Private investment company Equistone Partners Europe, through its Fund V, has become the majority shareholder in automotive injection molder Mecaplast Group, based in Monaco.
The size of its stake was not revealed, but Equistone joins existing major shareholders: Thierry Manni, chairman of the board and member of Mecaplast's founding family, French government investment agency Bpifrance and Mecaplast Group's management team.
The group shareholders decided last year to look for an industrial or financial partner to consolidate and accelerate its international development. CEO Pierre Boulet spoke to Plastics News Europe in April 2015 about Mecaplast's plans to boost sales to 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) in 2018, from around 700 million euros ($762 million) in 2015.
Mecaplast has new plants under construction in Silao, Mexico, and Zavar, Slovakia, which are due to open later this year. The group currently has 27 plants, three training centers, five technical centers and 17 customer service offices in 18 countries.
Mecaplast says it expects to reach the 1 billion euro sales target “by pursuing its ambitious internal growth plan and external acquisitions, in particular in Germany, Portugal and even Japan.”
The investment by Equistone will help Mecaplast accelerate its growth strategy by: developing its international commercial and industrial footprint, with a particular focus on its customer support strategy, especially in emerging markets; strengthening capacity for innovation globally worldwide, and improving its technical partnerships with manufacturers with regard to energy-efficient vehicles; improving operational performance and financial strength.
Thierry Manni said: "This project is first and foremost a growth project for Mecaplast Group. Our goal is to strengthen the group to make it more robust and more sustainable. In short, we want to provide Mecaplast with the means to continue its ambitious strategy, while maintaining our core values and our presence in [Monaco], which are very close to my heart."
Pierre Boulet said: "Mecaplast is now seeing the results of the recovery initiated in 2012. This development will enable us to continue our organic growth strategy, but also to envisage appropriate external growth, in order to confirm the group's position as one of the leaders in its field."
Equistone, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, invests through its funds in mid-market industrial groups. It has invested in plastics previously. In 2007 it took a shareholding in Paragon Print & Packaging in the U.K., which it sold in 2012 to Sun European Partners. Paragon is now part of the Coveris packaging group.
The investment by Equistone is subject to regulatory approval.