Cognetas finds recipe for success with Diana Ingredients

The European mid-market firm has made a return of 4.3 times its investment selling its food ingredients business to AXA Private Equity.

Cognetas, a European private equity firm has sold Diana Ingredients, a supplier of natural ingredients to the food and beverage industries, for €710 million to rival AXA Private Equity, generating an IRR of 62 percent.

Cognetas backed the buyout of Diana Ingredients in 2004 in a €270 million transaction. The exit will deliver the firm’s investors a return of 4.3 times ther original investment. 

Revenues increased from €146 million in 2003 to €253 million in 2006 through organic growth and international expansion of the natural extracts and pet food businesses, which together account for more than 80% of 2006 revenues. 

The firm said the company’s growth was due to its management team, its excellent commercial positioning in fast-expanding markets and its recognised innovation capabilities.

This is the second transaction announced by Cognetas in France this year, following the acquisition of Saint-Gobain Desjonquères for €670 million in March.  It is the third exit completed by Cognetas in 2007. 

Cognetas was advised by Hawkpoint and BNP Paribas. The Cognetas team on this transaction was Patrick Eisenchteter and Maxime Faguer.