Unigrains leads investment into France’s ABCD Nutrition

Picardie Investissement and Generis Capital Partners have also reinvested through the capital raise, ABCD Nutrition's largest yet.

Agri investor Unigrains has led a private equity investment into ABCD Nutrition to become a minority shareholder and its largest financial partner.

Picardie Investissement and Generis Capital Partners have also reinvested through the capital raise, ABCD Nutrition’s largest yet.

ABCD Nutrition, a group of French companies specializing in organic and gluten-free food products,  has grown to nearly 150 employees since inception in 2009. The group has experienced sales growth of over 20 percent in each of the last three years, with 2016 sales exceeding €20 million ($21.2 million).

A spokesperson for Unigrains declined to disclose the amount of the investment. But sources said the funds will be used for ABCD Nutrition’s global expansion, with a focus on Italy, Germany, UK and Scandinavia.

Exports currently make up 15 percent of sales, mainly through private label activities and the Les Recettes de Céliane brand. Other brands include Viadélice, Biothentic, Moulin d’Amhara and Ets Moulin,

“In this new phase of our young group’s history, our ambition is to be the French expert in organic foods and gourmet nutrition,” said Bruno Pierre, President of ABCD Nutrition, in a statement. “Our DNA, centered on innovation and production, is strengthened by the arrival of our new partner, Unigrains.”

The group is present across segments including the production and sales of gluten-free grocery products and organic bread, as well as the packaging and sales of certified organic grains, legumes, seeds and nuts in supermarkets and specialized organic shops.

It has eight production lines across sites in the French communes of Moreuil, Roye, Novillers and Avignon, with an additional site planned for Noyon; the latter will enable the group to significantly increase capacity, according to a statement from Unigrains.

In October, Unigrains hired David De Almeida as international business manager, responsible for supporting the international growth and investment strategies of Unigrains and the companies it backs.

The firm concurrently announced today that, along with Sofiprotéol, it has provided France’s Arterris with longterm financing for the acquisition of the sheep and cattle businesses of three companies, Dufour Sisteron, Ovimpex and Ovimpex Distribution. The spokesperson declined to comment further on the loan and its terms.

Unigrains manages €1.10 billion of assets and has invested more than €360 million in over 330 companies, according to PEI data.