Savena’s “growth potential” seals private equity firm acquisition

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food

The French food ingredient manufacturer Savena has been snapped up by European private equity company, IK Investment Partners (IK), with plans to double its size within five years.

IK has agreed to acquire Savena from Azulis Capital and Céréa Capital for an undisclosed sum and final closing is expected within four weeks, subject to conditions.

The equity firm’s current portfolio of companies in the food industry already includes some of Savena’s existing customers. They are Snacks International, a salted snacks, private label producer in France and Agros Nova, which makes ready meals and food preserves in Poland.

Now it plans to build Savena’s international presence, as well as new products.

A spokesperson for IK told “Savena has high growth potential due to innovation, new product introduction and extension of its commercial presence. There is also scope for geographical expansion and international development in emerging markets.

“The strategy of both organic expansion and buy and build should allow Savena to double its size over the next five years.”

Savena’s four business areas are taste solutions (aromatic ingredients), meat solutions (functional ingredients), nutrition (dietetic ingredients) and food service.

Founded in 1988, its products include cheese powders, colourings, coatings, food flavourings and extracts, bouillons, weight-loss foods, energy foods and nutrition supplements.

End products include raw and cooked meat, charcuterie and pastry products, sauces and soups, pre-prepared meals, snacks and pizzas.

The food firm is already present in France, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Italy and plans to expand in these countries, as well as targeting emerging markets.

Currently though, half of its turnover originates from France and revenue is expected to reach €90 million this year.

Eric Terré, CEO, Savena, said: “With its credentials in the food industry and experience of building up businesses internationally, IK is the perfect partner for us.

“Savena has a track record of successful expansion and together we can accelerate our pan European development plan.”

In recent years, Savena boasts that successfully increased its sales force, which enabled organic growth of more than 10 percent per year from 2008 to 2010.

Gilles Sicard, head of Cerea Capital, said that since its takeover in 2007 by Azulis Capital and Cerea Capital, Savena “demonstrated fast growth and strong operating performance”.

Sicard added: “The group has comforted its main business lines and structured its international presence with significant investment in the sales force.

“IK is in an ideal position to support the high development potential of Savena.”

Savena employs 250 people and serves 4,000 clients in the food industry.

Food-related companies that IK has “successfully exited”​ in the past include: Labeyrie, producing upmarket gastronomic products and ready meals in France, Pieters, a fish processor and distributor in Europe, and the meat processor Lithells in Sweden.

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1 comment

Double in 5 years

Posted by Brent Roberts,

I love how these PE companies talk about doubling a company's size. One would assume that means introducing efficiencies, expanding sales efforts, investing in R&D and introducing new products.

But of course they are really talking about an debt-laden acquisition strategy. I love how The Private Equiteer calls these "clip-on" acquisitions. Because that's the PE recipe. Lots of debt, lots of crappy misaligned acquisitions.

You can read more about comparing a trade deal to a PE deal here.

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