Avril specialty additives and biosecurity business secures millions from investors

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Investors are showing confidence in the growth potential of the biosecurity and nutritional specialty feed additives division of the Avril Group.

The Novi 1 fund, managed by Tikehau Investment Management (IM), is funding the development of the BSN line of that French group to the tune of €11.9m. Avril, itself, is investing €15m in the division to accelerate expansion in emerging markets.

“The reason why we decided to invest in Avril’s BSN line is that it is a very diversified business, covering both animal nutrition and farm biosecurity, and it is well positioned in a growing sector,” said Nathalie Bleunven, private debt and corporate lending executive, Tikehau IM.

The Novi 1 fund is dedicated to support growth and innovation in the French economy. It is backed by institutional investors and the French government through the Caisse des Dépôts (CDC), and is targeted at small and medium sized enterprises (SME).

“The amount of €11.9m in financing for the BSN line from the Novi 1 fund is an upfront payment, following an extensive due diligence process. So now, BSN is able to actively look at further development of that business internationally,” she told FeedNavigator.

Bleunven said Tikehau IM sees Avril as a strong partner, a motivating factor in its capital investment move. The group, she continued, is seen as an innovator and the leader in France in terms of animal feed production through the Sanders brand, as well as having a firm foothold in oilseeds and protein production.

“This is the first time Novi 1 has backed a company operating in the agro food business, but we are looking for more funding opportunities in that sector,” she added.

BSN line

Avril’s Biosecurity and Nutritional Specialties (BSN) business focuses on two main activities: specialty additives, nutritional specialties, pre-mixes, minerals for livestock production and preventive hygiene of both buildings and animals.

In 2015, its first consolidated year of activity, the division achieved turnover worth €129m, said Avril.

The BSN business line works through its French entities – notably MiXscience and Theseo – and its international platforms, particularly in Poland, Turkey, Vietnam, Cameroon and Brazil.

Avril said, as a result of this €26.9m capital injection, the BSN line will be able to widen its footprint in markets with high growth potential such as West Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

Brazil alliance

June this year saw MiXscience form a “strategic alliance” with Brazilian feed additive and premix player, Salus Group.

Jean-Pierre Paillot, CEO of MiXscience, told us then it was taking a majority share, through a capital increase, in the Brazilian company, which was founded in 2011. “Salus founders remain significant shareholders,” he said.

MiXscience had screened potential investment opportunities in Brazil, describing it as a target country for the company and the third most dynamic feed additive market globally:

“Thanks to our local network, we quickly identified Salus as a highly reputable player. First contacts confirmed that we share common values and vision. We are long term investors and believe in the future of this company,” said Paillot then.

He said the goal of the partnership, which is subject to approval by competition authorities, is to capitalize on both companies’ knowledge and expertise to serve the needs of farmed animal producers in Brazil as regards both feed inputs and analytical services.

Demedicalization of livestock units including disease prevention, control of the environment and the enhanced immune status of animals is said to be a fundamental objective of the alignment.

The partners said they want the alliance to be recognized in Brazil as leading the charge when it comes to innovative and sustainable feed additive and premix R&D.

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