'Nutraceutical' company sells for $28M

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BRATTLEBORO — It would be easy for the casual passerby to miss NutraGenesis.

The downtown Brattleboro company maintains no storefront, and there's no prominent sign pointing the way through a side door and up a set of stairs to the firm's second-floor offices.

But the booming "nutraceutical" industry is taking notice: NutraGenesis has been purchased for $28 million by Innophos, a New Jersey company that says it is seeking to aggressively capitalize on "mega-trends" in the health and wellness business.

"We are confident that the acquisition of NutraGenesis will strengthen our growth profile and create sustainable value for our customers and shareholders," Kim Ann Mink, Innophos' chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in announcing the purchase.

NutraGenesis administrators declined to comment on the sale, referring questions to Innophos.

A "nutraceutical" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a foodstuff that provides health benefits in addition to its basic nutritional value."

NutraGenesis says it provides many such products to the dietary supplement, and food and beverage industries. The company's naturally derived substances are aimed at a variety of health issues, such as stress and weight management; immune system support; anti-aging and beauty; energy and cognitive function; and cardiovascular health.

The company has kept a relatively low profile in Brattleboro. According to online corporate information, NutraGenesis was founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife team Peter and Suzanne McNeary.

Both have lengthy experience in the dietary supplement industry, and they've apparently guided NutraGenesis to quick success. In 2008, the Reformer reported that the company was seeing "triple-digit growth" and recently had won an industry award for a new health and beauty supplement crafted from Indian gooseberry and the herb ashwagandha.

Peter McNeary told the paper that the company was "selling good health," and the couple also touted the "good, solid science" behind their clinically tested products.

The McNearys also founded an affiliated company, Icon Group, in 2008. And Peter McNeary founded Tradeworks Group in 1996.

All three corporate entities - Icon Group LLC, Tradeworks Group Inc. and NutraGenesis LLC - are bundled together under the NutraGenesis umbrella for the purposes of the sale to Innophos Holdings.

In announcing the sale, Innophos lauded NutraGenesis' "strong and established portfolio of branded ingredients" for national and international customers. The Brattleboro company has been serving "high-growth nutraceutical markets," executives said.

The acquisition is part of a growth strategy for Innophos, which says it is a "leading international producer of specialty ingredient solutions" for clients in the food, health, nutrition and industrial sectors.

The publicly traded company says it employs about 1,400 people and generated $725 million in revenue in 2016. The goal, according to investor-relations literature, is to make Innophos a $1.25 billion company by 2022.

In August, Innophos announced the $125 million acquisition of New Jersey-based Novel Ingredients, a dietary supplement company.

The NutraGenesis deal "builds on the recent acquisition of Novel Ingredients and further strengthens our position as a leading specialty ingredient solutions provider to attractive end-markets," Mink said.

It's not clear how many people NutraGenesis currently employs in Brattleboro. Innophos did not immediately respond to questions about staffing on Tuesday, but the company reportedly has said there are "no planned relocations" of NutraGenesis staffers at this point.

Mike Faher reports for the Brattleboro Reformer, VTDigger, and The Commons. He can be contacted at mfaher@vtdigger.org.

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