Activa Capital buys pharma business

French mid-market private equity firm Activa Capital has acquired a majority stake in Delpharm, a pharmaceutical contract manufacturing outsourcing (CMO) firm.

Delpharm, a niche pharmaceutical outsourcing company in France, has been acquired by Activa Capital from Groupe Aguettant, a medical goods supplier that will remain a minority shareholder.

Delpharm, which has seen turnover grow from €7 million ($8.5 million) in 1993 to €55 million ($66.7 million) in 2003, has manufacturing facilities in Tours, Bretigny-sur-Orge and Evreux from where it undertakes manufacturing projects on behalf of large pharmaceutical groups.

The outsourcing of pharmaceutical manufacturing is a fast-growing sector, driven by consolidation taking place in the pharmaceutical sector as well as the increased use of generics.

Said Charles Diehl, a partner at Activa Capital: “The company is the leader in France, but it’s a fragmented market so we’re looking to help it grow through acquiring new sites and businesses in France. We also think the company is poised to move towards operating on a pan-European basis.”

Groupe Aguetteant is the seventh largest supplier of products including injectable drugs and irrigation and rinsing solutions to French hospitals and clinics.

Activa Capital is a Paris-based private equity firm which closed a €162 million ($196 million) fund last year. Delpharm is the third investment from the fund. Activa also has interests in Mont Blanc, a non-refrigerated cream desserts company, and Vivactis, a specialist in medical advertising, communication and press.

Activa has also announced the appointment of Jerome Sibony as an investment analyst. Sibony previously spent four years in the Paris office of Atlas Venture and becomes Activa’s ninth investment professional.