Sofiprotéol, the finance and development arm of agro-industrial group Avril, has successfully increased its equity capital by €100 million – a move that will allow the company to accelerate investment in the agri-food sector by deploying larger amounts of capital on an annual basis.
“The capital increase was realized through the creation of a specific vehicle on which no details were disclosed when the operation was announced,” a spokesman for Groupe Avril told Agri Investor. However, he did confirm that as a result of the capital hike, Avril Group’s stake in Sofiprotéol now stands at 70 percent compared with 84 percent previously.
The capital increase, which brings Sofiprotéol’s equity capital to a total of €440 million, was made possible by the participation of two new investors – Credit Mutuel Arkéa and French insurer Groupama – in addition to the firm’s existing partners. These include Crédit Agricole, Natixis, Unigrains and a number of French trade organizations representing the oilseed, grain, animal feed, and agricultural trade sectors.
“This operation provides Sofiprotéol with additional resources to carry out its mission to support companies in the French and European agrifood and agroindustry sectors, which it achieves through minority stakeholdings and loans,” the Paris-based firm said, adding that its commitments could now reach up to €75 million from €50 million prior to the capital hike.
The company invests across the agricultural value chain, focusing on upstream plant production; upstream animal production; the marketing of plant and animal products, agricultural processing and food ingredients; retail food products; and sustainable innovation and investment funds.
Asked whether Sofiprotéol would be focusing on any specific sectors in the near- to medium-term, Avril’s spokesman responded that “it is too early to anticipate sectors that could be targeted in the future. That will depend on opportunities.”
News of the company’s increase in equity capital comes just one month since Sofiprotéol, in partnership with asset management firm Tikehau Capital, announced the closing of Sofiprotéol Dette Privée, a €205 million debt fund that will invest in agribusinesses by providing interest-only loans or by financing acquisitions.