Firmenich SA is a private Swiss company in the fragrance and flavor business. It is the largest privately owned company in the field and ranks number two worldwide.[1] Firmenich has created perfumes for over 100 years and produced a number of well-known flavors.

Firmenich International SA
IndustryFlavors, Fragrance, Ingredient
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland
Key people
Gilbert Ghostine (CEO), Patrick Firmenich (Chairman)
ProductsFlavors, Fragrance, Ingredient
RevenueCHF 3.9 billion (2019)
Number of employees
over 8,000 (2019)

Firmenich employs 8,000 people across 66 facilities[2]. Major competitors include Givaudan, International Flavors and Fragrances and Symrise.


The company was founded as Chuit & Naef in 1895 in Geneva by chemist Philippe Chuit and businessman Martin Naef. Fred Firmenich joined in 1900 and later became the majority partner. The company was renamed Firmenich SA. Firmenich's board named Gilbert Ghostine as CEO to succeed Patrick Firmenich, effective October 1, 2014.[3] Patrick Firmenich was elected as chairman of Firmenich’s Board of Directors as of October 12, 2016.[4]

Originally a fragrance company, Firmenich branched into the flavor business by creating a raspberry substitute in 1938, followed by creations of citrus and strawberry flavor. Other synthetic flavors followed for use in processed foods and preserved foods.[1]

In 1939, Firmenich Director of Research and Development Lavoslav Ružička was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.[5]

On May 3, 2007, Firmenich announced that it would be acquiring the flavors division of Danisco, Noville, in a deal worth €450 million.[6][7] The deal was expected to move Firmenich ahead of IFF as the second largest flavor company in the world.[1]

On July 11, 2017, Firmenich completed the acquisition of Agilex Fragrances, expanding its ability to serve mid-sized customers in North America.[8]

On December 13, 2017, Firmenich announced the acquisition of Flavourome, an established privately held flavors company in South Africa, to expand its presence in Africa.[9] On February 5, 2018, Firmenich confirmed the successful completion of the acquisition.[10]

In 2018, Firmenich completed the acquisition of Senomyx[11]. Earlier in the year the company also acquired Campus[12], an innovator in the application of natural functional ingredients for protein, specializing in clean label, meat, dairy, sauces and plant-based food, as well as Natural Flavors, a manufacturer of flavors for the food and beverage industry.

Firmenich is a member of the European Flavour Association.[13]


  1. "Flavor & Fragrance Industry – Top 10". Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  2. Stuart, Eden. "Firmenich Posts FY 2019 Financials". Perfumer & Flavorist. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  3. "Firmenich Names New CEO Gilbert Ghostine, Effective Oct. 1". Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  4. "Firmenich Appoints New Chairman, Board Members". Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  5. "Forward-thinking research for fragrance & flavor expertise". Firmenich. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  6. Heller, Lorraine (July 3, 2007). "Danisco completes flavours sale to Firmenich". Food Navigator. William Reed Business Media. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  7. "All News". Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  8. "Firmenich to Acquire Agilex Fragrances". Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  9. "Firmenich Acquires Flavourome". Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  10. "Firmenich Acquires Flavourome". Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  11. "Firmenich Acquires Flavourome". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  12. "Firmenich Acquires Campus". Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  13. "About EFFA". EFFA. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
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