InVivo, Soufflet plan merger to create new French-based agribusiness giant

FRANCE — InVivo Group, a French agricultural cooperative group has said it is in discussions to acquire Soufflet Group, a French family group operating in food and agriculture.

 If completed, the transaction would create a French-based leader in agriculture and agribusiness with an international footprint.

InVivo and Soufflet said the combined company would focus on addressing the challenges and issues of societal, environmental and technological nature facing the agricultural and agribusiness sectors.

The companies further noted that the new larger business entity will also focus on the issue of food sovereignty while creating value for both farmers and all stakeholders of the French agri-business sector.

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“Access to food has become a strategic issue reinforcing the need to preserve the food sovereignty of both France — the ‘Made in France’ label — and Europe,” said Philippe Mangin, chairman of InVivo Group.

“Bringing our two groups together would enable us to address this challenge by providing a 100% French answer and would represent a key driving force for the agricultural transition and the interests of ‘la Ferme France’.”

InVivo and Soufflet  if merged into one entity would have combined revenues of nearly €10 billion, with about half of that generated outside France.

The merged company also would have more than 12,500 employees worldwide, operating more than 90 industrial sites, including 59 sites in France.

Specifically, the combined company is expected to bring together their international grain trading activities while also uncovering value in complementary businesses with limited overlap.

Soufflet’s flour milling and malt production and InVivo’s wine distribution are some of the complimentary activities which the new entity will aim to achieve maximum value from.

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“By joining forces with InVivo, our family group would find a Franco-French solution to preserve its identity, ensure the continuity of its activities and maintain both its ties in Nogent-sur-Seine and its regional presence,”  Jean-Michel Soufflet, chairman of the executive board of the Soufflet Group said.

Thierry Blandinières, chief executive officer of InVivo, said he expects the combination of the two companies to strengthen their international positioning, particularly in the trading of cereals.

“[With the merger] we would be ideally positioned to respond to the increasingly complex challenges arising from the agricultural and food transition that only major players are able to handle,” Blandinières added.

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