Letter to our Stakeholders

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Dear Reader,

Welcome to our first Integrated Annual Report, in which we reflect and report on the inaugural chapter of our new company and share our initial milestones and achievements.

In 2023, DSM and Firmenich joined forces in a merger of equals to create dsm-firmenich, a company in a category of one. Bringing together more than 200 years of combined history, along with closely aligned values, the closing of the merger marked the start of our journey as innovators in nutrition, health, and beauty, and the beginning of a new chapter for our shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and partners.

With a team of nearly 30,000 employees and a network of 340 sites across 60 countries, we are poised to lead in the reinvention, manufacturing, and combination of vital nutrients, flavors, and fragrances. By working closely together with our customers to create what is essential for life, desirable for consumers, and – simultaneously – more sustainable for the planet, we aim to bring progress to life for billions of people around the world.

Against the backdrop of the creation of our new company, we faced very challenging market dynamics and soft macro-economic conditions in 2023. We suffered from unprecedented low vitamin prices, a continued destocking cycle and negative foreign exchange effects. We took several actions to address these headwinds and reduce our costs. Despite the headwinds, we remained committed to the successful integration of the merger and the delivery of our targeted synergies.

Delivering synergies through Integration

Our focus in 2023 was on integrating the two legacy organizations, with business continuity and delivery of the targeted synergies as key priorities. The transition proceeded smoothly, thanks in large part to the solid preparatory work done by the integration teams.

We are well on track to achieve our target synergies of approximately €350 million Adjusted EBITDA per year. Around half of this is expected to come from cost efficiencies, with the full run rate achieved by the end of year 3. The remaining part of the synergies is expected from incremental revenues of €500 million, generated by an acceleration of innovation with customers. There has been good early progress and we are building the full pipeline, whereby the full run rate is expected by the end of year 4. These revenue synergies are driven by complementary capabilities and realized in the three Business Units with the strongest strategic adjacency - Perfumery & Beauty (P&B), Taste, Texture & Health (TTH), and Health, Nutrition & Care (HNC).

To guide us on our integration journey, we launched our new shared values – Shape the Future, Be a Force for Good and Own the Outcome – which are based on the heritage of our two strong cultures. We are proud to see these being brought to life in our interactions with colleagues, customers, suppliers, and partners.

Navigating a tough environment

As indicated above, we operated in a tough macro-economic environment in 2023, characterized by unprecedented low vitamin prices, but also by a continued destocking cycle and negative foreign exchange effects. In this challenging context, P&B recorded good performance while performance in TTH was solid. HNC, but especially Animal Nutrition & Health (ANH), were weak on exceptionally low vitamin prices and destocking. 

In light of these unprecedented economic conditions, we initiated the vitamin transformation program and accelerated our plans implementing our cost synergies from the merger. The restructuring program of our vitamin activities, which we embarked on mid-year, was our largest profit improvement and cost reduction measure in 2023. This program is expected to result in an estimated Adjusted EBITDA contribution of around €200 million per year with the full run rate to be reached by the end of 2024. By year-end of 2023, we already made strong progress in executing the program through the closure of the Xinghuo vitamin B6 plant in China and shutting down the Jiangshan vitamin C production in China. Moreover, the sales model now supports a ‘go-to-market’ approach which is simpler and more efficient in the current market environment.

We also advanced the review of all our business segments. This led us to the initiation of a process to separate out the ANH business from the Group which we announced 15 February 2024. This should strongly reduce our exposure to vitamins earnings volatility and reduce our capital intensity in line with our long-term strategy. We believe that the full potential of our attractive and future-oriented ANH business could be best realized through a different ownership structure.

Supported by our innovation pipeline, all these actions will help us to prioritize and accelerate the company’s nutrition, health and beauty high-growth and higher-margin businesses, all of which is reflected in our mid-term targets.

Strategic growth investments

As a global player in nutrition, health, and beauty, we continued to invest in our businesses during 2023. For example:

  • We commissioned a new state-of-the-art Habanolide® facility in our production site in Castets (France), significantly increasing the production capacity of this iconic perfume ingredient and helping meet the rapidly growing demand for sustainable products
  • We strengthened our business offering in health and nutrition by acquiring Adare Biome, a pioneer in the development and manufacturing of postbiotics 
  • We are building a large-scale plant in Dalry (United Kingdom) to produce Bovaer®, our new, innovative, methane-reducing feed additive for ruminants. We began the construction of office spaces and application laboratories at our Biotech Campus in Delft (Netherlands), including leading-edge facilities for food application development, especially suited for co-creation with our customers
  • We inaugurated a new state-of-the-art Science & Research Hub in Kaiseraugst (Switzerland), which will house more than 200 researchers specializing in chemistry, data science, personal care and aroma, and analytics

Innovation-driven growth

Innovation is a cornerstone of our growth, and we continuously invest in Science & Research. In 2023, we invested more than 700 million in R&D and innovation and published 233 new patents.

We strive every day to provide industry-leading Science & Research capabilities that focus on meeting the needs of our business and our customers. These capabilities are designed to drive the innovation required to deliver on our purpose and to provide differentiated solutions that combine the essential, the desirable, and the sustainable.


DSM and Firmenich each had a long history as pioneers in sustainability and a proud track record that we are determined to continue. The year 2023 was an opportunity to assess the legacies of both companies in order to bring together a new overarching sustainability strategy for dsm-firmenich in 2024. It also was a year in which we made progress on a range of initiatives that generated positive impact for both planet and people. This included scaling up our methane-reducing feed additive for ruminants, Bovaer®, reaching 677 million people with fortified food, and helping to improve the lives of 92,000 smallholder farmers. As part of our commitment to sustainability, sustainability goals represent 30% of the total target value of our Short-Term Incentive Plan, and 50% of the total target value of our Long-Term Incentive Plan.


During the course of the year, our co-CEO Géraldine Matchett stepped down to further her career elsewhere, in full alignment with the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has expressed its great gratitude to Géraldine Matchett for her significant and impactful contribution to the former company DSM, as well as its thanks to both Géraldine Matchett and the former CEO of Firmenich, Gilbert Ghostine, for their roles in bringing about dsm-firmenich. The Board of Directors expressed its full support for Dimitri de Vreeze as sole CEO as from 1 September 2023.

The Board of Directors of dsm-firmenich is essentially composed of Members of the former DSM and Firmenich Boards. Thanks to a set of strong common values and like-minded approach, the Board of Directors quickly developed mutual trust and respect, thus enabling it to rapidly and effectively provide guidance and make decisions on strategy, performance and sustainability – all in the context of a very challenging macro-economic environment.

The Board of Directors scrutinized the topics of Quality, Safety and Compliance during its meetings. It follows up on compliance with Legal, Safety and Quality standards and expects all employees to uphold the company’s commitment to legal and ethical business practices as enshrined in our Code of Business Ethics. Following the launch of an industry-wide investigation by the European, US, UK and Swiss competition authorities in March 2023, the company fully cooperates with the authorities.

The Board of Directors met seven times between its appointment in April 2023 and the end of the year, while the various Board Committees each met three to six times. The full details can be found in the Board of Directors section of this Report.

Looking ahead

The decisive actions taken in 2023, combined with our innovation drive, will provide a solid base from which we will be able to deliver strong growth in the years to come. With our market-leading and highly complementary portfolio of ingredients, science capabilities, and technologies, we are uniquely positioned to achieve our ambitions.

In conclusion, we extend our sincere gratitude to our stakeholders for their support and commitment. The collective efforts of our talented teams, the support of our shareholders, and the trust of our customers, suppliers, and partners continue to be the driving force behind our achievements. In particular, we want to thank our employees for their drive, passion and commitment during a momentous year.

As we embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, we are confident that dsm-firmenich is well positioned to deliver a future of success through positive impact.

Warm regards,
Thomas Leysen and Dimitri de Vreeze


Chairman of the Board

de Vreeze

Chief Executive Officer


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