Bridgepoint, the international private equity investor, is to acquire the Agro Business interests of the listed conglomerate Sapec Group (Sapec S. A. BE), in a transaction valuing the business at €456 million. The acquired entity, Sapec Agro Business is the Iberian market leader in off-patent crop protection products and also speciality crop nutrition.

Headquartered in Portugal, Sapec Agro Business develops, manufactures and supplies (i) crop protection products (such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) and (ii) speciality crop nutrition solutions (speciality fertilizers such as micronutrients and biostimulants, sold under the Tradecorp brand). These are both structurally growing markets (drivers include population growth and lifestyle/diet changes) as farmers and growers seek ever improving crop yields and next generation solutions, which the company specialises in. In addition, the company's products actively target high-value crops such as fruit, vegetables and vines.

By focussing on these differentiated niches, Sapec Agro Business has become the leader in crop protection in Portugal, No 3 in Spain and is one of the global leaders in crop nutrition with sales in over 70 countries. In 2015 the business generated revenues of €223 million.

Sapec Agro Business chief executive Eric van Innis, who will lead the business under its new shareholder, said: "With a new shareholder who shares our future ambitions, our aim is to accelerate the growth of our business by opening and creating new markets and launching further R&D-led developments. These are exciting times for Sapec Agro Business and its customers in what remains an attractive long-term growth market."

Commenting on the transaction, Bridgepoint partner Héctor Pérez said: "The performance of the Sapec Agro Business to date has been robust but it is now ready to accelerate growth and gain scale as its market consolidates. We believe there is an opportunity to use its leading-edge R&D and expertise in the complex regulatory agro environment to drive further revenue growth, enter new territories and launch new customised products. We will also explore consolidation opportunities for the business. "

Debt for the transaction was provided by BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole CIB, HSBC, Rabobank and Mizuho.

Advisers involved included:

- for Bridgepoint: HSBC (corporate finance), PwC (CDD, FDD, tax & labour), Freshfields (legal), ERM (ESG), Willis (insurance)

- for management: Jamieson & Basabe, KPMG

- for the vendor: Lazard (corporate finance), E&Y (financial due diligence, tax), Uría Menéndez (legal)

The transaction is subject to standard competition clearances.

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