Siparex leads MBO for French freight firm Malherbe


French private equity firm Siparex has led an investment syndicate in an MBO for freight company Malherbe.

The company’s management, headed by chairman Alain Samson, will be the majority owner, alongside a new group of financial investorsincluding CDC Entreprises (investing under the FSI France Investissement programme), UNEXO, Socadif and NCI.

Siparex made the investment via its €115m Siparex MidMarket III vehicle, which the firm raised in 2012.

The deal is the fund’s maiden investment, acquiring a stake from private equity firm NiXEN Partners.

Malherbe, founded in 1963, has made some ten acquisitions in the past five years, including the 2011 purchase of five local players – Le Gal Transports, Leroloc, Lerosey, Transports Vincent, Grosdidier.

With nearly 1,300 employees, 750 motor vehicles in service, and 21 offices, Malherbe had sales of nearly €200m in 2012.

At the same time as the investment syndicate was organized, a facility was arranged from banks including BNP Paribas, Arkea Banque Entreprises et Institutionnels, Banque CIC Nord Ouest, Banque Palatine, Caisse d’Epargne et de Prévoyance Normandie, Caisse Régionale de Crédit Agricole Mutuel de Normandie and Crédit Lyonnais.

The investment will be used to pursue targeted acquisitions aimed mainly at extending its geographic coverage in France and abroad, it said.

Bertrand Rambaud, chairman of Siparex Group, and Pierre Bordeaux-Montrieux, managing director, said, “We were won over by the quality and experience of the group’s management, and especially by the vitality inspired by majority owner Alain Samson and his team on this deal. Our experience of investing in freight industry leaders enabled us to apprehend the pertinence of Malherbe group’s management and growth model.

“This deal, which brings together other financial partners that work closely with Siparex Group, should also enable the company’s management to pursue its acquisition strategy. An initial acquisition may be finalised in the weeks ahead.”

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