Ardian has entered into exclusivity with some family shareholders and Tikehau Capital to acquire a controlling stake into Les Dérivés Résiniques et Terpéniques (“DRT”). The proposed transaction values DRT at approximately €1 billion and is fully supported by DRT’s management team which will remain in place and is headed by its CEO Laurent Labatut. This transaction would be a further step in the company’s development path as many individual shareholders and Tikehau Capital have decided to reinvest part of their proceeds alongside Ardian.
Created in 1932 and headquartered in Dax (France), DRT is a producer of ingredients derived from plant-based chemistry, mainly from pine trees. In that respect, DRT fits perfectly within two of Ardian’s core verticals, namely ingredients and fine chemical. With a turnover estimated at €500m in 2017, DRT is a truly international company with more than 80% of its business made outside of France, of which around 25% in the Americas and more than 10% in Asia. The group employs close to 1,300 people and is operating through a global footprint with four production sites located in France, two in the USA, three in India and one in China.
The two main families of ingredients produced by DRT are terpenes and rosins derivatives. They provide mainly olfactory or tackifying/stickiness properties and are used in various resilient and growing end-markets like Flavors & Fragrance, Health & Nutrition, Adhesives & Coatings, Agriculture, Chemical Intermediates and Energy. DRT has built strong positions on each of those markets thanks to its advanced innovation capabilities (more than 50 people dedicated to R&D), its close partnership with customers, its industrial process know-how with constant investment into extraction and distillation capacities, and its long-term secured sourcing of natural & renewable resources.
DRT is at the forefront of sustainable growth and development. This is a key value for Ardian, acting as a responsible investor. Through a sustainable forest management sourcing, DRT is a green-impact best-in-class player. DRT industrial processes valorize renewable resources and adhere to principles of environment-friendly practice. DRT has also invested significantly into green energy, with a biomass cogeneration plant in France satisfying the vast majority of its energy needs.
DRT has enjoyed a rapid development phase over the past few years with a strong support from Tikehau Capital. In particular, in 2016, DRT made two significant steps in the USA with the $140m acquisition of Pinova Inc. from Symrise and the construction of a complementary new greenfield plant. Overall, over the past 3 years, the group has invested more than €85m in organic growth projects.
Should the transaction be consummated, Tikehau Capital would recognize a capital gain estimated at c. €153m for the sale of its entire stake in DRT.
Thibault Basquin, Managing Director Ardian Mid Cap Buyout, declared: “We are very pleased to partner with Laurent Labatut and his team. DRT has a unique green positioning and its strong culture and values fit Ardian ones. This transaction is also a new example on how we can accompany a family-owned company in a new transition phase”. Olivier Personnaz, Director Ardian Mid Cap Buyout, added: “We have been very impressed by the quality of DRT people and their innovation expertise, we look forward to supporting them in the growth project aiming at reinforcing DRT on its markets through both organic and external growth”.
Laurent Labatut, CEO of DRT, said: “We are very happy to welcome Ardian as a reference shareholder of DRT. They clearly share the management team’s willingness to accelerate the development of the company. Ardian’s arrival alongside the historical shareholders reinforces the independence of DRT and represents a new step in our history. Together, we will contribute to enhance DRT’s leadership position”.
Christian de Labriffe of Tikehau Capital, added: “We were welcomed by the family shareholders as a shareholder of DRT in 2014 and we have been supporting the growth strategy led by the management since then. We are delighted to be associated with DRT’s management team and Ardian for this new growth phase. This transaction will provide DRT with the financial means to pursue its development and consolidate its global leading positions”.
Financing for the proposed transaction is underwritten by BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB and Société Générale CIB.