The deal is the second investment in France made by EPEF IV, which held a successful €1.5bn final close in January 2013, and is EPEF IV’s ninth investment since the fund started investing in November 2011. Céréa Capital co-invested alongside Equistone and members of the management team.
Founded in 1988, Bretèche Industrie is a supplier of manufacturing and production equipment for the agro-food industry and for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. It employs almost 800 people and operates seven production sites in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.
The previous owners Azulis Capital – which has held the majority of the Bretèche’s equity since 2006 – Unigrains, and the Group’s founder, Daniel Bréfort, have sold their interests in the group.
Arnaud Meynial, who has led the group since 2010, has refocused the business on its core offering through a series of acquisitions and asset disposals. In 2012, it generated turnover of around €165m, primarily from exports.
Equistone said it would to support an “ambitious” growth strategy for Bretèche Industrie. It hopes to acquire companies which will complement its existing offering, and help it to grow its product offering and geographic footprint. In particular, Bretèche Industrie aims to consolidate its positioning in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors, and also develop its sales in emerging markets, according to Guillaume Jacqueau, managing partner of Equistone Partners Europe.
He said, “Bretèche Industrie’s impressive track record underlines that it is possible to perform even in a challenging market. Equistone has a strong history of helping its investments expand their presence in international markets, and is delighted to be able to leverage this experience to help Bretèche achieve its growth plans. We are confident that Bretèche has the capacity to succeed in the next stage of its development.”
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