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3i and Siparex realise stakes in Carso after revenue grows three fold

3i and Siparex will sell their minority stakes in Groupe Carso, a leading provider of analytical services to the healthcare and environmental sectors in France, to FSI and Euromezzanine for an enterprise value of EUR130 million.

Founded in Lyon in 1992, Groupe Carso currently leads the French market in providing analytical services to various industries including environmental services and food processing.  The group posted sales of EUR 110m in 2010 and employs 1,400 staff.  
Following a growth capital investment by 3i and Siparex in 2005, the company has grown an average of 30% year on year. The investment provided Group Carso with the capital to accelerate its growth, mainly through acquisitions in France, Greece, Netherlands, Italy and Spain. 

During the five years of working together, Group Carso has seen rapid growth: 

  • Annual sales have almost tripled, from EUR 40m to EUR 100m, with organic growth and acquisitions accounting for 2/3 and 1/3 of this growth respectively.
  • The group has expanded its range of analytical services.
  • Market share has grown as a result of ambitious marketing and unparalleled production capacity in France.
  • Potential acquisition targets have been lined up in Europe and Asia.

Groupe Carso’s new shareholders, FSI and Euromezzanine, will provide additional resources to accelerate the company’s growth and strengthen its market position, through organic growth, acquisitions and consolidating its position with French ministries and local government authorities, which account for 75% of its clientele.    

Bruno Schnepp, Group Carso chairman who will maintain his majority shareholding, explains: "We have exceeded the targets we set with our investors in 2005. Groupe Carso has also preserved its independence while profiting from the support of tier-one financial partners who have helped us set up an efficient organisation we needed to support our growth.  They have actively supported the company’s strategy to develop the business and win new markets.”

Siparex, Benoît Métais, Co-chairman Growth Capital/Transmission and Olivier Richard, Associate Director Associé, commented : "This has been an exemplary growth capital investment. Thanks to the Carso Group’s talented management team the incomparable quality of its products and services, it has almost tripled in size, consolidated its positions in the market and gained solid positions in others."

3i Partner Denis Ribon and Director Antoine Faguer add: "3i’s role is to finance and support growth projects, often through acquisitions and internationalisation. Our partnership with Bruno Schnepp and Groupe Carso’s management is a perfect example of what we are looking for and do well. The three-fold increase in the group''s annual sales will multiply the value of our initial investment by 3.4. Groupe Carso’s new shareholders will enable it to pursue its growth while allowing its senior management to retain a majority stake."

Deal Team
3i: Denis Ribon, Antoine Faguer
Sigefi Private Equity (Groupe Siparex):  Benoît Métais, Olivier Richard

Vendors and Management 
M&A: DC Advisory (G de Sagazan, JC Quiniou, L Vercken) 
Legal/Tax/HR: STC (A Frasson Gorret, C Couderc, J Talleux), Orsay (P Douin) 
Financial : KPMG (N Pesson, J Trincano, F Steck) 
For further information, contact:

Patrick Dunne, 3i      
Tel:  +44 20 7975 3566

Bruno Schnepp, Carso     
Tel:  + 33 (4) 72 76 16 00

About 3i 
3i is an international investor focused on Private Equity, Infrastructure and Debt Management, investing in Europe, Asia and North America. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio, shareholders and fund investors.

About Carso  
Based in Lyon, France, Groupe Carso provides a full range of analytical services for the environmental sector (water, soil and building analysis) and for the food-processing, construction and genetic engineering industries. The group employs over 1 400 people and expects to post annual sales of 110 million euros in 2010.

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