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Firmenich Set to Make Major Investment in Geneva

The Swiss fragrance and flavors supplier will spend more than 100 million francs on a new facility there.

PARIS — Firmenich is poised to make its largest investment in Geneva to date.

The Swiss fragrance and flavors supplier said on Wednesday that it is selling its La Jonction site in the city to Geneva state’s pension fund in the support of an urban renewal plan. The proceeds from that transaction — valued at more than 100 million Swiss francs, or $98.9 million — will be invested in a facility being built in the canton of Geneva. The unit is to include an expanded global center for innovation and creation, the company stated.

The new campus will be called Meyrin-Satigny and will cull all of Firmenich’s research and development, creation and support functions in the same locale.

Firmenich had been headquartered in La Jonction since three years after Charles Firmenich started the company in his garage, in the La Servette neighborhood of Geneva, in 1898.

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Firmenich recently invested 60 million Swiss francs, or $59.3 million, in a new perfumery plant in Meyrin, which is in the canton of Geneva, too. That unit is 90 percent automated and represents 25 percent of the company’s fragrance production worldwide. It is Firmenich’s largest manufacturing plant among its 28 worldwide, as well.

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La Jonction houses the company’s most important research and development center globally. It employs 500 people, who generate 65 percent of its research and 85 percent of its intellectual property creation. It is also one of the company’s key creation centers, joining perfumers and flavorists at the site.

As reported, Firmenich posted 6.3 percent growth in sales during its most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30, bolstered by strong research. In the 12-month period, the company registered net revenues of 3.2 billion Swiss francs, or $3.27 billion at average exchange for the fiscal year. In local-currency terms, Firmenich’s sales gained 8.2 percent.

The company is the largest privately-owned fragrance and flavors maker.