LBO France, through its Small Caps Opportunities II fund, has acquired a majority stake in the French company Baobag, alongside BNP Paribas Développement, AfricInvest and the management team – the latter led by Fabrice Saffré, to increase the company’s position in its markets.
Baobag originated from the merger of Sacherie du Midi and Framapack in 2007. The company is a pure distributor of Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBC), commonly known as big bags. The company operates throughout the value chain, including design, sourcing, transportation and storage. Through the development of tenured and exclusive relationships with trusted manufacturing partners around the world and the intricate knowledge of customer requirements across a wide range of end-markets, Baobag has grown into the leading player in the French FIBC market and has successfully penetrated the Moroccan and Spanish markets through organic growth. Since inception, Baobag has exhibited robust growth, outperforming underlying market, and has reached over EUR50 millilon in revenue.
The M&A advisory firm Financière Monceau had been selected by the company’s historical shareholders – iXO Private Equity and Bpifrance – to lead the sell-side process, which exclusively targeted investment funds bidding for majority stakes.
LBO France’s investment allows for the exit of iXO Private Equity and Bpifrance, who acquired a majority stake in the Company in 2016 to support the managerial transition and to initiate internationalisation efforts. Baobag’s management team, led by Fabrice Saffré, significantly re-invest in this secondary LBO round, which also includes an investment on behalf of BNP Paribas Développement and AfricInvest. All aforementioned parties are fully aligned on the growth levers that will drive value creation: acceleration of expansion into Africa (which features the strongest market growth prospects), external growth in select European countries and further market share gains on the domestic market. The shared objective is to create a pan-European leader, spearheading the substitution of bulk transport and storage by big bags in Africa.
Jean-Marie Leroy, Partner and Head of Small Cap at LBO France, says: “We are fully convinced of the robustness of Baobag’s positioning, evidenced by its leading market position in France, a highly diversified end-market exposure and a tenured customer base. Growth prospects are exciting, namely the acceleration of expansion in Africa, where big bag penetration rates show the most whitespace, and the consolidation of the European market. The track record of Fabrice Saffré and his team at the head of Baobag speaks for itself, and they will have LBO France’s full support as they carry out these growth projects.”
Fabrice Saffré, CEO of Baobag, adds: “After five years of international growth, highlighted by the opening of subsidiaries in Morocco and in Spain, it was key for Baobag to be able to rely on high-profile partners in order to further our expansion, especially in Africa, all the while maintaining our independence and core values. In this critical stage of our development, our growth trajectory will be supported by LBO France’s expertise, specifically via the input of their team dedicated to operational performance.”