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AXA Private Equity supports Diana’s ambitious growth strategy

Diana, the French food manufacturer backed by AXA Private Equity, has acquired Givaudan’s vegetables, wines and vinegars extracts range.

This is Diana’s fourth transaction since June and reflects the company’s ambitious growth strategy.

AXA Private Equity has also set up a EUR50m “payment-in-kind” tranche, financed by JP Morgan Mezzanine and Mezzvest, to help finance this and other planned future acquisitions.
The acquisition of the assets from Givaudan follows Diana’s recent purchase of US food manufacturer Pacific Pure Aid and also French mushrooms’ extract specialist Arômes de Chacé. Diana has also recently created Ecuaprotein, a new AquaSea site in Ecuador, which specialises in the production of marine extracts for use in food.
AXA Private Equity originally acquired Diana, which also produces ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry, in 2007. The firm has continued to support Diana’s management through the company’s consolidation of its leading market position in several product areas and geographies, including Asia, the US and Eastern Europe. Diana now generates 50 per cent of its turnover outside Europe and aims to increase this figure to 60 to 70 per cent in the near future, to take advantage of opportunities in emerging markets.
Bruno Ladrière, managing director at AXA Private Equity, says: “In a difficult market we have been able to raise additional financing to provide Diana with the financial power to take advantage of new opportunities. This is thanks to the continued strong performance of the company and its low levels of leverage. AXA Private Equity will continue to support Diana in its ambitious growth strategy. The way we work with Diana’s management illustrates how we bring value to our portfolio companies.”
Olivier Caix, chief executive of Diana, says: “Since its inception, Diana has been actively pursuing opportunities in fast-growing markets and has continued to perform strongly. We have implemented an ambitious acquisition strategy, notably in the food ingredients sector, which remains very fragmented. Thanks to the support of AXA Private Equity, we have been able to close four acquisitions since June, which clearly positions us as a world leader in natural solutions for the agro-food industry. We will now look for additional build-up opportunities.”

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