Yesterday, Cooperative group InVivo issued a statement saying that it has entered exclusive talks to acquire family-controlled Soufflet. Should these talks be fruitful, the resulting agreement would create one of Europe’s biggest agricultural businesses with 10 billion euros in sales.
This attempt at consolidation comes as France, the European Union’s largest agricultural producer, is trying to embrace environmentally conscious farming practices while vying with cheaper grain suppliers like Russia.
“The combination of InVivo Group and Soufflet Group would lead to the creation of a French champion in agriculture and agribusiness with an international footprint,” they said in a statement.
A deal would bring together their international grain trading activities while also associating complementary businesses with limited overlap, including Soufflet’s flour milling and malt production and InVivo’s wine distribution and garden retail.
A merger could also let InVivo, a grouping of 192 farmer-owned cooperatives, and century-old Soufflet better compete with rivals such as Cargill from the US and Germany’s BayWa.
According to reuters.com¸ the deal, under which the Soufflet brand would be preserved, could close by the end of the 2021.
Soufflet has been the subject of takeover rumours in the past, partly because of the lack of a family successor to take over from Michel Soufflet, board chairman, and his son Jean-Michel, who is chief executive.