Sofiprotéol, the investment arm of French agri-food company Avril Group, has acquired a minority stake in vinegar producer Martin-Pouret.

Financial details surrounding the deal were not disclosed.

The investment intends to accelerate the development of Martin-Pouret’s new vinegar production facility, which is due to open in September 2024.

Commenting on the news, Violaine Grison, co-head of investment at Sofiprotéol, said the funding will support the vinegar group’s “growth ambitions”, with the new factory helping to “boost the company’s local roots.”

She added: “Supporting entrepreneurs, playing a role in the development of SMEs in our regions and ensuring the know-how of our companies is preserved over the long term are at the heart of Sofiprotéol’s mission”. 

Reports in France in September indicated the new site, which costs around €7.6m to build, will be located in Boigny-sur-Bionne, in the Orléans district.

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By GlobalData

Sitting on 10,500 square meters of land, the factory will have a surface area of 4,800 square meters, according to national newspaper La République du Centre.

The new site is expected to bring a “positive impact on employment” and boost the “attractiveness” of the region.

Martin-Pouret told Just Food the vinegar facility will “create two to four additional jobs to begin with.”

Set up in 1797, Martin-Pouret is said to be the only company in France to “master the ancestral Orléans vinegar-making method” which uses grapes from local wine regions.

David Matheron and Paul-Olivier Claudepierre have jointly owned the group since 2019.

Martin-Pouret’s vinegar portfolio includes a range of unflavoured and flavoured red and white wine vinegars, Normandy cider vinegar, as well as Modena balsamic vinegar and dressing.

The company also produces mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, gherkins, and appetizer dips.

Its products are sold in a mixture of specialty retailers, delis and restaurants across Europe, as well as in the US, UAE and New Zealand.

Speaking in a statement, Paul-Olivier Claudepierre and David Matheron, Martin-Pouret’s business partners said: “Sofiprotéol has perfect knowledge of our trade, shares our vision of responsible, high-quality food, and promotes French manufacturing”.

Sofiprotéol’s investment portfolio includes eight consumer food companies, such as packaged salads producer Pierre Martinet. It bought a 16% stake in the business in 2019.

Avril has announced multiple investments over the past few years, including its purchase of majority shares in French plant-based food manufacturer Hari&Co earlier in July.

In its 2022 integrated results, the group recorded revenue growth of 30%, increasing from €6.9bn to €9bn, and EBITDA moving from €356m to €583m. It spent a total of €303m in investments last year.