Enzymes from Novozymes A/S might have had a hand in brewing your beer, washing the mustard stain off your shirt, turning corn into ethanol for your car, or even treating your medical condition. The company produces more than 700 kinds of enzymes, microorganisms, biopolymers, and proteins used by more than 40 industries in 130 countries worldwide. Its enzymes are used in detergents, foods, animal feed, and other industrial and commercial products. The firm's microorganisms are used in wastewater treatment, and its proteins and biopolymers are used in pharmaceuticals. Novozymes is a sister company to Novo Nordisk, and the not-for-profit Novo Nordisk Foundation controls a majority of Novozymes' voting stock.
Enzyme sales account for more than 90% of Novozymes' revenues. Its largest segments produce enzymes used in technical fields, such as biofuel and textile manufacturing, and the production of detergents. It also makes a wide variety of enzymes used to make foods for humans and animals.
Novozymes' business ended 2009 on an upward trend, with revenues climbing 4% and net income growing 14% over 2008. During a volatile year when revenues were up and down from quarter-to-quarter, overall sales for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region grew by 5%. In addition, sales in both the North America and Asia Pacific regions were up 1% each, but Latin America saw a 1% drop compared to 2008. Sales of biofuels and detergents generally increased in 2009, while sales to the textiles, food, and feed industries were lower.
The company is pursuing expansion in the burgeoning biofuels and biopharmaceuticals industries. Novozymes has biofuel projects in the US and Brazil, among other countries. It is building a new ethanol plant in Nebraska, scheduled to open in 2012. It formed a venture with several food and energy companies in China to produce ethanol from agricultural waste by 2011. Early in 2010, Novozymes launched the first commercially viable enzymes for production of biofuel from agricultural residues, enabling a new formula of biofuel to be used as an alternative to gasoline.
Novozymes supplies enzymes, recombinant proteins, and cell culture media used in pharmaceutical development. The company has a partnership with Human Genome Sciences to use a protein fusion technology to increase the effectiveness and longevity of drugs. The company also has development programs to improve the quality of enzymes used in detergent and food production. In 2010 it even came up with an enzyme that enables breweries to make beer at a lower cost.
Also in 2010, Novozymes acquired EMD/Merck Crop BioScience from Merck KGaA for $275 million. EMD/Merck Crop BioScience develops sustainable products for the agricultural biologicals industry.
Novo Nordisk Foundation, through its Novo A/S unit, controls all of Novozymes' preferred stock (about 17% of the company's shares), as well as some common stock shares, giving it control over about 70% of Novozyme's voting rights. Novozymes was a subsidiary of affiliated drug maker Novo Nordisk until 2000. – less