InVivo has completed the acquisition of Soufflet in a deal that values its French agribusiness peer at €2.2 billion ($2.5 billion), InVivo's chief executive has said.
The takeover, which was agreed in May following exclusive negotiations that began in January, will give rise to a group with nearly €10 billion in sales with activities from grain trading to wine distribution.
To help finance the acquisition, InVivo is selling a minority stake in Soufflet's malt division to KKR, Credit Agricole and Bpifrance for €440 million, and has entered exclusive talks to sell the Soufflet Alimentaire unit to French oilseeds group Avril, Thierry Blandinieres told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference.
InVivo will also use around €1 billion in proceeds from the sale of its animal nutrition unit to Archer Daniels Midland Co in 2019, as well as some debt, to finance the Soufflet takeover, he added.
For Soufflet's malt business, the entry of the new shareholders would support an aim to double in size within five years using acquisitions, with potential deals being studied in South Africa, the United States, Australia, India and South America, notably Brazil, he said.
In grain trading, InVivo and Soufflet would continue to operate separately, but risk strategy would be shared and current Soufflet trading chief Jean-Francois Lepy would take overall charge, Blandinieres added.
InVivo, a grouping of nearly 200 farmer-owned cooperatives, and century-old family firm Soufflet are among the largest players in the French agricultural sector, the EU's biggest.