Sofiproteol has become The Avril Group as part of reorganisation

Sofiproteol has become The Avril Group as part of reorganisation

French agri-food business Sofiproteol has reorganised its business structure - moves that included changing its name to The Avril Group - as it looks to accelerate its growth.

The owner of brands including Lesieur cooking oil and Matines eggs has become a joint-stock partnership, managed by a partner company.

Sofiprotéol's historical shareholders - the French Inter-Branch Oil and Protein Crop Development Fund and the French Federation of Oil and Protein Crop Producers - will remain shareholders in the new organisation. The Avril Foundation, a so-called "public utility foundation", has joined the roster.

The partner company - Avril Gestion - has been formed to run the business. The nine-strong board of Avril Gestion appoints the MD of the company and decides on its strategy.

The board has appointed Sofiprotéol CEO Jean-Philippe Puig to the position of MD. He said: "Sofiprotéol has created an innovative corporate model in just over 30 years, with a stable shareholder base that has its roots in the agricultural sector, and a specific governance model that enables it to systematically reinvest its profits in its development.

"Growth has been within our reach over the past few years, and we expect it to accelerate in the coming years. This is why the group is now introducing a governance model and organisational structure that are appropriate for meeting its goals, while maintaining one of its founding principles, i.e. reinvesting most of its dividends in the sectors."

The Avril Group, which had sales of EUR7bn (US$8.26bn) last year, will remain focused on oils and animal products. Its oils business includes a B2B oilseeds business and a consumer-facing arm including brands like Lesieur and Puget in France, Bunica in Romania, plus Cristal and Al Horra in Morocco.

The animal products subsidiary takes in consumer brands like Matines eggs, pork and poultry products, as well as animal nutrition and breeding.

Sofiprotéol will remain as a unit of The Avril Group focusing on financing and development and housing the company's minority interests, including its recent stake in French poultry group LDC.

The members of the board include Sofiprotéol chairman Xavier Beulin and former finance director Alain Mirot. Pierre Pringuet, the outgoing CEO of drinks giant Pernod Ricard, is also on the board.