ArchiMed acquires French purity testing company Carso

The sellers include EMZ Partners, RAISE, Siparex, Unigrains and Etoile Capital.

ArchiMed has acquired Carso, a French purity testing company. No financial terms were disclosed. The sellers include EMZ Partners, RAISE, Siparex, Unigrains and Etoile Capital.


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.
Trans-Atlantic 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.

“As a purity testing leader in France, Europe’s most developed market, CARSO is ideally placed to consolidate its industry,” says ArchiMed Partner, Antoine Faguer. “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.

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 ArchiMed –
With offices in the US and Europe, ArchiMed is a leading investment firm focused exclusively on the healthcare industries. Its mix of operational, medical, scientific and financial expertise allows the ArchiMed team to serve as both a strategic and financial partner to European and North American small and middle-market businesses. Prioritized areas of focus include biopharmaceutical products & services, life science tools, medical devices & technologies, diagnostics, healthcare IT and consumer health. ArchiMed helps partners internationalize, acquire, innovate and expand their products and services. Over the last twenty years, ArchiMed’s leadership team has directly managed and invested in over eighty small to large-size healthcare companies globally, representing over €50 billion of combined value. ArchiMed manages over €3 billion ($3.4 billion) in healthcare assets across its various funds. Since its inception, ArchiMed has been a committed Impact investor, both directly and through its Eurêka Foundation.