Equistone to Invest in Charles & Alice

Equistone Partners Europe is investing in the Charles & Alice Group, a French manufacturer of fruit desserts. The transaction is part of a secondary MBO alongside CM-CIC Capital Finance, shareholder since 2007, and the current management team led by President Thierry Goubault.


Equistone Partners Europe Limited, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity managers, today announces that Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV (“EPEF IV”) will invest in the Charles & Alice Group (“Charles & Alice”, “the Group”), a well-known French manufacturer of fruit desserts. The transaction signed today is part of a secondary MBO alongside CM-CIC Capital Finance, shareholder since 2007, and the current management team led by President Thierry Goubault.

The origins of the Group began with Vaucluse-based Charles Faraud, which specialises in fruit processing and is a leader in delivering fruit and vegetable-based products for the food service sector. In 2007, Thierry Goubault became President of Charles Faraud with CM-CIC Capital Finance becoming the majority shareholder. In 2010, Charles Faraud acquired Hero France, a specialist manufacturer of fruit desserts without added sugar and baby food products, based in the Drôme orchards. The new group was renamed Charles & Alice, a new brand for its range of fruit desserts.

The Group employs 350 people across two production sites, the first in Allex in Drôme and the second in Monteux in the Vaucluse. In 2012, Charles & Alice generated turnover of €120m.

Charles & Alice has established itself as a leading producer of fruit desserts. The Group is well known for the quality and innovation of its product ranges, and for its commitment to the environment. In 2000, Charles & Alice launched one of the first ranges of desserts with no added sugar, and in 2009 created an organic range which uses 100% French fruits, following an agreement with three growers in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region to plant eight hectares of organic apple orchards.

With EPEF IV’s investment, Charles & Alice plans to accelerate its growth both in France and abroad. Charles & Alice has also raised additional finance from CIC Mezzanine, alongside its pool of traditional bank lenders.

The deal, which is subject to approval by competition authorities, is expected to complete in September.

Thierry Goubault, President of Charles & Alice Group, commented: “In addition to increasing the management’s investment in the business to over 20%, this deal will give Charles & Alice a major international investor which will be able to support the acceleration of our growth. We also extend our thanks to CM-CIC Capital Finance, who first partnered with our business in 2007, and has supported us ever since, notably for the merger with Hero France.”

Frédéric Plas, Director at CM-CIC Capital Finance, added: “It has been six years since we initially invested in Charles & Alice, and in that time Thierry and the management have grown the business substantially. Seizing opportunities for growth and reaching out to new investors have been our strategic priorities, in order to create the best possible future opportunity across their markets. CM-CIC Capital Finance supports entrepreneurs and their businesses in the long term; as such it was an obvious choice to continue to support Thierry Goubault in this venture.”

Guillaume Jacqueau, Managing Partner of Equistone Partners Europe Limited, concluded: “Charles & Alice is a truly innovative business built around strong values. We are pleased to be able to help grow such an innovative entrepreneurial business, which has pursued national and international growth whilst still supporting the local economy. This is the twelfth investment from EPEF IV, and perfectly illustrates our commitment to helping quality management teams achieve success.”


Notes to editors

About Charles & Alice Group
· For more information, please visit, www.charlesetalice.fr

About CM-CIC Capital Finance
· Venture capital, development capital, capital transfer, mergers & acquisitions.
· CM-CIC Capital Finance works across a number of areas to best meet the financial and funding needs of companies. Our successful approach is characterised by high standards of professionalism, a bespoke approach towards business, working closely with business leaders, and a commitment to supporting businesses in the long-term. CM-CIC Capital Finance manages €2.6bn in capital and has invested nearly €2.1bn across 600 different companies.
· For further information, please visit www.cmcic-capitalfinance.com

About Equistone Partners Europe Limited
· Equistone Partners Europe Limited is an independent investment firm owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity.
· In January 2013, it successfully completed the final closing of Equistone Partners Europe Fund IV with total capital commitments of €1.5bn.
· The Company is one of Europe’s leading investors in mid-market buyouts with a successful track record spanning over 30 years, with more than 350 transactions completed in this period.
· EPEF IV has a strong focus on change of ownership deals and aims to invest between €25m and €125m of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between €50m and €300m.
· The Company has a team of 33 investment professionals operating across France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams.
· Equistone Partners Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
· For further information, please visit www.equistonepe.com

Guillaume Jacqueau, Grégoire Chatillon and Julie Lorin led the deal for Equistone Partners Europe Limited. Frédéric Plas and Jean-Christophe Vuillot led the deal for CM-CIC Capital Finance.


Advisers to Equistone
Legal: SJ Berwin (Thomas Maitrejean, Benjamin Garçon)
Financial due diligence: KPMG (Vincent Delmas, Jad Barakat)
Commercial due diligence: Roland Berger (Olivier de Panafieu, Marie Collignon)

Advisers to CM-CIC Capital Finance
M&A: Leonardo (Valérie Pélereau, Antoine de Boissoudy)
Legal: Duteil avocats (Philippe Fieloux, Gonzague Basso)
Financial due diligence: Ernst & Young Transactions Services (Marc André Audisio, Alexis Thura, Olivier Deloire)
Commercial due diligence: LEK (Rémy Ossmann, David Danon-Boileau )

Advisers to Management
Legal: Lamy & associés (Pierre-Jean Ferry), Ernst & Young Tax (Matthieu Autret)

CIC Mezzanine 5 (François Petit, Gaspard de Longeaux)
Leonardo Corporate Finance (Philippe Charbonnier)
SJB Berwin (Olivier Vermeulen)

Banque Palatine, arranger of the mandate (Etienne Pirard, Thierry Jay)
CIC Lyonnaise de de Banque, co-arranger
Crédit Lyonnais
Banque Populaire Provence et Corse
HSBC France

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CM-CIC Capital Finance

Agence Résonance Médiatique
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