• 02/02/2017

    Cerea Capital and Bpifrance enter the capital of GPS Group to support the acceleration of its growth

    Cerea Capital II and Bpifrance reorganize the capital and financial structure of GPS Group and take a stake in the company.

    Cerea Capital II has completed its fourth investment, participating in the reorganization of the capital and financial structure of GPS Group, in partnership with Bpifrance and the company's management. Ingefin, a longstanding partner of GPS Group has accompanies the structuration and execution of the operation.

    Based in Bordeaux, GPS Group is specialised in industrial packaging logistics, used for the transport of viscous or liquid materials such as natural and synthetic rubber as well as food products. It provides a complete and outsourced lease concept for reusable metal crates, including delivery, maintenance and logistics at producer's plants.

    Created in 1950, the family business, presided by Benoit Arnaud, first began as a major wooden pallet and crate manufacturer, before launching its now strategic metal crate leasing activity in 1994. The Group has since gradually expanded its territorial network across eight international subsidiaries and is the number two player in its market, globally.

    GPS Group intends to continue the strong growth trend initiated since 2008, by doubling its proprietary fleet of crates and extending its geographic presence in Asia, Africa and South America. Cerea Capital and Bpifrance will provide support to further structure the group and the transition between Benoit Arnaud and CEO Jean-François Baus, who is intended to succeed him. Furthermore, Group GPS will benefit from the expertise of Cerea Capital to accelerate the development of new applications in agrobusiness.

    The transaction involves the partial exit of the three minority shareholders, present in the capital since 2008 (ARKEA, BNP Développement, Etoile ID), the strengthening of Jean-François Baus' stake and the entry of Cerea Capital and Bpifrance Investissement. It also entails the refinancing of loans by five regional banks and of bonds by three debt funds, Cerea Dette, Bpifrance Investissement and Artemid, as well as the creation of credit lines to finance investments over the next three years.

    Benoit Arnaud, President of GPS Group, declared: "I am delighted to welcome such solid partners as Cerea Capital and Bpifrance in the capital of GPS Group, in support of our ongoing development and medium-term perspectives. I am also proud of the confidence shown by the banks which have accompanied us for years, notably Crédit Agricole, AKEA, BNP Paribas, Banque CIC and Banque Courtois."

    Gilles Sicard, Executive Managing Director of Cerea Capital, added: "This operation is the result of our long-standing relationship with Benoit Arnaud which goes back 16 years. During this period we have seen the group evolve, refine its excellent business model and, thanks to its founder and team, grow to become the #2 player in its market, globally."

    Emilie Brunet, Investment Director with Bpifrance, concluded: "This investment, supported by a strong management team, is at the heart of Bpifrance's strategy to accompany family owned, export-oriented and growing medium size companies and illustrates our commitment across the financing continuum from equity to debt."

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