1867 - Entrepreneurship in early days biotechnology
150 years ago, a young entrepreneur called Ignatz Lederer builds a spirit distillery in the village of Jungbunzlau in the former Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). Relentless experimentation leads Lederer to discover a way of distilling refined alcohol using the plentiful supplies of sugar beet in the area. Lederer uses his new technology to produce molasses spirit, which is much higher quality than spirit made the traditional way – from potatoes. The resourceful Lederer also uses the distillery’s residues to produce potassium carbonate and the company grows rapidly, enabling Lederer to set up the ‘Actiengesellschaft Jungbunzlauer Spiritus und Chemische Fabrik’ corporation.
1900 - Second site opens in Austria
When Ignatz Lederer steps down as head of the company, his three sons take over and relocate the headquarters of the business from Prague to Vienna. The brothers invest in the company, which is by this time flourishing, and open a second spirit distillery, in Pernhofen some 70 km north of Vienna in Austria. As a consequence of the Second World War and the aftermath several activities are lost and nationalised in Eastern Europe and the remaining parts of the company consist of the activities in Austria.
1962 - Citric acid production begins
1967 - New ownership, new investment
Karl Kahane, the owner of Montana AG, acquires the company from the Lederer family and makes significant investment in upgrading its fermentation technology and improving its overall profitability. Alongside alcoholic spirits, citric acid becomes an important product with substantial market opportunities and gradually the alcohol production is phased out.
1986 - The core business develops
Widening its horizons, Jungbunzlauer investigates a potential new product: xanthan gum. Having been approved for use as a food additive in 1968, xanthan gum is gaining more and more market share as a thickening agent and rheology modifier. A production facility is built at Pernhofen for the new product and Jungbunzlauer enters the xanthan gum market in 1986.
1988 - Production and markets diversify
In 1988 Jungbunzlauer acquires Benckiser’s organic acid division in Ladenburg, Germany. This gives the company its first site within the European Community and underlines its willingness and ability to react to economic trends in Europe in the long-term. With this acquisition, Jungbunzlauer achieves a step-change in its citric acid production capacity and also becomes a producer of sodium gluconate. The foundations are also laid for later product portfolio expansion.
The acquisition includes a sales office in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Today North America represents close to 1/3 of the group sales.
1991 - Reinvesting in society
Karl Kahane establishes the Karl Kahane Foundation (KKF) in 1991 as an independent, privately funded, non-political and non-religious charitable foundation. KKF continues to work with a growing number of organisations in various fields, including Healthcare, Social Welfare, Applied Development Research and Training, Education, Women’s Rights, and Living Conditions in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Canada.
Since 1991 Jungbunzlauer has donated 22 mCHF or 5 per cent of its dividends to the foundation.
1993 - Expansion in Europe and the Far East
1993 proves to be an eventful year. The Jungbunzlauer Holding in Switzerland is founded and the company’s headquarters transfer to Basel.
Also in 1993 Jungbunzlauer Singapore Pte Ltd. is established, with the aim of developing business in the Far East. Growing capacity also increases the company’s raw material needs, and construction of a starch hydrolysate plant with an integrated fermentation unit is completed in Marckolsheim, France.
Unfortunately, Karl Kahane is unable to see his vision for Marckolsheim come true as he passes away in June 1993, and the plant does not open until October. Karl’s three heirs, Alexander, Patricia and Marie-Rose, inherit full ownership of the company and they own the company today.
1996 - Gluconate production begins
1998 - Specialties and Special Salts
Jungbunzlauer expands its portfolio at Ladenburg with products derived from further processing of its core products. This includes a variety of esters that can be used in technical applications, personal care, food and pharmaceuticals, as well as a portfolio of highly bioavailable organic mineral salts produced by neutralising citric or gluconic acid. Today the company has a wide portfolio of these “Special Salts”.
2002 - Expansion in North America
2005 - Europe’s first erythritol
2006 - New presence in Japan and Latin America
2011 - Lactic acid is added to the product portfolio
2015 - Acquisition of glucose plant in Canada
At the end of 2015 Jungbunzlauer takes full ownership of the neighbouring Ingredion facility after it has been reconfigured as a dedicated site for the production of corn-based glucose for fermentation purposes. This enables it to further strengthen Port Colborne’s efficiency and sustainability footprint. Securing a fully vertically integrated supply chain for the production of citric acid and trisodium citrate at Port Colborne is at the core of Jungbunzlauer’s strategy.
2016 - Innovation and application technology in focus
2017 - Jungbunzlauer today
Over the years Jungbunzlauer has grown successfully under the ownership of the Kahane family. Today the company has a turnover of close to 700 mEUR and has over 1,050 employees. A sound profitability and willingness to invest in manufacturing facilities to achieve high quality products and top efficient production processes from a cost and sustainability point of view have positioned the company very well for future growth. More than 850 mEUR have been invested in the company from 2008 to 2016.
Entrepreneurship and long term thinking are two key elements in our commitment to the industries we serve.
Alexander Kahane, Chairman
“From nature to ingredients®” embeds our focus and aspiration to provide healthy, safe and sustainable products and solutions to our customers.
Tom Knutzen, CEO