Riverside invests in HealthTech BioActives

The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market, has invested in HealthTech BioActives (HTBA).

HTBA is a Spanish manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), excipients, flavourings and sweeteners for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries, as well as ingredients for human and animal feed with a total sales of EUR51 million in 2018. T

he company’s products, derived from citrus and vitamin B12 derivatives, sell in more than 90 countries worldwide. HTBA is a carve-out of Ferrer, a well-known international pharmaceutical company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain.

The deal includes the 140 employees of HTBA, including the commercial team, the  manufacturing plant located in Beniel (Murcia) dedicated to bioflavonoids and natural flavors for more than 41 years, the Sant Quirze plant (Barcelona) dedicated to animal nutrition and the workshop dedicated to Vitamin B12 derivatives located in the Sant Cugat (Barcelona).

“We are looking forward to working with the already successful HTBA team,” says Riverside Partner Rafael Alvarez-Novoa. “Some of our priorities when working with HTBA will be to focus on strengthening the commercial team and implement a sales excellence program to boost revenues, pursue new customers and accelerate new product development.”

Riverside is attracted to the global market for these unique ingredients-based companies because of positive growth trends in nutraceuticals and food ingredients, particularly among mid-sized and smaller companies, boosted by changing consumer preferences towards more natural and healthier food. Earlier this year, Riverside launched its own Flavor & Specialty Ingredient Industry Advisory Board comprised of specialty ingredient experts. This investment comes on the heels of Riverside’s successful recent (early 2019) divesture of Euromed, a Spanish-based company engaged in the production of standardised botanical extracts and natural active substances for the pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries.

“There is incredible potential in the flavor industry for us,” says Riverside Principal Damien Gaudin. “We’re excited to help accelerate HTBA’s new product development, driving sales and increasing its existing product portfolio during our hold.”

Following on from the sale of its generics and immunotherapy divisions, the disinvestment of HealthTech BioActives represents another key step in Ferrer’s strategy of focusing on its core business: the research, manufacturing and commercialisation of branded pharmaceutical products that offer patients and healthcare professionals innovative treatment options. This process of restructuring Ferrer’s assets, which Mario Rovirosa began as CEO in 2018, has significantly reduced the complexity of the company and aims to ensure financial sustainability.

“We are very pleased to have reached this deal with Riverside,” says Mario Rovirosa, CEO of Ferrer. “Not only does it reinforce our corporate strategy to focus on the branded pharma market, but it also offers a future of growth for HealthTech BioActives.”

Working with Alvarez-Novoa and Gaudin on the deal for Riverside were Senior Associate Michele Volpe and Associate Laura Palacio Aragon.

KPMG served as carve-out and financial advisor, Garrigues and Advocatenkantoor Parmentier provided legal and tax counsel, A&O acted as a legal advisor for the financing process, Dextra Corporate acted as exclusive buy-side M&A advisor, PWC as ESG and buy-side debt advisor, Roland Berger as commercial advisor and financing was provided by LGT Private Debt on the deal for Riverside.

Deloitte served as financial, legal, tax and exclusive sell-side M&A advisor on the deal for Ferrer.