The Bonduelle group has announced that it has received the go ahead of the competition authorities in France and Germany to complete the takeover of the France Champignon group on 31 March 2010.
The French vegetable producer has acquired France Champignon, a leading European mushroom company, from Butler Capital Partners, who had acquired the firm in 2004.
Bonduelle stated that it has financed part of the acquisition of shares in the controlling holding company of the France Champignon group through the delivery of treasury stock, specifically 130,618 shares constituting 1.63% of Bonduelle SCA’s share capital.
France Champignon has a workforce of 1500 employees and produces 130,000 tonnes of mushrooms in all forms (tinned, frozen, pasteurized or dehydrated) and of all kinds (button mushrooms and wild mushrooms) in six plants, including five in France, at Thouars, Doué La Fontaine and Beaufort en Vallée, Falaise and Herm, and one in Poland at Ruchocice near Poznan.
After taking over France Champignon in 2004, Butler Capital Partners had embarked on a major modernisation plan. The traditional mushroom cellars were replaced by modern climatised growing rooms. According to Bonduelle, it is thanks to these investments that France Champignon made a comeback in terms of profitability. France Champignon reported a net turnover of 212 million euro in 2008.
Bonduelle SA operates 35 industrial sites worldwide. Based near Lille, it is Europe’s leading producer of prepared vegetables. It operates in three primary markets: canned, frozen and fresh vegetables, but canned is Bonduelle’s historic activity and accounts for 57 percent of its revenues; the company is European leader in this category, with 30 percent of the market. Fresh sales is Bonduelle’s third, but fastest growing market, through an aggressive acquisition program.
Bonduelle is listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange’s secondary market but remains majority owned by the founding Bonduelle family.
The company anticipates significant synergies with France Champignon, that ‘will ensure the development and long-term survival of the French subsidiary of processed mushrooms’.
Bonduelle has been successfully marketing its brand and mushrooms produced by subcontractors in Germany since 2009.
In June 2002, the company agreed to acquire Inter Champ, a Polish subsidiary of struggling France Champignon. The acquisition added mushrooms, long a weak link in Bonduelle’s chain of more than 240 vegetables. The acquisition agreement also called for an eventual Bonduelle takeover of all canned and frozen production for France Champignon in Europe.