Firmenich SA is a private business specialising in flavors and fragrances and is a major worldwide chemical manufacturer. Their fragrances and flavors are generally used in perfumes, cosmetics, beverages, food, and other household products. Worldwide, Firmenich currently employs approximately 4,500 people at 46 locations. Major competitors include Givaudan, International Flavors and Fragrances and Symrise. It bought Noville in 2006.
The company was founded as Chuit & Naef in 1895 in Geneva (Switzerland), by chemist Philippe Chuit and businessman Martin Naef. Fred Firmenich joined in 1900 and later became the majority partner. The company was eventually renamed Firmenich SA. Its current CEO is Patrick Firmenich.
Originally a fragrance company, Firmenich first branched into the flavor business by creating a raspberry substitute in 1938, followed by creations of citrus and strawberry flavors. Multiple other flavors followed in the booming field of flavor synthesis, spurred by the developing trend of companies worldwide selling processed foods and preserved foods. Since then, Firmenich has become a world leader in the creation and sales of natural and artificial food flavors.
In 1939, Firmenich director of research and development Lavoslav Ružička was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This company continues to have an outstanding reputation in Chemistry.
On May 3, 2007, Firmenich announced that it is to acquire the flavors division of Danisco in a deal reportedly worth €0.45 billion. The deal is expected to move Firmenich ahead of IFF as the second largest flavor company in the world. The two companies will also form a strategic partnership that they claim: