Nutreco CEO Wout Dekker to step down at end of 2012, Knut Nesse names successor

Nutreco announced that CEO Wout Dekker will be leaving Nutreco by the end of 2012. This will mark the end of a career at the company encompassing almost thirty years, of which twelve years were as CEO. The Supervisory Board of Nutreco appointed Knut Nesse as his successor
February 9, 2012

Nutreco announced that CEO Wout Dekker will be leaving Nutreco by the end of 2012. This will mark the end of a career at the company encompassing almost thirty years, of which twelve years were as CEO. The Supervisory Board of Nutreco appointed Knut Nesse as his successor. Knut Nesse is currently Chief Operating Officer of the aquaculture division and has been with the company since 1995. During his Nutreco career he has held various management positions and was appointed COO of the Aquaculture division and member of the Nutreco Executive Board in 2009.

"At the age of 55, I have spent more than half of my life at Nutreco", Nutreco CEO Wout Dekker commented. "I have done this with the greatest pleasure and it has been more than rewarding. It has been a privilege to work with so many great people in this exciting and dynamic agriculture and aquaculture industry. Now it is time for change. I can hand over with complete trust in my successor and the Executive Board colleagues and in the growth potential of Nutreco. My primary priorities for 2012 are to make this year a success for the company and to conduct a good handover of responsibilities to Knut Nesse. After having stepped down, I will continue my role in Supervisory Boards of other companies and I will further develop my entrepreneurial interests." 

 "Wout Dekker's decision to step down as Nutreco CEO comes at a logical moment", Chairman of the Supervisory Board Jan Maarten de Jong said. "Not only has he led Nutreco very successfully over the past 12 years, Wout and his team have also laid a solid foundation for a prosperous future for the company. The development and introduction of the growth strategy 'Ambition 2016 - driving sustainable growth' in November 2011 was welcomed by all of Nutreco's stakeholders. Wout Dekker has had a decisive impact on the development, growth and success of the company since joining the Executive Board in 1996. We congratulate him on his outstanding career at Nutreco. We are proud that with the appointment of Knut Nesse we have an internal successor for Wout Dekker and we are confident that under his leadership Nutreco's growth prospects can be realised. Knut Nesse has shown his leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities in heading successfully the Aquaculture division of Nutreco. With the appointment of Knut Nesse we have ensured continuity in the successful development of Nutreco and the execution of the growth strategy 'Ambition 2016 - driving sustainable growth'. During 2012 we will concentrate on a transfer of responsibilities and consider the future composition of the Executive Board in addition to its current members."

The announcement comes as Nutreco reports a total EBITA of EUR 241 million for 2011.  "The past year was important in the history of Nutreco for several reasons. It was the final year of our Rebalancing for Growth strategy and we achieved targets financially", Dekker said. 

"We made advances in our nutritional solutions - creating value for our customers -, reached sustainability objectives and we made commitments for the future. The excellent result in 2011, with a EUR 241 million EBITA, means Nutreco exceeded the target to double the 2006 EBITA of EUR 115 million. In November the Executive Board presented the strategy update 'Ambition 2016 - driving sustainable growth'. At the same time we announced our intention to sell the Hendrix compound feed business to ForFarmers, where it can be a core activity with a leading market position. 

Commenting on Skretting, Dekker said the aquaculture division delivered a record operating result due to strong global volume growth, especially in Chile. The acquisition in 2011 of the Shihai fish and shrimp feed company in China is in line with the strategy to capitalise on Nutreco's leading fish feed positions by expanding in new regions and into feed for other species. It provides a production base in the world's number 1 aquaculture feed market, which is growing in line with demand in China. Shihai owns a new plant with a capacity of approximately 150,000 tonnes and capable of operating to Skretting specifications. 

Looking forward, he said Skrettingwould further capitalise on its leading fish feed positions and on the know-how of the Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre for innovative and sustainable feed solutions. The portfolio of activities will be further expanded into new geographies and feed for more fish species and for shrimp.

Skretting Australia will be able to meet the growing demand for high quality fish feed for salmon, trout, barramundi and tuna in both Australia and New Zealand following completion of the expansion and upgrade of the fish feed factory completed in 2011 for an amount of EUR 20 million. The market volume of fish feed in this region has grown by an average of 10% annually for the past ten years. 

To enable organic growth in Norway, Nutreco announced an investment of EUR 66 million in production capacity expansion and upgrade of its fish feed plant in Averøy. The first expansion phase will be completed in 2012. Phase two will be ready for the 2013 high season and will enable Skretting to supply greater volumes of high quality feed for salmon and maintain its market leadership in Norway, where the market grew by an average of 9% per annum from 2006 to 2011. 

Nutreco's strong balance sheet and cash flow generation make it possible to finance further investments for organic growth in addition to growth by acquisitions. Nutreco manages acquisitions by building a pipeline of target companies that are at or close to Nutreco requirements. Furthermore, Nutreco has established a good basis in Brazil, Russia and South-East Asia through local presence with senior management.