How did the group begin?
Philippe Berthe: In the early 1990s, my father Pierre bought Batiss Plastique, a plastic parts injection company. One of its main clients was Nutripack, a company specialising in the distribution of packaging trays for local authorities. Considering the business to be overly dependent on its ordering clients as a subcontractor, my father decided to acquire the company, giving him direct access to the market and allowing him to create his own sales team. Within a short space of time, the sales team was also selling machines to seal trays within the framework of a partnership with Mecaplastic. This comprehensive offering strengthened our position among local authorities and allowed us to establish our footing in the food manufacturing market, a market in which Mecaplastic enjoyed a strong position. In 2003, we also acquired a stake in Mecaplastic, and we now own 100% of the company. This business line has now been integrated into the group under the name of Mecapack.
This acquisition strategy was then stepped up.
P.B.: Yes, with a number of aims: access to new markets - in particular outside France - buyouts of rivals, enlarging our range, improving productivity and also vertical integration of the areas of expertise associated with plastic packaging. For example, we recently acquired one of our suppliers, Ecomi, which specialises in the design and production of plastic moulds. However, among our recent acquisitions, the acquisition of Germay Plastic has enabled us to benefit on all counts. This is a (former) competitor that enjoys a long-standing position in the food manufacturing industry (Findus, Intermarché). It is also a specialist in IML (In Mould Labelling), a technology that allows for labels to be integrated into packaging at the time of production (for example on butter tubs and pots of pâté). The icing on the cake is that this acquisition has opened the doors to a completely new business activity that we have great faith in.
Reusable plastic cups?
P.B.: Yes. Germay Plastic's clients included the company Green Cup, which provided reusable cups for events such as the Vieilles Charrues festival. From one year to the next, these cups were washed and then reprinted with a new visual identity. Convinced of the potential of this business activity, we decided to acquire the company. We intend to invest heavily in developing the business. It constitutes an excellent growth driver at a time when our flagship market of local authorities has reached maturity.
Crédit Mutuel Equity has been working with you since 2015 to support this acquisition policy.
P.B.: Crédit Mutuel Equity (formerly CM-CIC Investissement) acquired a stake in the company in 2015 in order to be involved in the restructuring of our family shareholder base. Their valuation seemed fair and their desire to enter into a long-term partnership resonated with our own aspirations. As regards our growth strategy, we did not specifically call on their financial capacity or their financial arrangement expertise, as we had considerable experience in this area ourselves. However, it is thanks to their network that we have been able to identify a number of targets in France and Europe.
of revenue generated outside France
average annual growth since 2008