The Corbion timeline
We started life as CSM nv - a company that spanned multiple markets with a broad product portfolio that evolved over time while always remaining close to our biobased activities.
1903-1967 How it all started
CSM started out as a domestic sugar processing company in 1919 called NV Centrale Suiker Maatschappij (CSM, Central Sugar Company), based in the Netherlands. The company diversified its portfolio into foods and biochemicals. But in fact our heritage can be traced even further back - to 1903, when a company called Caravan Products began selling spices and flavors in the United States: Exactly 100 years later, CSM acquired Caravan Products (which merged with American Ingredients in 2006 to become Caravan Ingredients).
1968-1984 Entering the lactic acid market
In 1968, CSM started a joint venture called the Chemie Combinatie Amsterdam, or CCA, and by the 1980s it had become a significant producer of fermentative (natural) lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives. CSM gained full control of CCA in 1982 and soon opened its first US sales office, called Purac. Over the next several years CSM would acquire various other branded food and confectionery manufacturers in Europe.
1985-1993 High growth and vertical integration
In 1986, CSM acquired the Spanish lactic acid producer Louis Ayuso SA, while continuing to expand through the acquisition of key lactic acid users, including the American bakery ingredients producer, C.J. Patterson. These two companies then merged to form American Ingredients Company. Meanwhile CSM advanced further in the bakery ingredients market with the acquisition of Westco Products (USA) in 1992.
1994-2005 No more sugar
In this period CSM builds a new derivatives plant in the US, a calcium lactate plant and a lactic acid powder plant in the Netherlands - as well as acquiring various bakery supplies operations in Europe and North America, including Unilever's European bakery supplies business in 2001. Three years later though, CSM has shifted its focus to its B2B activities, and by 2007 has sold off all its branded food, sugar confectionery, sugar production activities.
2006-present The biobased revolution
In 2006, the American Ingredients Company and Caravan Products merged and became Caravan Ingredients, selling lactic-acid-based emulsifiers, functional blends and fortification ingredients. Meanwhile, Purac became a centre for innovation, focusing to bioplastics, biobased building blocks, and natural preservation solutions for food.
In mid-2012 CSM divested its bakery supplies activities in North America and Europe and used the proceeds to transform further into a biobased products company. This strategic transformation also entailed a new name for the company: Corbion.
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