Further M&A to follow Cerba’s change of ownership

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Renewed expansion incorporating further acquisitions in France and elsewhere seems set to follow the sale of the leading French clinical pathology company Cerba Healthcare.

Cerba has been sold by PAI Partners to a consortium of the Swiss private investor Partners Group and the Canadian pension fund PSP Investments, for a sum understood to be around €2bn. This is at the top end of expectations when PAI Partners hired JP Morgan and Natixis to sell the business last year.

For PAI this represent a lucrative reward for having overseen rapid growth in Cerba’s activities. PAI paid €551m for Cerba as recently as 2010. Cerba now has more than 300 laboratories, predominantly in France and Belgium, but also with operations in Luxembourg, the USA, South Africa, China Australia and UAE. In 2016 it generated revenues of around €630m.

Underlining the new owners have great ambitions for the group, Kim Nguyen, managing director of Partner’s European private equity, says: “The unique fully integrated business model means that Cerba is ideally positioned to further consolidate the French market and accelerate organic growth.. We look forward to working together with Catherine (Courboillet) and her team and our investment partner PSP Investments to continue strengthening Cerba’s market leadership position.” While the new owners jointly speak of: “the continuation of the Company’s highly successful M&A strategy within the French market and internationally, as well as the acceleration of organic growth and development in other segments.”

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