Novax, subsidiary of Axel Johnson, has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Louis Francois

Louis François

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.

The Deal

Lincoln International was mandated by Louis François to act as the exclusive financial advisor to the company. Lincoln led a highly competitive process, involving both international strategic acquirers and financial sponsors that met the ambitions of Louis François’ shareholders and management. The process resulted in an exclusivity agreement with Novax Ingredients for the sale of a majority stake in the company.

Novax 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.

Our Perspective

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

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).


Novax AB is a European long-term investor and operating partner. Novax is the investment company of the Stockholm-based, €10 billion revenue Axel Johnson Group, 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, Novax 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.

Ulrick & Short

With more than 150 functional ingredients, Ulrick & Short has solutions for almost every food application, in any food sector including bakery, meat and fish, ready meals, soups and sauces, vegetarian and vegan, organic, batters and coatings and performance foods. Ulrick & Short is also a recognized clean label, plant-based ingredient solutions provider. Founded in 2000 by Andrew Ulrick and Adrian Short, the company is present in the UK and across Europe with sales offices in the UK and in the Netherlands. Novax and Ulrick & Short partnered up in February 2021, setting off to together realize a shared vision to build a leading family of European ingredient companies. Adrian Short is the Chief Executive Officer of Ulrick & Short, with a continued shareholding in the company.

Novax Axel Johnson Louis Francois 2022 Connect with a Senior Team Member
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.
Jean-Claude François
Chief Executive Officer and owner of Louis François

Meet our Senior Team

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