Louis Francois has sold a majority stake to Axel Johnson
Louis François is a family-owned French brand specialized in functional ingredients (300+ references) for gourmet pastry, chocolate and confectionaries. Louis François has a century-long history of developing and providing premium ingredients and solutions to its customers, with an unwavering commitment to quality, service and innovation to the benefit of its gastronomic clients and premium chefs. The company operates two sites in France (Croissy-Beaubourg and Jouy-sur-Morin), employing about 30 people. This last decade, Jean Claude Francois and his team have considerably developed Louis Francois brand reputation among the premium independent restaurants and the food industry.
Lincoln International was mandated by Jean-Claude François, to act as his exclusive financial advisor to find the right partnership enabling to foster Louis François growth. Lincoln led a highly competitive process, involving both international strategic acquirers and financial sponsors that met the ambitions of Louis François’ shareholder and management. The process resulted in a transaction with Axel Johnson which embeds cultural similarities with Louis Francois such as entrepreneurship mindset, strong dynamic of product research and development and CSR involvement.
Axel Johnson is committed to build and expand Louis François over the years to come. Since Novax’s entry into specialty ingredients, marked by the inception of Novax Ingredients and the acquisition of the UK-based, clean-label ingredient specialist Ulrick & Short, the company has been careful and selective in its search to partner with independent niche leaders with unique, competitive positions.
Jean-Claude François will accompany this new journey as a shareholder remaining involved in strategic and development matters.
Cyril d’Assigny, Managing Director in Lincoln’s Consumer Group, commented, “This transaction enables Lincoln to strengthen its expertise in the functional ingredients sector on a global scale.”
Novax Ingredients, Axel Johnson subsidiary
Novax Ingredients is focused on developing clean, functional and sustainable ingredient solutions for the food industry, helping manufacturers solve process and development challenges through product reformulation – be it within improving nutritional profiles or enhancing overall product quality. Novax Ingredients’ group entity will encompass Louis François and UK clean-label functional ingredient specialist Ulrick & Short (subsidiary of Novax Ingredients since 2021).
Axel Johnson is Stockholm-based, achieving €10 billion of revenues, founded in 1873 and owned and run by the fourth and fifth generation of the Swedish Johnson family. Building on a soon 150-year history, Axel Johnson partners up with companies in journeys sharing that long-term vision and view of building businesses – often being entrepreneur led and family owned. Their commitment is to build and support leading and profitable businesses over the long haul.
"Lincoln was instrumental in the implementation of a selective and highly competitive process which resulted in an outstanding outcome; the reactivity of the team who led negotiations in a tightened timing, as well as its constant empathy and unwavering support allowed me to choose the right partner to accompany the development of Louis François brand in full respect of its heritage."
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