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Interview: Pancosma CEO working on a new feed additives unit

In late 2014, French agribusiness InVivo NSA became the new majority shareholder of feed additive producer Pancosma. For Daniel Kofel, CEO of Pancosma, a new job arose: creating a feed additives business unit which can operate independently. Kofel speaks to Pig Progress correspondent about the delicate task of merging 2 large companies.

With his focus firmly fixed on ‘doing things that make sense’, Daniel Kofel has been charged with the delicate task of merging two companies and turning the resulting business entity into a key player in the global feed additives market.

There can be little doubt that multi-lingual Swiss-born Kofel will go all out for success. He co-owned and managed the feed additive producer Pancosma for ten years and more than quadrupled its turnover before the arrival of a new majority shareholder, InVivo NSA in 2014.

BIOGRAPHY

Daniel Kofel, 53, was named managing director of the new combined feed 
additives division Pancosma & Associates within Invivo NSA. Prior to becoming MD at Pancosma & Associates, he had been co-owner and CEO of feed additives company Pancosma – and increased the company’s turnover tenfold between 1996 and 2015. Kofel has a long history in agriculture as his alma mater is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. This university is one of the leading international universities for technologies and natural sciences – Kofel followed courses in agriculture and animal production and completed a masters degree in Agronomy. He started his professional agricultural career at the agricultural mill Fritz Marti in St Gall, Switzerland, in 1990, before moving to Pancosma in 1996.

In an interview with Pig Progress, Kofel explained that he believes the feed additive business is a strategic area for the future. By combining the teams behind Pancosma and Neovia, InVivo NSA’s feed additives brand, into one dynamic unit called Pancosma & Associates he hopes to be able to serve customers around the world.

After Kofel completed his studies in Switzerland and the USA, he spent more than five years with a private feed mill in charge of feed formulation and animal trials, as well as nutrition for veal calves before being appointed chief executive of the Pancosma Group.

Business models

“Fortunately both Pancosma and its associates have the same sort of business models that are based on research and development to find solutions to meet the needs of their customers and this will make it easier for me to bring them all together,” explains Kofel, who is fluent in German, English and French.

Asked if this meant that he would be moving from Switzerland to live in France, Kofel was quick to say ‘no’. “We currently have people in both companies working around the world and they will now all become part of the same team, but nobody will have to move to remain under the new integrated operating structure, except if it’s specific wishes as part of a job promotion,” he says.

Pancosma's manufacturing plants

Pancosma owns manufacturing plants in 5 different countries: France, Switzerland, Canada, Poland and China. Each one is specialised in the manufacturing of one or several product ranges, ensuring a high level of manufacturing process know‐how and better risk control. It has been active in a range of seven different product lines, all combining together to provide a profound knowledge about premier effects and the use of the related accurate galenic such as flavouring and sweetening palatants, plant extracts, organic trace minerals, toxin binders, acidifiers blends and TakTik’s with transversal tailor‐made solutions for specific needs.

Neovia’s core business, meanwhile, has been to design, produce and sell feed additives based on natural ingredients. This entity has identified mycotoxin contamination and the trend towards ‘demedication’ as the two main areas on which it will focus its development. Thanks to their active ingredients and specific mode of action, its feed additives are seen by many as a natural option to reduce antibiotics’ usage, take care of animals’ health and optimise performances.

“With the marriage of these two specialist feed additive companies, we will be able to pursue and accelerate its development strategy while benefiting from both entities’ worldwide footprint and R&D capabilities,” explains Kofel.

“We will have a great deal of knowledge and a vast amount of experience in different markets and various conditions across the world at our fingertips. We will also have a huge library of molecules that have already been identified by researchers for various uses in animal feed. We will be able to bring the work of these researchers who are conducting studies around the world together to formulate the precise additives to match the needs of pigs, as well as other species, such as poultry, ruminants and the rapidly expanding aquaculture world,” says Kofel.

Feed additives have an important role in farming

Kofel believes that feed additives are now playing a far more important role in farming to help farmers improve production in all species without the use of antibiotic growth promoters and make their systems more efficient at the same time than ever before – and these will continue to grow in importance.

“We are already seeing some 70 million tonnes of treated feed produced every year – and that is sure to increase rapidly in future – and Pancosma & Associates want to have a bigger share of this market to consolidate its position in the fast-growing sector of speciality additives; not only thanks to organic growth, but also through additional investments, greater product coverage, research, geographical expansions, etc.”

“We are doing things that make sense. I am convinced that feed additives are the way forward to help producers meet their production targets, improve efficiency and keep their animals in a good condition – and research and development will remain a priority in the new business.”

“We will shortly be launching a gut management campaign, because we believe that feeds that have the right nutrients, as well as our feed additives can help to promote gut health to enable animals to cope better with all the different stresses they experience during their lives – they are very similar to humans and sports men and women; if you can provide the right diets, they will feel more comfortable and have more energy, and they will perform better. “If animals are stressed, they will waste their energy on maintaining body condition, with negative effects on growth and production.”

Kofel assures that the pig market will ‘always remain very important for us, because we have a leading position in this area’. “This is especially true as far as gut health and energy levels are concerned,” he explains. “We will certainly not give up on pigs. We will keep going the way we are – science-led with a clear-cut approach to developing new products to meet new demands. And with our latest innovations we will provide solutions for all species, crowned by a commercial success.”

Admitting that he is facing some ambitious targets, Kofel appears confident that he will be able to achieve all of them to ensure that Pancosma & Associates reaches its stated aim of growth. In order to make this business run sustainable on the long term, the group also hired a new CEO who comes from the feed additives business.

Finally all this will be possible thanks to the development of new problem solving solutions, investments in fundamental and applied research, enlargement of competencies, geographical expansion and diversification.

Roger Abbott

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