PARIS, FRANCE — InVivo Group, a French agricultural cooperative group operating in several key countries, on Jan. 14 said it is in discussions to acquire Soufflet Group, a French family group operating in food and agriculture. If completed, the transaction would create a French-based leader in agriculture and agribusiness with an international footprint.
Financial terms of a potential transaction were not disclosed.
InVivo and Soufflet said the combined company would focus on addressing the challenges and issues of societal, environmental and technological nature facing the agricultural and agribusiness sectors as well as on the issue of food sovereignty while creating value for both farmers and all stakeholders of the French agri-business sector.
The companies would have combined revenues of nearly €10 billion, with about half of that generated outside France. The merged company also would have more than 12,500 employees worldwide, operating more than 90 industrial sites, including 59 sites in France.
“Access to food has become a strategic issue reinforcing the need to preserve the food sovereignty of both France — the ‘Made in France’ label — and Europe,” said Philippe Mangin, chairman of InVivo Group. “Bringing our two groups together would enable us to address this challenge by providing a 100% French answer and would represent a key driving force for the agricultural transition and the interests of ‘la Ferme France’.”
Specifically, the combined company is expected to bring together their international grain trading activities while also uncovering value in complementary businesses with limited overlap, including Soufflet’s flour milling and malt production and InVivo’s wine distribution.
“Soufflet Group’s heritage and family values remain the key assets of our identity and play a fundamental role in the relationship of trust that we have developed with farmers, our partners for more than 120 years,” said Michel Soufflet, chairman of the supervisory board of the Soufflet Group. “With this project, we would be able to continue serving and supporting our farmer customers to strive, as they have always done with us in the past.”
Jean-Michel Soufflet, chairman of the executive board of the Soufflet Group, added that the success of the combination between InVivo and Soufflet would be based on the preservation of each company’s identity, “continuing to capitalize on their roots, reputations as well as local and international footprints, in order to enable them to pursue their respective development and serve their partners, whether they are industrials or farmers, following the dynamics of the cereals sectors built up over the years.”
“By joining forces with InVivo, our family group would find a Franco-French solution to preserve its identity, ensure the continuity of its activities and maintain both its ties in Nogent-sur-Seine and its regional presence,” he said.
Thierry Blandinières, chief executive officer of InVivo, said he expects the combination of the two companies to strengthen their international positioning, particularly in the trading of cereals.
“The complementarity of all our other activities as well as the consolidation of both our material and human resources, our legitimate expertise and unique agronomic knowledge, developed over decades, and our strong territorial presence would allow us to operate across the entire value chain,” Blandinières said. “We would thus be ideally positioned to respond to the increasingly complex challenges arising from the agricultural and food transition that only major players are able to handle.”