australian-listed global leader in protective solutions from September 2002 to April 2013. Before that, Mr. Jilla held various leadership positions in finance and product management at PerkinElmer Inc. and The BOC Group, a British public multinational industrial gas company, in the U.S. and New Zealand. He began his career in auditing with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Sri Lanka.
Richard A. O'Leary has served as our Executive Vice President and Integration Officer since January 2020. Previously, Mr. O’Leary served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since October 2016. Mr. O’Leary originally joined our Company in July 2007. Mr. O’Leary was our Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer from July 2015 until his appointment as Chief Financial Officer, and served as our Vice President and Controller from May 2009 to November 2014. Mr. O’Leary served as our Interim Chief Financial Officer from November 2014 to July 2015 and from July 2008 to May 2009. Mr. O’Leary was also our Vice President, Corporate Development from July 2007 to May 2009. Prior to joining our Company, Mr. O’Leary held various positions at International Paper Co., a paper and packaging company, which he originally joined in 1986, including Chief Financial Officer of International Paper Company (Brazil) from June 2004 to June 2007. Prior to International Paper Co., Mr. O’Leary was with Arthur Young & Co.
Nicolas Mirzayantz has served as our Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Scent since October 2018. Mr. Mirzayantz originally joined our Company in 1988 and was our Group President, Fragrances from January 2007 to October 2018. Mr. Mirzayantz also served as a member of our Temporary Office of the Chief Executive Officer from October 1, 2009 until February 2010, our Senior Vice President, Fine Fragrance and Beauty Care and Regional Manager, North America from March 2005 to December 2006, our Senior Vice President, Fine Fragrance and Beauty Care from October 2004 to February 2005, and our Vice President Global Fragrance Business Development from February 2002 to September 2004.
Matthias Haeni has served as our Divisional Chief Executive Officer, Taste since October 2018. Mr. Haeni joined our Company in 2007 as Regional General Manager, Flavors Greater Asia and was our Group President, Flavors from April 2014 to October 2018. In 2010, Mr. Haeni transferred to Hilversum, The Netherlands where he served as Regional General Manager for Flavors in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (“EAME”). Prior to joining our Company, Mr. Haeni was based in Singapore as Givaudan’s Vice President of Commercial Flavors, Southeast Asia Pacific and held similar positions throughout EAME.
Gregory Yep has served as our Executive Vice President, Chief Global Scientific & Sustainability Officer since June 2016. Prior to joining our Company, Dr. Yep was Senior Vice President of Research, Development & Applications with The Kerry Group from January 2015 to June 2016. Prior to The Kerry Group, Dr. Yep was Senior Vice President of R&D at PepsiCo from June 2009 to December 2015 and was Global Vice President, Application Technologies at Givaudan Flavors and Fragrances from December 2005 to June 2009. Earlier in his career, Dr. Yep was at McCormick & Company, where he held executive roles of increasing responsibility in food science. Dr. Yep holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and master’s degree and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University.
Susana Suarez-Gonzalez has served as our Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer since November 2016. Prior to joining our Company, Ms. Gonzalez was Senior Vice President, Global Operations & Centers Expertise, Human Resources of Fluor Corporation from 2014 to 2016. Ms. Gonzalez began her career at Fluor Corporation in 1991, and during her 25 years with the company, she held various leadership positions across several business groups and functions including construction, marketing, sales, project engineering and human resources.
Anne Chwat has served as our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since August 2015 and as our Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary from April 2011 to August 2015. Prior to joining our Company, Ms. Chwat served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Burger King Holdings, Inc., a fast food hamburger restaurant company, from September 2004 to April 2011. From September 2000 to September 2004, Ms. Chwat held various positions at BMG Music (now Sony Music Entertainment), including Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.
Francisco Fortanet has served as our Executive Vice President, Operations since August 2015 and as Senior Vice President, Operations from February 27, 2012 to August 2015. In 2018, he was named Frutarom Integration lead. Mr. Fortanet joined our Company in 1995, and has served as our Vice President, Global Manufacturing Compounding from January 2007 to February 2012, our Vice President, Global Manufacturing from January 2006 to January 2007, our Regional Director of North America Operations from December 2003 to January 2005, the Project Manager of a special project in Ireland from May 2003
to December 2003, and as our Plant Manager in Hazlet, New Jersey from October 1999 to May 2003. Mr. Fortanet started his career in IFF-Mexico.
We routinely encounter and address risks in conducting our business. Some of these risks may cause our future results to be different - sometimes materially different - than we presently anticipate. Below are material risks we have identified that could adversely affect our business. How we react to material future developments, as well as how our competitors and customers react to those developments, could also affect our future results.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We may not realize all the benefits anticipated from the Frutarom acquisition, which could adversely affect our business.
The success of the Frutarom acquisition ultimately depends on our ability to realize anticipated benefits from the transaction. Since the Frutarom acquisition, we have benefited from, and expect to continue to benefit from cost synergies through global footprint optimization across manufacturing, the realization of significant procurement synergies plus organizational and operational efficiencies in overhead expenses. We also expect to achieve revenue synergies by leveraging customer relationships across a much broader customer base and cross-selling legacy IFF and Frutarom technology and capabilities. If we fail to realize all the benefits that we expect to achieve from the Frutarom acquisition, our business could be adversely affected.
The integration of our legacy IFF business and Frutarom’s business is a costly and time-consuming process, and we may face significant implementation challenges that will impact our ability to realize the expected benefits from the acquisition, including without limitation:
•potential disruption of, or reduced growth in, our historical core businesses, due to diversion of management attention as well as financial and other resources from our historical core business and uncertainty with our current customer and supplier relationships;
•loss of business as a result of changes in customer and/or competitor behaviors following the Frutarom acquisition, including our inability to keep certain customer accounts of Frutarom who may be direct competitors to IFF, or our need to deprioritize our business activities in certain markets based on market conditions;
•difficulties in achieving anticipated cost savings, synergies, business opportunities and growth prospects;
•challenges arising from the expansion of our product offerings into adjacencies with which we have limited experience, including functional foods and nutrition;
•the possibility of faulty assumptions underlying expectations regarding the integration;
•coordinating and integrating research and development teams across technologies and products to enhance product development while reducing costs;
•coordinating sales and marketing efforts to effectively position our capabilities and the direction of product development;
•ensuring regulatory compliance, quality. safety and sustainability standards across an organization of increased scale and complexity;
•retaining and efficiently managing our significantly expanded and decentralized customer base;
•the assumption of and exposure to unknown or contingent liabilities of Frutarom;
•unanticipated issues or higher than expected costs in consolidating and integrating corporate, information technology, finance and administrative infrastructures, and integrating and harmonizing business systems;
•combining and optimizing our manufacturing facilities and global supply chain as well as leveraging customer relationships for cross-selling opportunities;
•aligning compliance, quality, as well as safety and sustainability standards across operations;
•aligning processes, policies, procedures, technologies, operations, employee benefits, information technologies and systems across operations;
•difficulties in managing a larger and more complex combined company, addressing differences in business culture and retaining key personnel; and
•managing tax costs or inefficiencies associated with integrating the operations of the combined company.
Some of these factors are outside of our control and any one of them if not successfully managed could result in increased costs and diversion of management’s time and energy, as well as reputational harm and decreases in the amount of expected revenue which could materially impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. If the anticipated benefits from the Frutarom acquisition are not fully realized, or take longer to realize than expected, the value of our common stock, revenues, levels of expenses and results of operations may be adversely affected.
The Frutarom acquisition resulted, and may continue to result, in significant costs, charges or other liabilities that could adversely affect the financial results of the combined company.
Following the acquisition of Frutarom, our financial results were adversely affected by restructuring charges, cash expenses and non-cash accounting charges incurred in connection with the acquisition. We expect to record total pretax restructuring charges related to the Frutarom acquisition of approximately $65 million, of which $10.4 million have been recorded since closing of the transaction through December 31, 2019, comprised of approximately $6.1 million of severance and related benefit costs; $0.5 million of asset write-downs and write-offs; and $3.7 million of costs associated with exit and disposal activities. In addition, there are many processes, policies, procedures, operations, technologies and systems that are being integrated across our organization that will result in costs, including financial advisory, tax, information technology, legal, consulting and other professional advisory fees associated with these integration activities. Costs and expenses incurred in connection with the integration limit resources that may otherwise be available for investment in research and development and capital expenditures.
As a result of the acquisition, we assumed all of Frutarom’s liabilities, including unknown and contingent liabilities. Due to the nature of the transaction and the characteristics of Frutarom, our ability to conduct extensive due diligence was limited and we may subsequently identify unknown liabilities, including those that Frutarom assumed in its prior acquisitions that are not currently probable or estimable. Prior to our acquisition, Frutarom completed 47 acquisitions since 2011, including 22 since the beginning of 2016. If we do not properly assess the scope of these liabilities or if these liabilities are neither probable nor estimable at this time, our future financial results could be adversely affected by unanticipated reserves or charges, unexpected litigation or regulatory exposure, unfavorable accounting charges, unexpected increases in taxes due, a loss of anticipated tax benefits or other adverse effects on our business, operating results or financial condition.
We may fail to realize the expected cost savings and increased efficiencies from or stay within our estimated costs of the Frutarom integration and our ongoing optimization of our manufacturing facilities may not be as effective as we anticipate.
Our ability to realize anticipated cost savings and synergies from the Frutarom manufacturing rationalization may be affected by a variety of factors which may impose significant risks to us and which may be out of our control, including:
•our ability to accurately estimate costs in multiple jurisdictions related to the consolidation, updating or closing of manufacturing facilities;
•our ability to successfully and efficiently manufacture the relocated product lines at a different manufacturing facility;
•our ability to effectively reduce overhead and integrate and retain employees of the relocated operations;
•difficulties in implementing and maintaining consistent standards, controls, procedures, policies and information systems;
•integrating newly acquired manufacturing, distribution and technology facilities;
•potential strains on our personnel, systems and resources and diversion of attention from other priorities; and
•unforeseen or contingent liabilities of the relocated operations, including tax liabilities.
Actual charges, costs and adjustments arising from these activities may vary materially from our estimates, and may require cash and non-cash integration and implementation costs or charges in excess of forecasted amounts, which could offset any such savings and other synergies and therefore could have an adverse effect on our margins.
Furthermore, as part of our ongoing strategy, we seek to enhance our manufacturing efficiency and align our geographic manufacturing footprint with our expectations of future growth and technology needs. For example, we are in the process of relocating one of our Fragrance Ingredients facilities in China and constructing new facilities in India and Indonesia. In addition, in connection with the Frutarom integration, we are consolidating, updating and/or closing manufacturing facilities to achieve synergies and align our manufacturing footprint.
Our incurrence of additional debt to pay the cash portion of the Frutarom consideration increased our financial leverage and could adversely affect our future cash flows and cost of capital.
In connection with the acquisition of Frutarom, we borrowed approximately $3.3 billion of additional debt, thereby significantly increasing our leverage. As of December 31, 2019, our total debt consisted of $4.4 billion. There may be circumstances in which required payments of principal and/or interest on our debt could adversely affect our cash flows, our operating results or our ability to return capital to our shareholders. Furthermore, our degree of leverage could adversely affect our future credit ratings. If we are unable to maintain or improve our current investment grade rating, it could adversely affect our future cost of funding, liquidity and access to capital markets. In addition, our current level of leverage could increase our vulnerability to sustained, adverse macroeconomic weakness, limit our ability to obtain further financing, and our ability to pursue certain operational and strategic opportunities, including large acquisitions. Our level of indebtedness as well as our failure to comply with covenants under our debt instruments, could adversely affect our business, results of operation and financial condition.
Failure to successfully establish and manage acquisitions, collaborations, joint ventures or partnerships could adversely affect our growth.
From time to time, we evaluate acquisition candidates that may strategically fit our business and/or growth objectives. If we are unable to successfully integrate and develop acquired businesses, we could fail to achieve anticipated synergies and cost savings, including any expected increase in revenues and operating results, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results. We may also incur asset impairment charges related to acquisitions that reduce our earnings.
Additionally, we also evaluate and enter into collaborations, joint ventures or partnerships from time to time to enhance our research and development efforts or expand our product portfolios and technology. The process of establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships is difficult and time-consuming to negotiate, document and implement. We may not be able to successfully negotiate such arrangements or the terms of the arrangements may not be as favorable as anticipated. Furthermore, our ability to generate revenues from such collaborations will depend on our partners’ abilities and efforts to successfully perform the functions assigned to them in these arrangements and these collaborations may not lead to development or commercialization of products in the most efficient manner, or at all. In addition, from time to time, we have acquired, and we may acquire, only a majority interest in companies and provided or may provide earnouts for the former owners along with the ability, at our option, or obligation, at the former owners’ option, to purchase the minority interests at a future date at an established price. These investments may have additional risks and may not be as efficient as other operations as we may have fiduciary or contractual obligations to the minority investors and may rely on former owners for the continuing operation of the acquired business. If we are unable to successfully establish and manage these collaborative relationships and majority investments it could adversely affect our future growth.
Our business is highly competitive, and if we are unable to compete effectively our sales and results of operations will suffer.
The markets in which we compete are highly competitive. We face vigorous competition from companies throughout the world, including multi-national and specialized flavors, fragrances, nutrition and specialty ingredients companies, as well as consumer product companies which may develop their own flavors, fragrances or ingredients. In the flavors industry, we also face increasing competition from ingredient suppliers that have expanded their portfolios to include flavor offerings. Some of our competitors specialize in one or more of our product sub-segments, while others participate in many of our product sub-segments. In addition, some of our global competitors may have more resources than we do or may have proprietary products that could permit them to respond to changing business and economic conditions more effectively than we can. Consolidation of our competitors may exacerbate these risks.
As we continue to enter into adjacent markets, such as cosmetic ingredients, functional foods, specialty fine ingredients and nutrition products, we may face greater competition-related risks in these markets than with our core historic flavor and fragrances businesses. For example, the specialty fine ingredients market is more price sensitive than the flavors market and is characterized by relatively lower profit margins. Some fine ingredients products are less unique and more replaceable than competitors’ products. There is no assurance that operating margins will remain at current levels, which could substantially impact our business, operating results and financial condition.
Competition in our business is based, among other things, on innovation, product quality, regulatory compliance, pricing, quality of customer service, the support provided by marketing and application groups, and understanding of consumers. It is difficult for us to predict the timing, scale and success of our competitors’ actions in these areas. In particular, the discovery and development of new flavors and fragrance compounds and ingredients, protection of our intellectual property and development and retention of key employees are critical to our ability to effectively compete in our business. Advancement in technologies have also enhanced the ability of our competitors to develop substitutable products. Increased competition by existing or future competitors, including aggressive price competition, could result in the loss of sales, reduced pricing and margin pressure and could adversely impact our sales and profitability.
If we are unable to successfully market to our expanded and diverse Taste customer base, our operating results and future growth may be adversely affected.
As a result of our acquisition of Frutarom, the number of our customers significantly increased and became more diverse. Our historical customer base was primarily comprised of large and medium-sized food, beverage and consumer products companies. As a result of the expansion of our Tastepoint initiative and the Frutarom acquisition, and based on 2019 sales, we currently have approximately 38,000 customers, approximately 65% of which are small and mid-sized companies. This substantial increase in and diversity of our customer base requires us to adjust, among other things, our product development, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, customer relationship and sales strategy as well as adapt corporate, information technology, finance and administrative infrastructures to support different go-to-market models. We may experience difficulty managing the growth of a portfolio of customers that is more diverse in terms of its geographical presence as well as with respect to the types of services they require and the infrastructure required to deliver our products. If we are unable to successfully gain market share or maintain our relationships with these customers, our future growth could be adversely affected.
Our success depends on attracting and retaining talented people within our business. Significant shortfalls in recruitment or retention could adversely affect our ability to compete and achieve our strategic goals.
Attracting, developing, and retaining talented employees, including our perfumers, scientists and flavorists, is essential to the successful delivery of our products and success in the marketplace. Furthermore, as we continue to focus on innovation, our need for scientists and other professionals will increase. An important factor in our ability to realize our anticipated benefits from the Frutarom acquisition is our ability to retain key employees at Frutarom. The ability to attract and retain talented employees is critical in the development of new products and technologies which is an integral component of our growth strategy.
Competition for employees can be intense and if we are unable to successfully integrate, motivate and reward the acquired Frutarom employees or our current employees in our combined company, we may not be able to retain them. If we are unable to retain these employees or attract new employees in the future, our ability to effectively compete with our competitors and to grow our business could be adversely affected.
A significant portion of our sales is generated from a limited number of large multi-national customers, which are currently under competitive pressures that may affect the demand for our products and profitability.
During 2019, our 25 largest customers, each of which was a multi-national consumer products company, accounted for 38% of our sales. Large multi-national customers’ market share, especially in the consumer product industry, continues to be pressured by new smaller companies and specialty players that cater to or are more adept at adjusting to the latest consumer trends, including towards natural products and clean labels, changes in the retail landscape (including e-commerce and consolidation), and increased competition from private labels, which have resulted and may continue to result in decreased demand for our products by such multi-national customers and volume erosion, especially in our Taste business. Furthermore, consolidations amongst our customers have resulted in larger and more sophisticated customers with greater buying power and additional negotiating strength. If such trends continue, our sales could be adversely impacted if we are not able to replace these sales.
In addition, large multi-national customers and, increasingly middle market customers, continue to utilize “core lists” of suppliers to improve margins and profitability. Typically, these “core list" suppliers are then given priority for new or modified products. Recently, these customers are making inclusion on their “core lists” contingent upon a supplier providing more favorable commercial terms, including rebates, which could adversely affect our margins. We must either offer competitive cost-in-use solutions to secure and maintain inclusion on these “core lists” or seek to manage the relationship without being on the “core-list.” If we choose not to pursue “core-list” status due to profitability concerns or if we are unable to obtain “core-list” status, our ability to maintain our share of these customers’ future purchases could be adversely affected and therefore our future results of operations.
We may not successfully develop and introduce new products that meet our customers’ needs, which may adversely affect our results of operations.
Our ability to differentiate ourselves and deliver growth in line with our Vision 2021 strategy largely depends on our ability to successfully develop and introduce new products and product improvements that meet our customers’ needs, and ultimately appeal to consumers. Innovation is a key element of our ability to develop and introduce new products. We cannot be certain that we will be successful in achieving our innovation goals, such as the development of new molecules, new and expanded delivery systems and other technologies. We currently spend approximately 6.7% of our sales on research and development; however this investment level may vary if available resources to invest in research and development are limited due to our ongoing integration and restructuring efforts. Our research and development investments may only generate future revenues to the extent that we are able to develop products that meet our customers’ specifications, are at an acceptable cost and achieve acceptance by the targeted consumer market. Furthermore, there may be significant lag times from the time we incur research and development costs to the time that these research and development costs may result in increased revenue. Consequently, even when we “win” a project, our ability to generate revenues as a result of these investments is subject to numerous customer, economic and other risks that are outside of our control, including delays by our customers in the launch of a new product, the level of promotional support for the launch, poor performance of our third-party vendors, anticipated sales by our customers not being realized or changes in market preferences or demands, or disruptive innovations by competitors.
Natural disasters, public health crises (such as the recent Coronavirus outbreak), international conflicts, terrorist acts, labor strikes, political crisis, accidents and other events could adversely affect our business and financial results by disrupting development, manufacturing, distribution or sale of our products.
As a company engaged in the global development, manufacture and distribution of products, we are subject to the risks inherent in such activities, including industrial accidents, environmental events, strikes and other labor disputes, product quality control issues, safety, licensing requirements and other regulatory issues, as well as natural disasters, public health crises, such as pandemics or epidemics, international conflicts, terrorist acts and other external factors over which we have no control.
While we operate research and development, manufacturing and distribution facilities throughout the world, many of these facilities are extremely specialized and certain of our research and development or creative laboratories facilities are uniquely situated to support our research and development efforts while certain of our manufacturing facilities are the sole location where a specific ingredient or product is produced. If our research and development activities or the manufacturing of ingredients or products were disrupted, the cost of relocating or replacing these activities or reformulating these ingredients or products may be substantial, which could result in production or development delays or otherwise have an adverse effect on our margins, operating results and future growth.
For example, in December 2019, there was an outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China that has since spread to other regions in China and the rest of the world. To contain the outbreak, the Chinese central government extended the Lunar New Year holiday for one week and issued guidance pursuant to which local governments in China have taken temporary measures to limit large gatherings and impose travel restrictions. As a result, a portion of our manufacturing plants and offices in China were required to close for a week. The outbreak may result in additional or more extensive travel restrictions, closures, disruptions of businesses or facilities in China or other affected regions around the world or lead to social, economic, political or labor instability in the affected areas may impact our, our suppliers’ or our customers’ operations. The outbreak may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. At this point, the extent of such impact is uncertain.
A disruption in our supply chain, including the inability to obtain ingredients and raw materials from third parties, could adversely affect our business and financial results.
In connection with our manufacture of our fragrance and flavor products, we often rely on third party suppliers for ingredients and raw materials that are integral to our manufacture of such compounds. Our purchases of raw materials are subject to fluctuations in market price and availability caused by weather conditions, climate change, as further discussed below, market conditions, governmental actions and other factors beyond our control affecting us and/or our suppliers. Import alerts or specific country regulations may impair or delay our ability to obtain sufficient quantity of certain ingredients, raw materials and naturals at the relevant manufacturing facility. In addition, our ingredient or raw material suppliers, similar to us, are subject to risks, as applicable, inherent in agriculture, manufacturing and distribution on a global scale, including industrial accidents, environmental events, strikes and other labor disputes, disruptions in supply chain or information systems, disruption or loss of key research or manufacturing sites, product quality control, safety and environmental compliance issues, licensing requirements and other regulatory issues, as well as natural disasters, global or local health crisis, international conflicts, terrorist acts and other external factors over which they have no control. These suppliers also could become insolvent or experience other financial distress. For example, in 2017, a fire at the manufacturing facility of BASF Group (“BASF”), one of
our suppliers, caused them to declare a force majeure and has resulted in industry disruption due to the lack of availability of certain ingredients used in many fragrance compounds.
These risks are enhanced since we often rely on a limited number of suppliers for particular ingredients. If our suppliers are unable to supply us with sufficient quantities of ingredients and raw materials to meet our needs, we would need to seek alternative sources of such materials or pursue our own production of such ingredients or direct acquisition of such raw materials. However, for certain of our ingredients and raw materials we rely on a limited number of suppliers where there are not readily available alternatives. If we are unable to obtain or manufacture alternative sources of such ingredients or raw materials at a similar cost, we would seek to (i) reformulate our compounds and/or (ii) increase pricing to reflect the higher supply cost. However, if we are not able to successfully implement any of these alternatives, we could experience disruptions in production, increased cost of sales and a corresponding decrease in gross margin or reduced sales, especially if our competitors were able to more successfully adjust to such market disruption. At the same time, industry-wide supply disruptions, such as the one caused by the BASF incident, may lead to broader market shortages and sales volatility. Such fluctuations and decrease in gross margin could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Volatility and increases in the price of raw materials, energy and transportation, including due to climate change, could harm our profits.
We use many different raw materials for our business, particularly natural products, including essential oils, extracts and concentrates derived from fruits, vegetables, flowers, woods and other botanicals, animal products, raw fruits, organic chemicals and petroleum-based chemicals. We have experienced price volatility with respect to raw materials. For example, there has been industry-wide price volatility of certain ingredients used in fragrance compounds due to the BASF incident and in 2019 we experienced increases in the prices of certain naturals.
Natural products represent approximately half of our raw material spend, and we expect such volatility to continue in the near future. In addition, because we offer a substantial number of natural product offerings and often rely on a limited number of suppliers for certain products, this risk may be exacerbated. There is growing evidence that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather and precipitation patterns, growing and harvesting conditions, and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters, such as floods, wildfires, droughts and water scarcity. To the extent such climate change effects have a negative impact on crop size and quality, it could impact the availability and pricing of these natural products. If we are unable to increase the prices to our customers of our products to offset raw material and other input cost increases, or if we are unable to achieve cost savings to offset such cost increases, we could fail to meet our cost expectations and our profits and operating results could be adversely affected. Increases in prices of our products to customers may lead to declines in sales volumes, and we may not be able to accurately predict the volume impact of price increases, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Similarly, commodities and energy prices are subject to significant volatility caused by, among other things, market fluctuations, supply and demand, currency fluctuations, production and transportation disruptions, climate change and weather conditions, and other world events. As we source many of our raw materials globally to help ensure quality control, if the cost of energy, shipping or transportation increases and we are unable to pass along these costs to our customers, our profit margins would be adversely affected. Furthermore, increasing our prices to our customers could result in long-term sales declines or loss of market share if our customers find alternative suppliers or choose to reformulate their consumer products to use fewer ingredients, which could have an adverse long-term impact on our results of operations. Our ability to price our products competitively to timely reflect volatility in prices of raw material and ingredients is critical to maintain and grow our sales. To mitigate our sourcing risk, we maintain strategic stock levels for critical items. However, if we do not accurately estimate the amount of raw materials that will be used for the geographic region in which we will need these materials or competitively price our products, our margins could be adversely affected.
A significant data breach or other disruption to our information technology systems could disrupt our operations, result in the loss of confidential information or personal data, and adversely impact our reputation, business or results of operations.
We rely on information technology systems, including some managed by third-party providers, to conduct business and support our business processes, including those relating to product formulas, product development, manufacturing, sales, order and invoice processing, production, distribution, internal communications and communications with third parties throughout the world, processing transactions, summarizing and reporting results of operations, complying with regulatory, tax or legal requirements, and collecting and storing customer, supplier, employee and other stakeholder information. Cyber security incidents, data breaches and operational disruptions caused by cyberattacks or cyber-intrusions are constantly evolving in nature, becoming more sophisticated and are being made by groups and individuals with a wide range of expertise and motives,
including computer hackers, foreign governments, cyber terrorists, cyber criminals and malicious employees or other insiders. We and our third-party providers are subject to risks posed by such incidents, which can take many forms, including code anomalies, “Acts of God,” data leakage, hardware or software failures, human error, cyber extortion, password theft or introduction of viruses, malware, ransomware, including through phishing emails.
A disruption to our information technology systems could result in the loss of confidential business, customer, supplier or employee information, litigation or fines and may require substantial investigations, repairs or replacements, or impact our ability to summarize and report financial results in a timely manner, resulting in significant financial, legal, and relational costs and potentially harming our reputation and adversely impacting our operations, customer service and results of operations. Because we do not currently have duplications of our information technology systems and we continue to work on upgrading and integrating Frutarom’s systems into ours, these risks may be exacerbated. Additionally, a security or data breach could require us to devote significant management and financial resources to address the problems created. These types of adverse impacts could also occur in the event the confidentiality, integrity or availability of company, customer, supplier or employee information are compromised due to a data loss by us or a trusted third party. We or the third parties with which we share information may not discover any such incidents and loss of information for a significant period of time after the incident occurs. While we have security processes and initiatives in place, we may be unable to detect or prevent a breach or disruption in the future. Additionally, while we have insurance coverage designed to address certain aspects of cyber risks in place, such insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover all losses or all types of claims that may arise.
If we fail to comply with data protection laws in the U.S. and abroad, we may be subject to fines, penalties and other costs.
Recently, there has also been heightened regulatory and enforcement focus on data protection in the U.S. (at both the state and federal level) and abroad, and an actual or alleged failure to comply with applicable U.S. or foreign data protection regulations or other data protection standards may expose us to litigation (including, in some instances, class action litigation), fines, sanctions or other penalties, which could harm our reputation and adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. This regulatory environment is increasingly challenging and may present material obligations and risks to our business, including significantly expanded compliance burdens, costs and enforcement risks. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which became effective in May 2018, greatly increases the jurisdictional reach of EU law and adds a broad array of requirements related to personal data, including individual notice and opt-out preferences and the public disclosure of significant data breaches. Additionally, violations of the GDPR can result in fines of as much as 4% of a company’s annual revenue. Other governments have enacted or are enacting similar data protection laws, including data localization laws that require data to stay within their borders. Beginning in 2020, we will also be required to comply with certain additional requirements under the California Consumer Privacy Act. All of these evolving compliance and operational requirements, as well as the uncertain interpretation and enforcement of laws, impose significant costs and regulatory risks that are likely to increase over time. Our failure to comply with these evolving regulations could expose us to fines, penalties and other costs that could adversely impact our financial results.
If we are unable to comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards, including those regarding product safety, quality, efficacy and environmental impact, we could incur significant costs and suffer reputational harm which could adversely affect results of operations.
The development, manufacture and sale of our products are subject to various regulatory requirements in each of the countries in which our products are developed, manufactured and sold. In addition, we are subject to product safety and compliance requirements established by governments, industry or similar oversight bodies, or contractually by our customers, including requirements concerning product safety, quality and efficacy, environmental impacts (including packaging, energy and water use and waste management) and other sustainability or similar issues. We use a variety of strategies, methodologies and tools to minimize the likelihood of product or process non-compliance with these regulations and standards by (i) identifying current product standards, (ii) assessing relative risks in our supply chain, (iii) monitoring internal and external performance and (iv) testing raw materials and finished goods. As concerns regarding safety, quality and environmental impact become more pressing, we may see new, more restrictive regulations adopted that impact our products. For example, the European Chemicals Agency has proposed that the European Commission adopt a ban on microplastics, including those found in personal care items, detergents and cosmetics, to reduce plastics pollution. If this ban is adopted, we will be required to modify our products and/or innovate new solutions to replace microplastics in our products. If we are unable to adapt to these new regulations or standards in a cost effective and timely manner, we may lose business to competitors who are able to provide compliant products.
Gaps in our operational processes or those of our suppliers or distributors can result in products that do not meet our quality control or industry standards or fail to comply with the relevant regulatory requirements, which in turn can result in finished consumer goods that do not comply with applicable standards and requirements. Products that are mislabeled,
contaminated or damaged could result in a regulatory non-compliance event or even a product recall by the FDA or a similar foreign agency. Our contracts often require us to indemnify our customers for the costs associated with a product non-compliance event, including penalties, costs and settlements arising from litigation, remediation costs or loss of sales. As our flavors and fragrance compounds and ingredients are used in many products intended for human use or consumption, these consequences would be exacerbated if we or our customer did not identify the defect before the product reaches the consumer and there was a resulting impact at the consumer level. Such a result could lead to potentially large scale adverse publicity, negative effects on consumer’s health, recalls and potential litigation, fines, penalties, sanctions or other regulatory actions. In addition, if we do not have adequate insurance or contractual indemnification from suppliers or other third parties, or if insurance or indemnification is not available, the liability relating to product or possible third-party claims arising from mislabeled, contaminated or damaged products could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. Furthermore, adverse publicity about our products, or our customers’ products that contain our ingredients, including concerns about product safety or similar issues, whether real or perceived, could harm our reputation and result in an immediate adverse effect on our sales and customer relationships, as well as require us to utilize significant resources to rebuild our reputation.
Increasing awareness of health and wellness are driving changes in the consumer products industry, and if we are unable to react in a timely and cost-effective manner, our results of operations and future growth may be adversely affected.
We must continually anticipate and react, in a timely and cost-effective manner, to changes in consumer preferences and demands, including changes in demand driven by increasing awareness of health and wellness and demands for transparency or cleaner labels with respect to product ingredients by consumers and regulators. Consumers, especially in developed economies such as the U.S. and Western Europe, are rapidly shifting away from products containing artificial ingredients to all-natural, healthier alternatives. In addition, there has been a growing demand by consumers, non-governmental organizations and, to a lesser extent, governmental agencies to provide more transparency in product labeling and our customers have been taking steps to address this demand, including by voluntarily providing product-specific ingredients disclosure. These two trends could affect the types and volumes of our ingredients and compounds that our customers include in their consumer product offerings and, therefore, affect the demand for our products. If we are unable to react to or anticipate these trends in a timely and cost-effective manner, our results of operations and future growth may be adversely affected.
We are subject to increasing customer, consumer and regulatory focus on sustainability issues, which may result in additional costs in order to meet new requirements or upgrade Frutarom’s sustainability practices
Federal, state, local and foreign governments, our customers and consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to sustainability issues. We have committed to a sustainability strategy designed to meet this global trend and are currently assessing our combined environmental footprint following the Frutarom acquisition, with the intent of identifying synergies, gaps and opportunities in our sustainability efforts.
As part of our assessment so far, we have begun upgrading Frutarom’s sustainability practices to better align them to our legacy IFF practices, and which may require significant costs and time to implement. Our assessment may reveal additional gaps between the legacy Frutarom operations and our sustainability practices and goals, which may require significant costs to remedy.
Despite our efforts, the increased focus on sustainability may result in new regulations and customer requirements that could negatively affect us. These could cause us to incur additional direct costs or to make changes to our operations in order to comply with any new regulations and customer requirements. We could also lose revenue if our customers divert business from us because we have not complied with their sustainability requirements or if we are not successful in improving Frutarom’s sustainability metrics. These potential costs, changes and loss of revenue could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We have made investments in and continue to expand our business into emerging markets, which exposes us to certain risks.
As part of our growth strategy, we have increased our presence in emerging markets by expanding our manufacturing presence, sales organization and product offerings in these markets, and we expect to continue to expand our business in these markets. With our acquisition of Frutarom in 2018, who also had a significant presence in emerging markets, our business in these markets has meaningfully grown. In addition to the currency and international risks described below, our operations in these markets may be subject to a variety of other risks. Emerging markets typically have a consumer base with limited or fluctuating disposable income and customer demand in these markets may fluctuate accordingly. As a result, decrease in customer demand in emerging markets may have an adverse effect on our ability to execute our growth strategy.
Further, there is no assurance that our existing products, variants of our existing products or new products that we make, manufacture, distribute or sell will be accepted or be successful in any particular developing or emerging market, due to local or global competition, product price, cultural differences, consumer preferences or otherwise. In addition, emerging markets may have weak legal systems which may affect our ability to enforce our intellectual property and contractual rights, exchange controls, unstable governments and privatization or other government actions that may affect taxes, subsidies and incentive programs and the flow of goods and currency. In conducting our business, we move products from one country to another and may provide services in one country from a subsidiary located in another country. Accordingly, we are vulnerable to abrupt changes in trade, customs and tax regimes in these markets. If we are unable to expand our business in developing and emerging markets, effectively operate, or manage the risks associated with operating in these markets, or achieve the return on capital we expect from our investments in these markets, our operating results and future growth could be adversely affected.
The impact of currency fluctuation or devaluation in the international markets in which we operate may negatively affect our results of operations.
We have significant operations outside the U.S., the results of which are reported in the local currency and then translated into U.S. dollars at applicable exchange rates for inclusion in our consolidated financial statements. The exchange rates between these currencies and the U.S. dollar have fluctuated and will continue to do so in the future. For example, as of July 1, 2018, we concluded that Argentina’s economy is highly inflationary under US GAAP, as it has experienced cumulative inflation of approximately 100% or more over a three-year period. While our current operations in Argentina represent less than 3% of our consolidated net sales and less than 1% of our consolidated total assets, continuing inflation in Argentina could adversely affect our profitability in a specific period. Changes in exchange rates between these local currencies and the U.S. dollar will affect the recorded levels of sales, profitability, assets and/or liabilities. Additionally, volatility in currency exchange rates may adversely impact our financial condition, cash flows or liquidity. Although we employ a variety of techniques to mitigate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations, including sourcing strategies and a limited number of foreign currency hedging activities, we cannot guarantee that such hedging and risk management strategies will be effective, and our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our international operations are subject to regulatory, political and other risks that could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
We operate on a global basis, with manufacturing and sales facilities in the U.S., Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Greater Asia. During 2019, 80% of our combined net sales were to customers outside the U.S. and we intend to continue expansion of our international operations. As a result, our business is increasingly exposed to risks inherent in international operations. These risks, which can vary substantially by location, include the following:
•governmental laws, regulations and policies adopted to manage national economic and macroeconomic conditions, such as increases in taxes, austerity measures that may impact consumer spending, monetary policies that may impact inflation rates, employment regulations, currency fluctuations or controls and sustainability of resources;
•changes in environmental, health and safety regulations, such as the continued implementation of the European Union’s REACH regulations and similar regulations that are being evaluated and adopted in other markets, and the burdens and costs of our compliance with such regulations which may differ significantly across jurisdictions;
•increased environmental, health and safety regulations or the loss of necessary environmental permits in certain countries;
•the imposition of or changes in customs, tariffs, quotas, trade barriers, other trade protection measures, import or export licensing requirements, and sanctions on trade with certain countries, imposed by the U.S. or other countries, which could adversely affect our cost or ability to import raw materials or export our flavors and fragrance products to surrounding markets;
•risks and costs arising from our ability to cater to local demand and customer preferences, language and cultural differences;
•changes in the laws and policies that govern foreign investment in the countries in which we operate, including the risk of expropriation or nationalization, the costs and ability to repatriate the profit that we generate in these countries;
•risks and costs associated with complying with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws;
•risks and costs associated with political and economic instability, bribery and corruption, anti-American sentiment, and social and ethnic unrest in the countries in which we operate;
•difficulty in recruiting and retaining trained local personnel;
•natural disasters, global or local health crisis (such as the recent coronavirus outbreak), pandemics, epidemics or international conflicts, including terrorist acts, political crisis, national and regional labor strikes in the countries in which we operate, which could endanger our personnel, interrupt our operations or adversely affect the demand for our products, the results of certain regions or our global supply chain; or
•the risks of operating in developing or emerging markets in which there are significant uncertainties regarding the interpretation, application and enforceability of laws and regulations and the enforceability of contract rights and intellectual property rights.
The occurrence of any one or more of these factors could increase our costs and adversely affect our results of operations.
Economic uncertainty may adversely affect demand for our products which may have a negative impact on our operating results and future growth.
Our flavors and fragrance compounds and our fragrance, cosmetic active and functional food ingredients are components of a wide assortment of global consumer products throughout the world. Historically, demand for consumer products using these compounds and ingredients was stimulated and broadened by changing social habits and consumer needs, population growth, an expanding global middle-class and general economic growth, especially in emerging markets. The global economy has experienced significant recessionary pressures and declines in consumer confidence and economic growth. While some segments of the global economy appear to be recovering, the predictions surrounding the global recessionary economic environment in Europe has, and may in the near future, increase unemployment and underemployment, decrease salaries and wage rates, increase inflation or result in other market-wide cost pressures that will adversely affect demand for consumer products in both developed and emerging markets. In addition, growth rates in the emerging markets have moderated from previous levels. Reduced consumer spending may cause changes in our customer orders including reduced demand for our flavors and fragrances compounds or ingredients, or order cancellations. The timing of placing of orders and the amounts of these orders are generally at our customers’ discretion. Customers may cancel, reduce or postpone orders with us on relatively short notice. Significant cancellations, reductions or delays in orders by customers could affect our quarterly results. It is currently anticipated that these challenging economic uncertainties will continue to affect certain of our markets during 2020 which could adversely affect our sales, profitability and overall operating results.
Failure to comply with environmental protection laws may cause us to close, relocate or operate one or more of our plants at reduced production levels, and expose us to civil or criminal liability, which could adversely affect our operating results and future growth.
Our business operations and properties procure, make use of, manufacture, sell, and distribute substances that are sometimes considered hazardous and are therefore subject to extensive and increasingly stringent federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations pertaining to protection of the environment, including air emissions, sewage discharges, the use of hazardous materials, waste disposal practices and clean-up of existing environmental contamination. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations or any future changes to them may result in significant consequences to us, including the need to close or relocate one or more of our production facilities, administrative, civil and criminal penalties, fines, sanctions, litigation, costly remediation measures, liability for damages and negative publicity. If we are unable to meet production requirements, we can lose customer orders, which can adversely affect our future growth or we may be required to make incremental capital investments to ensure supply. For example, we recently completed negotiations with the Chinese government concerning the relocation of a second Fragrance facility in China. Idling of facilities or production modifications has caused or may cause customers to seek alternate suppliers due to concerns regarding supply interruptions and these customers may not return or may order at reduced levels even once issues are remediated. If these non-compliance issues reoccur in China or occur or in any other jurisdiction, we may lose business and may be required to incur capital spending above previous expectations, close a plant, or operate a plant at significantly reduced production levels on a permanent basis, and our operating results and cash flows from operations may be adversely affected.
Our performance may be adversely impacted if we are not successful in managing our inventory and/or working capital balances.
We evaluate our inventory balances of materials based on shelf life, expected sourcing levels, known uses and anticipated demand based on forecasted customer order activity and changes in our product/sales mix. Efficient inventory management is a key component of our business success, financial returns and profitability. To be successful, we must maintain sufficient inventory levels and an appropriate product/sales mix to meet our customers’ demands, without allowing those levels to increase to such an extent that the costs associated with storing and holding other inventory adversely impact our financial results. If our buying decisions do not accurately predict sourcing levels, customer trends or our expectations about customer
needs are inaccurate, we may have to take unanticipated markdowns or impairment charges to dispose of the excess or obsolete inventory, which can adversely impact our financial results. Additionally, we believe excess inventory levels of raw materials with a short shelf life in our manufacturing facilities subjects us to the risk of increased inventory shrinkage. If we are not successful in managing our inventory balances and shrinkage, our results of and cash flows from operations may be negatively affected.
We sell certain accounts receivable on a non-recourse basis to unrelated financial institutions under “factoring” agreements that are sponsored, solely and individually, by certain customers. The cost of participating in these programs was immaterial to our results in all periods. Should we choose not to participate, or if these programs were no longer available, it could reduce our cash flows from operations in the period in which the arrangement ends.
We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or similar U.S. or foreign anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate.
The global nature of our business, the significance of our international revenue and our focus on emerging markets create various domestic and local regulatory challenges and subject us to risks associated with our international operations. The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and similar anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and regulations in other countries generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business or for other commercial advantage. In addition, U.S. public companies are required to maintain records that accurately and fairly represent their transactions and have an adequate system of internal accounting controls. Under the FCPA, U.S. companies may be held liable for the corrupt actions taken by directors, officers, employees, agents, or other strategic or local partners or representatives. As such, if we or our intermediaries fail to comply with the requirements of the FCPA or similar legislation, governmental authorities in the U.S. and elsewhere could seek to impose substantial civil and/or criminal fines and penalties which could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, operating results and financial condition.
We operate or may pursue opportunities in some jurisdictions, such as China, India, Brazil, Russia and Africa, that pose potentially elevated risks of fraud or corruption or increased risk of internal control issues. In certain jurisdictions, compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with local customs and practices. From time to time, we have conducted and will conduct internal investigations of the relevant facts and circumstances, control testing and compliance reviews, and take remedial actions, when appropriate, to help ensure that we are in compliance with applicable corruption and similar laws and regulations. For example, in August 2019, during the integration of Frutarom, we were made aware of allegations that two Frutarom businesses operating principally in Russia and Ukraine made certain improper payments, including to representatives of a number of customers. Our investigation substantiated the allegations that improper payments to representatives of customers were made and that key members of Frutarom’s senior management at the time were aware of such payments. We did not uncover any evidence suggesting that such payments had any connection to the U.S. In addition, Frutarom grew through rapid acquisition and, as part of our integration efforts, we are implementing our anti- corruption and similar policies throughout a number of those acquired companies, many of which were not previously subject to these U.S. laws.
Detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged violations of the FCPA or other anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and regulations is expensive, could consume significant time and attention of our senior management and could subject us to investigations and inquiries by governmental and other regulatory bodies. Any allegations of non- compliance with such laws and regulations could have a disruptive effect on our operations in such jurisdiction, including interruptions of business or loss of third-party relationships, which may negatively impact our results of operations or financial condition. Any determination that our operations or activities are not in compliance with such laws and regulations could expose us to severe criminal or civil penalties or other sanctions, significant fines, termination of necessary
licenses and permits, and penalties or other sanctions that may harm our business and reputation.
Any impairment of our tangible or intangible long-lived assets, including goodwill, may adversely impact our profitability.
A significant portion of our assets consists of long-lived assets, including tangible assets such as our manufacturing facilities, and intangible assets, including goodwill. As a result of numerous recent acquisitions, including the 2018 acquisition of Frutarom, as of December 31, 2019, we had recorded approximately $8.3 billion of intangible assets and goodwill, including $4.3 billion of goodwill associated with the acquisition of Frutarom. Our results of operations and financial position in future periods could be negatively impacted should future impairments of our long-lived assets, including intangible assets or goodwill occur.
At least annually, we assess both goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment. We test for impairment by comparing the estimated fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit
exceeds its estimated fair value, we record an impairment charge based on the difference of the two. Intangible assets with finite lives are also tested for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. Such events and changes in circumstances could include a sustained decrease in our market capitalization, increased competition or unexpected loss of market share, increased input costs beyond projections (for example due to regulatory or industry changes), our inability to recognize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions, unexpected business disruptions (for example due to a natural disaster or loss of a customer, supplier, or other significant business relationship), acts by governments and courts, operating results falling short of projections, or significant adverse changes in the markets in which we operate.
Fair value determinations require considerable judgment and are sensitive to changes in underlying assumptions, estimates and market factors. Estimating the fair value of reporting units requires us to make assumptions and estimates regarding our business performance, future plans, future annual net cash flows, income tax considerations, discount rates, growth rates, and based on industry, economic, regulatory conditions and other market factors. To the extent any of our acquisitions, including the acquisition of Frutarom, do not perform as anticipated and our underlying assumptions and estimates related to their fair value determination are not met, whether due to internal or external factors, the value of such assets may be negatively affected and we may be required to record impairment charges.
Our ability to compete effectively depends on our ability to protect our intellectual property rights.
We rely on patents and trade secrets to protect our intellectual property rights. We often rely on trade secrets to protect our proprietary fragrance and flavor formulations, as well as our extract methodologies, and processes for our nutrition, natural colors for food and natural antioxidants for food protection, as this does not require us to publicly file information regarding our intellectual property. From time to time, a third party may claim that we have infringed upon or misappropriated their intellectual property rights, or a third party may infringe upon or misappropriate our intellectual property rights. We could incur significant costs in connection with legal actions to assert our intellectual property rights against third parties or to defend ourselves from third-party assertions of invalidity, infringement, misappropriation or other claims. Any settlement or adverse judgment resulting from such litigation could require us to obtain a license to continue to use the intellectual property rights that are the subject of the claim, or otherwise restrict or prohibit our use of such intellectual property rights. Any required licensing fees may not be available to us on acceptable terms, if at all. For those intellectual property rights that are protected as trade secrets, this litigation could result in even higher costs, and potentially the loss of certain rights, since we would not have a perfected intellectual property right that precludes others from making, using or selling our products or processes. The ongoing trend among our customers towards more transparent labeling could further diminish our ability to effectively protect our proprietary flavor formulations.
For intellectual property rights that we seek to protect through patents, we cannot be certain that these rights, if obtained, will not later be opposed, invalidated, or circumvented. In addition, even if such rights are obtained in the U.S., the laws of some of the other countries in which our products are or may be sold do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the US. If other parties were to infringe on our intellectual property rights, or if a third party successfully asserted that we had infringed on their intellectual property rights, it could materially and adversely affect our future results of operations by, among other things, (i) reducing the price that we could obtain in the marketplace for products which are based on such rights, (ii) increasing the royalty or other fees that we may be required to pay in connection with such rights, (iii) limiting the volume, if any, of such products that we can sell or (iv) resulting in significant litigation costs and potential liability.
Our results of operations may be negatively impacted by the outcome of uncertainties related to litigation.
From time to time we are involved in a number of legal claims, regulatory investigations and litigation, including claims related to intellectual property, product liability, environmental matters and indirect taxes. For instance, product liability claims may arise due to the fact that we supply flavors and fragrances to the food and beverage, functional food, pharma/nutraceutical and personal care industries. Our manufacturing and other facilities may expose us to environmental claims and regulatory investigations. In addition, as we expand our product offering into functional food, nutraceuticals, and natural antioxidants, we may also be subject to claims of false or deceptive advertising claims in the U.S., Europe and other foreign jurisdictions in which we offer these types of products. These claims can arise as a result of function claims, health claims, nutrient content claims and other claims that impermissibly suggest therapeutic benefits for certain foods or food components. The cost of defending these claims or our obligations for direct damages and indemnification if we were found liable could adversely affect our results of operations.
As a result of the acquisition of Frutarom, we assumed a number of legal claims, regulatory investigations and litigation and we may become involved in additional actions in the future arising from the acquired operations. Specifically, as Frutarom has a significantly greater number of facilities that are located globally and a significantly larger number of customers, our
exposure to these types of environmental claims, product liability claims and regulatory investigations may increase. This could result in an increase in our cost for defense or settlement of claims or indemnification obligations if we were to be found liable in excess of our historical experience.
In addition, we are also the subject of a putative shareholder class action lawsuit filed in August 2019 after we disclosed that preliminary results of investigations indicated that Frutarom businesses operating principally in Russia and Ukraine had made improper payments to representatives of customers.
Our insurance may not be adequate to protect us from all material expenses related to pending and future claims and our current levels of insurance may not be available in the future at commercially reasonable prices. Any of these factors could adversely affect our profitability and results of operations.
Our funding obligations for our pension and postretirement plans could adversely affect our earnings and cash flows.
The funding obligations for our pension plans are impacted by the performance of the financial markets, particularly the equity markets and interest rates. Funding obligations are determined under government regulations and are measured each year based on the value of assets and liabilities on a specific date. If the financial markets do not provide the long-term returns that are expected under the governmental funding calculations, we could be required to make larger contributions. The equity markets can be very volatile, and therefore our estimate of future contribution requirements can change dramatically in relatively short periods of time. Similarly, changes in interest rates and legislation enacted by governmental authorities can impact the timing and amounts of contribution requirements. An adverse change in the funded status of the plans could significantly increase our required contributions in the future and adversely impact our liquidity.
Assumptions used in determining projected benefit obligations and the fair value of plan assets for our pension and other postretirement benefit plans are determined by us in consultation with outside consultants and advisors. In the event that we determine that changes are warranted in the assumptions used, such as the discount rate, expected long-term rate of return on assets, or expected health care costs, our future pension and postretirement benefit expenses could increase or decrease. Due to changing market conditions or changes in the participant population, the assumptions that we use may differ from actual results, which could have a significant impact on our pension and postretirement liabilities and related costs and funding requirements.
Changes in our tax rates, the adoption of new U.S. or international tax legislation, or changes in existing tax laws could expose us to additional tax liabilities that may affect our future results.
We are subject to taxes in the U.S. and numerous foreign jurisdictions. Our future effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in liabilities for uncertain tax positions, cost of repatriations or changes in tax laws or their interpretation. Any of these changes could have a material adverse effect on our profitability.
We have and will continue to implement transfer pricing policies among our various operations located in different countries. These transfer pricing policies are a significant component of the management and compliance of our operations across international boundaries and overall financial results. Many countries routinely examine transfer pricing policies of taxpayers subject to their jurisdiction, challenge transfer pricing policies aggressively where there is potential non-compliance and impose significant interest charges and penalties where non-compliance is determined. However, governmental authorities could challenge these policies more aggressively in the future and, if challenged, we may not prevail. We could suffer significant costs related to one or more challenges to our transfer pricing policies.
We are subject to the continual examination of our income tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service and foreign tax authorities in those countries in which we operate, and we may be subject to assessments or audits in the future in any of the countries in which we operate. The final determination of tax audits and any related litigation could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals, and while we do not believe the results that follow would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, such results could have a material effect on our income tax provision, net income or cash flows in the period or periods in which that determination is made.
In addition, a number of international legislative and regulatory bodies have proposed legislation and begun investigations of the tax practices of multi-national companies and, in the European Union, the tax policies of certain European Union member states. One of these efforts has been led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international association of 34 countries including the U.S., which has finalized recommendations to revise corporate tax, transfer pricing, and tax treaty provisions in member countries. Since 2013, the European Commission (“EC”) has been investigating tax rulings granted by tax authorities in a number of European Union member states with respect to specific
multi-national corporations to determine whether such rulings comply with European Union rules on state aid, as well as more recent investigations of the tax regimes of certain European Union member states. Under European Union law, selective tax advantages for particular taxpayers that are not sufficiently grounded in economic realities may constitute impermissible state aid. If the EC determines that a tax ruling or tax regime violates the state aid restrictions, the tax authorities of the affected European Union member state may be required to collect back taxes for the period of time covered by the ruling. In late 2015 and early 2016, the EC declared that tax rulings, related to other companies, by tax authorities in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium did not comply with the European Union state aid restrictions. If the EC or tax authorities in other jurisdictions were to successfully challenge tax rulings applicable to us in any of the member states in which we are subject to taxation or our internal intercompany arrangements, we could be exposed to increased tax liabilities.
In December 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) that significantly revised the U.S. tax code effective January 1, 2018 by, among other things, lowering the corporate income tax rate from a top marginal rate of 35% to a flat 21%, limiting deductibility of interest expense and performance based incentive compensation, transitioning to a territorial system and creating new taxes associated with global operations. The Tax Act impacted our consolidated results of operations during 2019 and is expected to continue to impact our consolidated results of operations in future periods. In future periods, we expect that our effective tax rate will be impacted by the lower U.S. corporate tax rate that will initially be offset by the elimination of the deductibility of performance-based incentive compensation, and other provisions of the Tax Act that may impact us prospectively. However, the ultimate impact of the Tax Act will depend on additional regulatory or accounting guidance that may be issued with respect to the Tax Act and any operating and structural changes that we may undertake to permit us to benefit from the new, lower U.S. tax rate prospectively. This could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our business may be negatively impacted as a result of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
We currently manufacture goods in the United Kingdom for distribution in the European Union and vice-versa and therefore may be adversely affected as a result of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (“Brexit”) in 2020. The impact of the withdrawal could, among other outcomes, exacerbate the disruption of the free movement of goods, services and people between the United Kingdom and the European Union, undermine bilateral cooperation in key geographic areas and significantly disrupt trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union or other nations as the United Kingdom pursues independent trade relations. In addition, Brexit has caused legal uncertainty, which could last indefinitely, and may potentially create divergent national laws and regulations as the United Kingdom determines which European Union laws to replace or replicate. Given the lack of comparable precedent, it is unclear what the financial, trade and legal implications of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will be and how the withdrawal will affect us. Adverse consequences concerning Brexit or the European Union could include deterioration in global economic conditions, instability in global financial markets, political uncertainty, volatility in currency exchange rates, or adverse changes in the cross-border agreements currently in place, any of which could have an adverse impact on our financial results in the future.
The expected phase out of the London Interbank Office Rate (LIBOR) could impact the interest rates paid on our variable rate indebtedness and cause our interest expense to increase.
In 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. Currently there is no definitive information regarding the future utilization of LIBOR or of any particular replacement rate. Borrowings under our revolving credit facility and term loan are at variable interest rates based on LIBOR. If LIBOR is no longer available, or if our lenders have increased costs due to changes in LIBOR, we may need to amend our debt facilities to replace LIBOR with an agreed upon replacement index, which could result in higher rates and adversely impact our interest expense
Risks Relating to Our Pending Combination with Nutrition and Biosciences, Inc. (“N&B”)
As previously announced, on December 15, 2019, we entered into, among other agreements, an agreement and plan of merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with DuPont, pursuant to which, subject to closing conditions customary for a transaction of this type, we will combine with DuPont’s nutrition and biosciences business (the “N&B Business”). Upon completion of our combination with the N&B Business (the “N&B Transaction”), DuPont shareholders will own approximately 55.4% of the shares of IFF, and existing IFF shareholders will own approximately 44.6% of the shares of IFF. A proxy statement/prospectus on Form S-4 is expected to be filed with the SEC pursuant to which IFF shareholders will be asked to approve the share issuance required to effect the N&B Transaction.
We will be subject to business uncertainties and contractual restrictions while the N&B Transaction is pending that may have a negative impact on our business.
Uncertainty about the effect of the pending N&B Transaction may have a negative impact on our business, including relationships with our customers, suppliers and employees. These uncertainties may impair our ability to retain and motivate key personnel and could cause customers and others that deal with us to defer or decline entering into contracts with us or making other decisions concerning us or seek to change existing business relationships with us. In addition, if key employees depart because of uncertainty about their future roles and the potential complexities of the transaction, our business could be harmed. Furthermore, the Merger Agreement contains restrictions on our ability to take certain actions outside the ordinary course of business prior to the closing of the transaction, which may delay or prevent us from undertaking certain actions or business opportunities that may arise prior to the closing. For more information, see the Merger Agreement incorporated by reference as an exhibit in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We have incurred, and will incur, substantial direct and indirect costs as well as additional debt as a result of the N&B Transaction.
We have incurred, and will incur, substantial expenses in connection with and as a result of completing the N&B Transaction, including financial advisory, legal, accounting, consulting and other advisory fees and expenses, regulatory filings and filing and printing fees, as well as additional debt, thereby significantly increasing our leverage. Our leverage and required payments may adversely affect our credit rating, cash flows, operating results or our ability to return capital to our shareholders and the additional debt instruments may subject us to additional covenants.
In addition, over a period of time following the closing, we expect to incur substantial expenses in connection with transitioning, integrating and coordinating the businesses, operations, policies and procedures of us and the N&B Business. A portion of the transaction costs related to the transaction will be incurred regardless of whether the transaction is completed. While we have assumed that a certain level of transaction expenses will be incurred, factors beyond our control could affect the total amount or the timing of these expenses. Many of the expenses that will be incurred, by their nature, are difficult to estimate accurately. These costs could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations prior to the transaction and of the combined businesses following the transaction.
The Merger Agreement limits our ability to pursue alternatives to the N&B Transaction.
The Merger Agreement contains provisions that make it more difficult for us to enter into alternative transactions and provisions that restrict our ability to, among other things, solicit, initiate or knowingly facilitate or encourage the submission of inquiries regarding, or the making of any proposal or offer that constitutes, or would reasonably be expected to lead to, an acquisition proposal from a third party. While we believe these provisions are reasonable and customary for transactions of this type, the provisions might discourage a third party that has an interest in acquiring all or a significant part of us from considering or proposing such acquisition, even if such party were prepared to pay consideration with a higher per-share value than the currently proposed transaction consideration.
The requirement to obtain governmental approvals to satisfy the conditions to the completion of the N&B Transaction may delay or prevent completion of the transaction.
The completion of the N&B Transaction is conditioned upon the receipt of certain governmental authorizations, consents, orders or other approvals, including the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. IFF and DuPont intend to pursue all required approvals in accordance with the Merger Agreement. These approvals may impose conditions on or require divestitures relating to the operations or assets of IFF or the N&B Business, and such conditions or divestitures may jeopardize or delay the completion of the transaction or may reduce the anticipated benefits of the transaction. Further, no assurance can be given that the required approvals will be obtained and, even if all such approvals are obtained, no assurance can be given as to the terms, conditions and timing of the approvals or whether they will satisfy the terms of the Merger Agreement.
If we fail to complete the N&B Transaction, our business, financial results and stock price could be negatively impacted.
The closing of the N&B Transaction is subject to numerous conditions. If the N&B Transaction is not completed, our ongoing business may be adversely affected and we will be subject to several risks and consequences, including the following:
•we may be required, under certain circumstances, to pay a termination fee of $521.5 million or to reimburse DuPont’s transaction-related expenses in an amount up to $75 million;
•we will be required to pay certain costs relating to the transaction, whether or not the transaction is completed, such as significant fees and expenses relating to financial advisory, legal, accounting, consulting and other advisory fees and expenses, regulatory filings and filing and printing fees; and
•matters relating to the transaction may require substantial commitments of time and resources by our management and the expenditure of significant funds in the form of fees and expenses, which could otherwise have been devoted to day-to-day operations and other opportunities that may have been beneficial to us.
In addition, if the N&B Transaction is not completed, we may experience negative reactions from the financial markets and from our employees, clients and customers. We could also be subject to litigation, including litigation related to failure to complete the transaction or to enforce our obligations under the Merger Agreement. If the N&B Transaction is not consummated, there can be no assurance that the risks described above will not materially affect our business, financial results and stock price.
The integration of the N&B Business with IFF may present significant challenges, and we may not realize anticipated synergies and other benefits of the N&B Transaction.
The combination of independent businesses is complex, costly and time-consuming, and combining our and the N&B Business’ practices and operations may divert significant management attention and resources and disrupt our business. The failure to meet the challenges involved in integrating the businesses and to realize the anticipated benefits of the transaction could cause an interruption of, or a loss of momentum in, our business activities and could adversely affect our results of operations. The overall combination of our business and the N&B Business may also result in material unanticipated problems, expenses, liabilities, competitive responses, and loss of customer and other business relationships. The difficulties of integration include, among others:
•the diversion of management attention to integration matters;
•integrating operations and systems, including intellectual property and communications systems, administrative and information technology infrastructure and financial reporting and internal control systems, some of which may prove to be incompatible;
•conforming standards, controls, procedures and accounting and other policies, business cultures and compensation structures between the businesses;
•integrating employees and attracting and retaining key personnel, including talent;
•retaining existing, and obtaining new customers and suppliers;
•managing the expanded operations of a significantly larger and more complex company;
•contingent liabilities that are larger than expected; and
•potential unknown liabilities, adverse consequences and unforeseen increased expenses associated with the transaction.
Many of these factors are outside of our control and/or will be outside the control of the N&B Business, and any one of them could result in lower revenues, higher costs and diversion of management time and energy, which could materially impact the business, financial condition and results of operations of our business.
In addition, even if the operations of our business and the N&B Business are integrated successfully, the full benefits of the transaction may not be realized, including, among others, the synergies, cost savings or sales or growth opportunities that are expected. These benefits may not be achieved within the anticipated time frame or at all. Further, additional unanticipated costs may be incurred in the integration of our business and the N&B Business. All of these factors could cause dilution to the earnings per share of IFF, decrease or delay the projected accretive effect of the transaction, and negatively impact the price of IFF common stock following the transaction.
Current IFF shareholders’ percentage ownership interest in IFF will be substantially diluted in the N&B Transaction.
The IFF common stock outstanding on a fully-diluted basis immediately prior to the N&B Transaction will represent, in the aggregate, approximately 44.6% of IFF common stock outstanding on a fully-diluted basis immediately following the transaction. Consequently, IFF’s pre-transaction equity holders, as a group, will be substantially diluted in the transaction and have less ability to exercise influence over the management and policies of IFF following the transaction.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
Our principal properties are as follows:
Production of flavor compounds; flavor laboratories.
Production of fragrance compounds.
Production of fragrance ingredients.
New York, NY(1)
Fragrance laboratories; corporate headquarters.
South Brunswick, NJ(1)
Production of flavor compounds and ingredients; flavor laboratories.
Union Beach, NJ
Research and development center.
Research and development center.
Production of flavor compounds; flavor laboratories.
Production of fragrance compounds, and cosmetic ingredients.
Production of flavor compounds and ingredients, and fragrance ingredients; flavor laboratories.
Flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Production of flavor compounds and ingredients, and fragrance compounds.
Production of fragrance ingredients.
Production of flavor and fragrance compounds; flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Rio de Janeiro
Production of fragrance compounds.
Production of flavor compounds and ingredients.
Production of taste solutions.
Production of flavor and fragrance compounds; flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Production of flavor compounds and ingredients, and fragrance compounds; flavor laboratories.
Production of flavor compounds and flavor ingredients.
Production of fragrance compounds.
Flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Production of flavor compounds.
Production of fragrance ingredients.
Production of flavor compounds.
Production of flavor compounds and ingredients; flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Production of savory solutions.
Production of flavor compounds.
Production of flavor and fragrance compounds.
Flavor and fragrance laboratories.
Production of flavor compounds.
Production of flavor, food systems and savory powders.
Production of fragrance ingredients.
Production of health products.
Production of flavor compounds.
Production of savory solutions.
Production of fragrance compounds.
Production of health products.
Production of food systems.
Production of savory solutions.
Production of savory solutions.