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Unigrains subsidiary doubles up on agri debt

France’s Céréa has added a director to its Dette team and two associates to its private equity unit just months after closing funds in its three strategies.

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France’s Céréa has added a director to its Dette team and two associates to its private equity unit just months after closing funds in its three strategies.

Céréa Partenaire has hired Simon Baccelli as director in its agri-debt focused business as it seeks to deploy its debut vehicle dedicated to the asset class.

The Paris-based subsidiary of Unigrains, a €1bn agricultural asset manager, launched its maiden senior debt fund in 2015, reaching a final close in April 2016 on €268 million. Michel Chabanel, chief executive of Céréa Partenaire, said the vehicle “had seen a solid investment pace” since its creation, with the arrival of Baccelli meant to bolster sourcing and execution capabilities.

The firm has also added Paul de Castries and Laurent Brossaud-Monty as associates to its private equity arm, which reached a €225 million final close on its second vehicle in January. Its €130m predecessor had reached full deployment in 2014.

Céréa Dette acts both as a loan or bond investor through private placements, bullet loans or unitranche. It typically targets French or European agribusiness SMEs with an entreprise value ranging from €30 million to €500 million. It has the ability to underwrite and syndicate, and makes investments of between €5 million and €15 million lasting up to seven years.

The firm had not responded to queries regarding capital deployed so far and expected returns at the time of publication.

Céréa’s senior debt unit is a much newer outfit than its mezzanine activity, which closed its third fund on €200 million in January. Predecessor vehicles, closed on €105 million and €127 million, were full invested in 2008 and 2016 respectively.