PAI Partners exits after more than six years as a shareholder in Chr. Hansen. Novo is the main owner of drug maker Novo Nordisk and industrial enzymes producer Novozymes.
The company does not intend to take control of Chr. Hansen but to be a long-term minority shareholder, Novo CEO Henrik Guertler said in the statement.
Novo is hunting for more corporate holdings to diversify its investments, Guertler said. The Danish investment arm of Novo Nordisk Foundation has excess cash of as much as 3.5 billion kroner ($600 million) annually and is looking for stakes in Scandinavian and European companies, he said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We want to place this excess liquidity in well managed, profitable companies and not just in shares and bonds,” Guertler said by phone.
“Chr. Hansen is the first example of putting that money to work. There will be more coming of similar investments.”
Novozymes and Chr. Hansen will be left to operate their businesses independently, without interference, Guertler said. Novo will seek representation on the board of its latest investment, he said.
Chr Hansen competes in some areas with Novozymes, but “they will be left to themselves,” Guertler said. “There will be no attempts to mix it up. It’s seen as a financial investment in Chr. Hansen.”