Unigrains, the France-based agri-food investor, is hoping to back another business in Iberia next year after setting up an office in Madrid.
Since 2017, the investor, which is looking to do more deals outside its home market, has spent €50m ($54.9m) on transactions involving companies in Iberia.
Last year, Unigrains became a minority shareholder in Spain-based meat group La Finca in a deal that also involved private-equity firm Capza.
A spokesperson for Unigrains said the new Iberian office was part of the firm’s “international development ambition”.
He said: “The Madrid-based subsidiary operates exactly on the same model as the Italian subsidiary we launched last year.
“Unigrains Iberia will aim to invest €80-100m over five years in Spanish and Portuguese companies across the agri-food sector, directly from Unigrains’ equity capital. The creation of Unigrains Iberia indicates a significant step-up in and a long-term commitment to Spain and Portugal with the ambition to be a direct investor – as we are historically in France – with a local investment team.”
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Unigrains’ deals in Italy have included buying stakes in seafood supplier Urbis Food and a number of bakery businesses now under the Vivaldi Group umbrella. When the investor set up Unigrains Italia, it announced a similar budget of €80-100m over five years.
The investor’s most recent deal in food in France came last year when it acquired shares in oil producer Huilerie Cauvin. This week, the firm invested in French wine distributor Elan.
The spokesperson added Unigrains “would be delighted” to complete a first investment via the new Iberia subsidiary in 2024.
“Obviously, it’s dependent on many different factors and there’s not particular urgency. This is a long-term project,” he said.
Unigrains has hired former Portobello Capital executive Álvaro Hernández López-Quesada to lead the new subsidiary.