Symrise was founded in 2003 by the merger of Haarmann & Reimer (H&R) and Dragoco, both based in Holzminden (Germany). In 2002 private equity firm EQT Northern Private Equity and Bayer reached an agreement on the acquisition of Haarmann & Reimer while acquiring the shares of minority holders of DRAGOCO. Horst-Otto Gerberding, majority holder and Chairman of the Executive Board at DRAGOCO, placed all of his shares into the new corporation and the merger was completed May 23, 2003.
Dragoco was founded in 1919 by Carl-Wilhelm Gerberding and his cousin August Bellmer. Haarman & Reimer was founded in 1874 by Holzminden chemists Ferdinand Tiemann and Wilhelm Haarmann after they succeeded in first synthesizing vanillin from coniferin. Holzminden was the site where vanillin was first produced industrially. In 1953, H&R was acquired by Bayer.
In April 2005 Symrise acquired Flavours Direct, a UK based manufacturer of compounded flavours and seasonings.
In January 2006 Symrise acquired Hamburg based Kaden Biochemicals GmbH, a producer of specialty botanical extracts.
In November 2006, Symrise announced plans to sell shares worth €650 million in an IPO. The firm also announced that its main shareholders, including EQT, would also sell shares worth an unspecified amount. The IPO would leave well above 50% of Symrise shares in free-float. Deutsche Bank and UBS conducted the listing on December 11, 2006. Symrise was listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with the trading symbol SY1. With 81,030,358 shares issued at an issue price of €17.25 for a total volume of €1.4 billion, it was the largest German public offering of 2006.
On 19 March 2007, Symrise was added to the MDAX stock index.
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