April 11, 2018 / 8:45 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Foreign competitors eye acquisition of Israel's Frutarom -media

(Adds Symrise spokesman declines to comment, updates share price)

TEL AVIV, April 11 (Reuters) - Two overseas companies recently approached Israel's Frutarom Industries regarding the possibility of acquiring the flavours and fine ingredients maker, financial news website Calcalist said on Wednesday.

Frutarom said in a statement in response to the report that it had not reached any agreements with any company about a possible deal.

Frutarom has a market value of $5.5 billion and any acquisition deal could be worth $6 billion-$6.5 billion, Israel's Calcalist said, adding that one of the interested companies was U.S.-based International Flavors & Fragrances , the No. 2 player in the sector globally.

It did not name the other company, but TheMaker, another website, said German company Symrise was the other.

A spokesman for Symrise declined to comment. Officials for IFF were not immediately available for comment outside of normal U.S. business hours.

The report sent Frutarom's shares up 6.9 percent in late morning trade in Tel Aviv.

In a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Frutarom said that it held talks from time to time regarding possible strategic measures, including via a merger or acquisition.

"The company has not reached any agreements with any party regarding a deal and there is no certainty that such talks will lead to an agreement for a deal or what the terms would be," it said. "The company continues to focus on achieving its business targets."

Interest in Frutarom comes after Geneva-based Givaudan said last month it planned to launch an offer for French natural ingredients group Naturex after agreeing to buy a half-billion euro minority stake in the firm.

Givaudan is the market leader.

Frutarom itself has been growing through a steady stream of acquisitions, having bought 12 companies in 2017.

Its sales in the fourth quarter grew 23.7 percent to a record $357.5 million and the company expects 2018 to be another record year. It is targeting $2.25 billion in sales by 2020. (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Additional reporting by Patricia Weiss in Frankfurt; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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