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According to surveys the global market for vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements has a business volume of $30bn (approx. EUR 23bn). Lately, this figure was recognized by pharmaceutical companies, consumer goods industry and food companies. Now, they compete for new targets.

The most recent exemple has been a fierce bidding of Bayer and consumer good manufacturer Reckitt-Beckinser for US company Nutrition Schiff. Hence, the price for the vitamin producer with a business volume of EUR 259m had soured to $1.4bn. Bayer missed out.

More takeover battle for small and medium-sized companies are expected in the ‚consumer-health-care-products‘ industry in the future.

Comment: The highly fragmented market for vitamins still offers ample scope for consolidation. Especially for pharmaceutical companies nonprescription drugs are a business that is easier to forecast than high-risk pharmaceutical research.

The example of Nutrition Schiff reflects how high expectations for this market segment are: The Bayer offer that was ultimately overbid already matched 18 times the expected EBIT of Schiff. For the current financial year the company forecasts a growth in sales of 43-46% up to $385m.

Other examples from the pharmaceutical and the food industry show that over-the-counter and supplementary product segments are becoming increasingly popular. German chemical group BASF has already acquired Scottish company Equateq and Norwegian company Pronova Biopharma, two companies specialized in Omega-3 capsules, this year. Also, pharmaceutical company Sanofi and Coca-Cola have created a joint venture under the name of „Beautific Oenobiol“ this year. The joint venture is supposed to boost marketing of health drinks. It is planned to launch several drinks strenghtening hair and nails, improving skin texture, reducing weight and increasing vitality.

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