Banexi Capital buys into Groupe Roche Bobois

The French family-run furniture group has brought in a financial investor to take a minority position.

In a textbook instance of how financial investors are beginning to invest in family owned and run companies across Europe, Groupe Roche Bobois, the French furniture retailer, has turned to the private equity market to help grow its international business. The group has sold a 12 per cent stake of the company to Banexi Capital Partenaires, one of the investment arms of Groupe BNP Paribas.

Founded in 1961, Groupe Roche Bobois operates three business brands in 30 countries around the world including France, the UK and Mexico. According to the group, it has doubled its turnover over the last 10 years, culminating in E503m recorded for 2000. Banexi Capital Partenaires has the option to increase its stake to 18 per cent in the business, which was previously held equally between the Roche and Chouchan families.

Francoise Roche, chairman of the board of Sofimagest the holding company of Group Roche Bobois, said the sale to Banexi Capital Partenaires was a new step in the company’s evolution, but one that builds on sound financial history.

With the money from the sale, the company is looking to open additional stores across the world [it already has around 350 up and running] and to enter new markets in Northern and Eastern Europe.

Banexi Capital Partenaires is a consulting and fund management company within BNP Paribas with E175m under management. Its declared specialisation is in investing in medium sized companies with earnings of between E20m and E250m.