TORONTO (Reuters) - Cash-rich Royal DSM NV, the world's biggest vitamins maker, is looking to make acquisitions in India and China, possibly including one big one, as it aims for rapid growth in emerging-market economies, its top executive says.
The Dutch company's chief executive, Feike Sijbesma, who recently led a $1.1 billion deal to buy U.S. baby food ingredients maker Martek Biosciences Corp, said there is tremendous urgency to DSM's moves to expand in emerging markets.
"There are attractive targets in India and China. India, China, Brazil - those three focus areas - are an absolute high priority for us," Sijbesma told Reuters in an interview this week.
"We have a lot of cash to be spent," said Sijbesma, who was in Toronto to accept the George Washington Carver Award for innovation at a conference held by BIO, the world's biggest biotech industry association. The company has cash, cash equivalents and current investments of 1.52 billion euros ($2.16 billion).
DSM -- which said on Tuesday it planned to acquire Spain-based natural carotenoids producer Vitatene -- competes with Danisco, Novozymes and Lonza in various markets.
The company expects 70 percent of its growth to come from emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil in five years, Sijbesma said.
DSM sees about half of its sales coming from those regions after 2015, compared with about a third currently. "After 2015, the new world will be bigger for DSM than the old, established world," Sijbesma said.
The United States is now DSM's biggest market, but Sijbesma expects China to overtake it. The company has said that it plans to double sales in China to $3 billion by 2015, investing $1 billion in the country.
In 2010, 19 percent of its sales came from the United States and 14 percent from China.
DSM's Chinese business grew in excess of 30 percent in 2010 and has grown more than 20 percent over the past few years, Sijbesma said.
Acquisitions may not come easily as Indian businesses tend to be family-controlled and the government plays a big role in China, he said.
DSM is currently involved in a deal to buy a 51 percent stake in Taiwan's AGI Corp, a resins company.
Reporting by S. John Tilak; editing by Peter Galloway