PE veteran André La Forge joins Champlain Financial as advisory partner


André La Forge, advisory partner, Champlain Financial Corp; photo courtesy of Entrepreneur Capital.

Champlain Financial Corp has recruited André La Forge as an advisory partner.

La Forge joins from Entrepreneur Capital, an investor in lower mid-market opportunities in Québec and Ontario. He was for three years a partner alongside Guy Bessette and Eric Doyon, Entrepreneur’s founders.

Previously, La Forge spent more than 15 years as an investment pro at several Canadian private equity firms. He started out as a senior vice president at Borealis Private Equity, which in 2001 raised a $375 million fund capitalized primarily by OMERS.

In 2007, La Forge became a managing partner of Kilmer Capital Partners, sponsored by Kilmer Group, a family office led by billionaire Larry Tanenbaum. Three years later, he signed on as a managing director of Roynat Equity Partners, the PE investment arm of Scotiabank’s Roynat.

Based in Montréal, Champlain was founded in 2004 by Managing Partner Pierre Simard. Simard is also a co-founder of Champlain Capital, an affiliated Boston-based PE firm, where he serves as a partner.

Champlain invests in small- and mid-cap companies, many of them with Québec headquarters. Target businesses typically have Ebitda of $3 million to $10 million and are located in consumer, retail distribution, healthcare and niche manufacturing sectors.

Champlain currently has 10 disclosed portfolio companies. Among them is its most recent investment, La Canadienne, a Montréal-based maker of women’s winter footwear. In July, the firm led a consortium that bought La Canadienne.

Others include Baxters Canada, a Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec-based maker of canned soups and sauces, acquired in 2018 by another Champlain-led group, and Nova Scotia’s Cheticamp and Riverside Lobster, together a seafood platform acquired in 2017.

A fifth business, Choisy Laboratories, a Louisville, Québec-based hygiene solutions provider, was sold earlier this year to Ardian-owned Kersia.

At Champlain, La Forge will source, execute and manage lower mid-market opportunities, with a focus on Québec and Ontario. He will retain an interest in two Entrepreneur companies, including Spencer Supports Canada, an apparel brand bought in June that is based in Montréal and Stanstead, Québec.

Other senior members of Champlain’s team include Partners Scott Jackson and Jean-Stéphane Yansouni, both former McKinsey & Co consultants.