French supplement player buys Swiss probiotics firm

"The first objective will be to develop a network of health professionals throughout Switzerland..." ©

France-based PiLeJe Group has paid an undisclosed sum for 30-year-old Swiss probiotics company Phytolis – its fourth European probiotic purchase in recent years.

PiLeJe Group managing director Christian Seyrig told us the Swiss firm with €4.5m annual sales had previously distributed PiLeJe products in Switzerland.

Healthcare professionals would be a primary target for the products designed to “complement allopathic medicine”.

“Phytolis distributes PiLeJe product for many years and is one of the leading food supplement companies in Switzerland,” Seyrig said.

The products would be sold as food supplements for the major part and also as pharmaceutical raw material for magistral preparation for phytotherapy extracts”.

In the deal, Phytolis founder Dr Gerald Langel retains a share of his company and will be “actively involved in its development”.

The first objective will be to develop a network of health professionals throughout Switzerland, drawing on PiLeJe's expertise in the provision of training,” Seyrig said.

Phytolis focused on areas like “micronutrition, phytotherapeutic prescriptions and weight management”.

The 25-year-old PiLeJe Group operates in 31 countries and has a turnover of about €100m.

Seyrig said the firm was looking for partnerships or acquisitions in more countries as it pursues a strategy of “rapid and on-going internationalisation of the Group”.

Its other recent activities include buying Folsanmed in Spain, Biocure in Italy and creating an entity to service the Benelux countries. 

Seyrig played down the importance of the current ban of probiotic marketing in the European Union under the nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

“Probiotic marketing is based on science, clinical results, and word of mouth,” he said. “We at PiLeJe are working hard educating health professionnal about our strains.

Some product-specific probiotic health claims have been approved in non-EU state Switzerland for the likes of Danone, Yakult and DuPont-Danisco.

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