PAI in French food buy-and-build

French buyout firm PAI has backed portfolio company Panzani’s acquisition of the market leading pasta producer in the French market.

PAI Management, the French buyout firm which recently closed its third fund on E1.8bn, has backed Panzani, the Lyon-based producer of dry pasta and sauces which it acquired in December 1998, in its acquisition of Marseille-based food manufacturer Lustucru.

Lustucru, headquartered in Marseille, is the French market leader in the fresh pasta market with a 37 per cent market share and the number two producer of fresh sauces. Lustucru’s turnover, excluding its dry pasta activities, which will be retained by vendor Skalli group, amounts to over E200m.

The acquisition gives the combined business a turnover in excess of E500m. PAI president Amaury de Seze said the acquisition was “part of the firm’s strategy to invest in leading brands in attractive segments and enables Panzani to become a leading player in the dry grocery market.”

PAI (formerly Paribas Affaires Industrielles) advises and manages investment funds, as well as the holding portfolio of BNP Paribas, with a total value of about E6bn.

Panzani and PAI were advised by Deutsche Bank, and the Skalli group was advised by Rothschild and Clinvest. The debt financing of the transaction was arranged by Deutsche Bank and Crédit Lyonnais.