AXA spices up portfolio

French buyouts firm AXA Private Equity has acquired a majority stake in the Benelux food ingredients group Sfinc from GIMV.

Sfinc produces and distributes spices, marinades and functional food ingredient blends for food processing companies and it focuses on food ingredients such as natraceuticals, coatings and aromas and spices.

The Benelux-based company is the result of a merger in 2004 between two Belgian companies, Rejo and Pellicula. Rejo historically targets retail/distribution channels while Pellicula’s primary client segment is the food processing industry.

As a result of a buy-in transaction in 2004, GIMV and buy-in manager Chris de Wolf acquired a majority stake in the newly formed group, and in 2007 the business grew further through the acquisitions of three complementary businesses, Maes Specerijen, Surplus and the FFI in the Netherlands. Since then, turnover has more than doubled from €15m to an estimated €35m in 2008.

CEO of Sfinc, Chris De Wolf, said: “We are pleased to have found in AXA Private Equity a first-class partner with a deep understanding of the food ingredient sector, a strong track record in build-ups and a well-rounded international network.”

The existing management team will remain in charge of the company and will pursue the company’s buy-and-build strategy.

Arnaud Dufer, director at AXA Private Equity, said: “Our investment in Sfinc is a perfect example of how we like to work. This is a quality company with a quality management team. We look forward to supporting Sfinc over the long term, including both organic and external growth internationally.”