Natra celebrates 70 years of history

Monday, 01 April 2013.

Natra celebrates 70 years of history

Natra's beginnings date back to 1943, when three Valencian chemists laid the foundation of what would be for many years the only company in the world that used all of the cocoa bean.

Natra, Spanish listed multinational, a reference in the manufacture of chocolate products and cocoa derivates, with a specialized approach to distribution brands and other food companies, celebrates this year its 70th anniversary in the cocoa industry.

Natra's beginnings date back to 1943, when three Valencian chemists laid the foundation in the city of Valencia of what would be for many years the only company in the world that used all of the cocoa bean, as it obtained out of them theobromine, caffeine, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cocoa powder and organic fertilizers, serving industries as diverse as pharma, soft drinks, cosmetics, chocolate, confectionery and agriculture.

Natra was founded as A. Benlloch – Laboratorios Natra, whose object was the extraction and purification of theobromine, a natural alkaloid only found in cocoa, which was highly valued in the pharmaceutical industry. The cocoa shells were acquired in Equatorial Guinea, then a Spanish province, which led the founders to settle there in 1950. It was this contact with the world of cocoa which led them to extend their activities to the field of food, using the whole of the cocoa bean instead of just the shell.

It was also in 1950 when the company moved to a new plant built in Mislata (Valencia), and it continued to develop successfully in the industries of both natural extracts -and, particularly, caffeine, an alkaloid closely related to theobromine-, and all cocoa derivatives for the food industry.

In 1978 Natra started trading on the Spanish Stock Exchange, first in Valencia and later in Madrid, in 1991, being one of the few food and pharmaceutical companies present in the Spanish stock market.

In the first decade of the new century Natra undertook the spin-off of its ingredients activity –with the establishment of its subsidiary Natraceutical-; the diversification into the production of chocolate products and the acquisition of four plants in Europe, which allowed the creation of a complete product portfolio that currently includes chocolate coatings, chocolate and cereal bars, Belgian chocolates and truffles, chocolate tablets and spread creams. 

But probably one of the most important strategic decisions for Natra in the last decade was the specialization of the company towards the distribution brand (private label), which turned Natra into one of the leading suppliers among the largest global distributors.

The company currently maintains business relationships in sixty countries on five continents, to which Natra provides one of the most extensive product portfolios in Europe, supported by constant innovation and research work on new recipes and packaging solutions.

Currently, Natra’s cocoa and chocolate team comprises around 1,000 people, mainly located in the company production plants of Quart de Poblet - Spain (145 people), Oñati - Spain (550), Belgium (350) and France (120).

This business ended 2012 with a turnover of 326.62 million euro, 20% of which already outside Europe. For the coming years, Natra will focus on further development of the company into new export markets outside Europe and on fostering long term partnership with its customers, having quality and innovation as fundamental pillars for the sustainable development in the long run.

70 years of past history since Arturo Benlloch, Alvaro Faubel and Juan R. Ferrándiz started the first laboratory tests in their small premises in Valencia until a strong international position now that allows the company to look to the future with renewed goals.