ARCHIMED buys CARSO, a leader in purity testing for pharma and other industries
In partnership with CAPZA, Siparex, management and founders, ARCHIMED aims to accelerate growth through further internationalization and service range expansion.
Transatlantic private equity healthcare specialist ARCHIMED announces the purchase from its former shareholders, including private equity firms EMZ Partners, RAISE, Siparex, Unigrains and Etoile Capital, of a majority stake in Lyon-based CARSO through its €1 billion MED Platform I fund. CARSO spun out from France’s National Center of Sciences in 1992 as a specialist in the identification of organic pollutants (dioxins). Following years of organic growth and more than a score of acquisitions, CARSO is now France’s purity testing leader in pharma, healthcare, the environmental, food and other fields – all related to public safety. Purity testing focuses on common toxins, producing synergies and efficiencies for groups like CARSO that work across industries.
“With ARCHIMED’s financial backing and industry knowledge, we can take maximum advantage of our existing scale, moving into new areas and offering international clients the kind of one stop-shopping they’re looking for in a still fragmented global market,” says CARSO founder and Chief Executive Bruno Schnepp.
“As a purity testing leader in France, Europe’s most developed market, CARSO is ideally placed to consolidate its industry”
ARCHIMED Partner, Antoine Faguer.
Bruno Schnepp, whose desire to retire from active management sparked this proprietary deal, keeps a minority stake in CARSO. Two French private equity firms also hold minority stakes in CARSO, CAPZA (largest minority shareholder) and Siparex. Following the sale, Bruno Schnepp will move to a non-operational board position. Replacing him as CEO is Eric Sarfati, formerly President of France at SGS, the largest inspection, verification and testing company in the world. “We’re positioned to grow sales and profits well above averages in an industry where some 60 percent of revenues are accounted for by considerably smaller players,” says Sarfati. Over the next five years, CARSO and ARCHIMED, together with financial partners CAPZA and Siparex, are aiming to double the group’s current annual revenues of more than €200 million.
This will not be the first investment in CARSO for Antoine Faguer and Managing Partners Vincent Guillaumot and Denis Ribon. The three formed the core of the 3i global healthcare team that held a minority stake in CARSO between 2005 and 2011. Working closely with Bruno Schnepp and his managers, they helped execute six add-on acquisitions, generating a return in excess of three times 3i’s investment.
Tikehau Capital and CARSO’s commercial bankers, Crédit du Nord, Arkea, Banque Populaire, LCL and Crédit Agricole, provided debt financing for the deal. MED Platform I owns five additional platforms: Madrid-based SUANFARMA, a manufacturer of APIs and nutraceuticals; Italy-based Bomi Group, Europe’s leading healthcare-specialist contract logistics organization; US-based NAMSA, the world’s preeminent contract research organization for Medtech; UK-based DHG, a North European leader in hospital equipment; and Stragen, a Swiss-based developer of hard-to-make generic drugs. MED Platform I has invested over 70% of the €1 billion it raised through its final close in August 2020. ARCHIMED also manages MED I, currently ranked the best performing buyout fund at a global level for the 2014 vintage, according to Preqin data. MED I has distributed more than four times invested capital to limited partners and has a total return in excess of six times invested capital.
About CAPZA Expansion www.CAPZA.co
CAPZA Expansion specialises in supporting families, entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs in the mid-market segment with a strong capacity for post pandemic acceleration. The team was born out of AXA France’s desire to contribute to the revitalisation of the French economy by entrusting CAPZA with a €500 million investment. CAPZA Expansion has the capacity to invest in transactions aimed at strengthening the capital structure. It differentiates itself by a “tailor-made” approach, both in terms of governance as well as financial instruments: equity (ordinary or preferred shares) and quasi-equity (bonds, bonds with share warrants, convertible bonds). CAPZA Expansion is positioned as a minority shareholder of reference, actively involved in transforming and value-creating projects alongside the management, either organically or through external growth operations, relying in particular on CAPZA’s European network.
Caroline Karpiel, ckarpiel@CAPZA.co, +33 (0)6 47 62 07 35
Gwenaëlle Boucly, gboucly@CAPZA.co, +33 (0)6 31 77 78 72
About Siparex www.siparex.com
Siparex Group, an independent French specialist in private equity, has €3bn of capital under management. Siparex enjoys substantial organic growth, and has carried out significant acquisitions. The group works to help companies grow and transform. From start-ups to ISEs, it finances and provides support for great entrepreneurial adventures thanks to its different business lines: Innovation under the name of XAnge, Energy Transition (Tilt), Entrepreneurs, Distressed Capital, Mezzanine, Midcap, and ETI. The Group can count on its significant presence across the country and abroad, with 6 offices in France (Paris, Lyon, Nantes, Lille, Strasbourg, and Toulouse), 3 in Europe (Milan, Munich, and Brussels), and partnerships in Africa and North America.