Ardian has bought a majority stake in Belgium-based herbal remedies company Inula Group from Vendis Capital and management, which remain shareholders.
Ardian used its €4.5bn Ardian LBO Fund VI for the transaction, Unquote understands. The vehicle, which held a final close in 2016, targets European companies with an enterprise value between €175m-1.5bn.
Sergio Calandri, CEO of Inula and Pranarôm's founder, Dominique Baudoux, will remain involved with the business. Vendis has retained a minority stake in the firm.
Inula was created following the merger of Pranarôm and HerbalGem in 2014, two laboratories specialised in natural therapies, founded in 1985 and 1986 respectively.
Vendis became a shareholder in Pranarôm in 2011, investing alongside CEO Dominique Baudoux to support growth in Belgium and abroad. The deal was followed by the purchase of Belgian peer HerbalGem in 2014 – following the add-on the group was rebranded as Inula.
Inula bolted on Veriditas Botanicals in 2016, a US-based business founded in 1995 that sourced its natural therapy products from smaller, family-owned organic farms across the US.
Inula, founded in 2014, is a herbal remedies specialist, focusing on fast-growing sub-sectors such as aromatherapy, gemmotherapy and Bach flowers, through three brands: Pranarôm (based in Ghislenghien, Belgium), HerbalGem (based in Vielsalm, Luxembourg) and Biofloral (based in Le Crouzet, France).
Inula had consolidated sales of €85m in 2017, a person familiar with the situation told Unquote.
The group is now present in more than 25 countries, with strong market positions in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the US.
Ardian Buyout – Bruno Ladrière (managing director); Daniel Setton (director & responsible of buyout financing); Alexis Manet (senior investment manager); Rafik Alili, Edmond Delamalle (investment managers).
Vendis Capital – Cedric Olbrechts (partner); Mathieu de Medeiros (investment director).
Inula Group – Dominique Baudoux (founder, chairman).
Vendor – JP Morgan, Edouard Debost, Peter Hujoel, Sebastien Guiol (M&A); Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Vincent Macq, Frederic Elens, Elliott Fosseprez (legal); PwC, Philippe Estas, Geoffroy Jonckheere, Arnaud Chantraine, Olivier Van Crombrugge (financial due diligence); Hugues Lamon, Koen Walbers (tax); Roland Berger, Grégoire Tondreau, Patrick Biecheler, Pierre-Antoine Bodin, Jean Muraire, Yaroslav Stetsenko (strategic due diligence).
Equity – BNP Paribas Fortis, Gabriel Englebert, Pieter-Jan Van de Walle, Wide Hellemans, Elena Coluccelli-Guérin, Muriel Petit (M&A); Latham & Watkins, Olivier du Mottay, Bénédicte Bremond, Lionel Dechmann (legal), EY, Jean-Christophe Sabourin, Patrice Mottier, Tom Swinnen, Lionel Benant, Anne Dupupet, Anne-Elisabeth Combes, Maelle Duquoc (legal, tax, ESG due diligence); Siaci St Honoré, Pierre de Rochebouet, Julie Marmara, Brigitte Lalo (insurance due diligence); EY-Parthenon, Henri-Pierre Vacher, Vincent Czeszynski, Louis Ravier, Benjamin Ferrand, Fabien Bouskila (strategic due diligence).
Existing investors Goldman Sachs Growth, Ampega and Finleap also back the round
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For the year ending on 31 March 2020, the company generated £1.6m in EBITDA, from revenues of £27.1m