Riverside debuts first Spanish deal

The mid-market firm has purchased a Spanish blood bank that preserves stem cells to potentially help treat illnesses in the future.

The Riverside Company has purchased a majority stake in Madrid-based Celvitae, a private blood bank that preserves umbilical cord blood stem cells to potentially help treat illnesses in future. The all-equity investment of undisclosed size comes from Riverside’s fourth European Fund, which is targeting $550 million in commitments.

This [sector] in the next 15 to 20 years at least will continue to experience great growth.

Marcos Lladó

While the acquisition marks the first Spanish deal for Riverside, the mid-market firm in 2009 purchased the Portuguese company Crioestaminal, another umbilical cord blood bank that operates in Spain.

“When we looked at the [Crioestaminal] platform, we saw that it was a clear leader in that niche in Portugal,” Riverside partner Marcos Lladó told PEO. He added that the stem cell industry in Spain grew around 50 percent in 2009. “This is something that in the next 15 to 20 years at least will continue to experience great growth.” 

Despite Spain’s economy taking hit from the fallout of Greece’s debt problems, a subsidiary of Crioestiminal in Spain is growing more than 20 percent this year, Lladó said. 

Riverside plans to continue expanding its operations in the collection and freezing of stem cells through additional acquisitions in other European countries. The firm also intends to diversify into other services related to stem cells and genetic diagnosis.

The acquisition of Celvitae marks Riverside’s 13th deal this year.  Earlier this month, the firm completed its first deal in Turkey, purchasing pet food maker Tropikal for an undisclosed sum.

Riverside typically invests in companies with EBITDA ranging from €3 million to €15 million.