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Bunzl targets growth in large and fragmented French market


Bunzl has made an undisclosed binding offer to acquire a group of businesses in France and has purchased a marketing services firm in the UK.

Hedis, which trades through subsidiaries across France, sells and distributes cleaning and hygiene products to end users in the public, healthcare, foodservice and cleaning sectors as well as redistributors. 

Comptoir de Bretagne and Générale Collectivités distribute light catering equipment and tableware to a similar fragmented customer base in France.

Aggregate revenue for the businesses was €155m in 2016, of which €131m related to Hedis and €24m to Comptoir de Bretagne and Générale Collectivités. 

The acceptance of the offer is subject to completion of a consultation process with works councils of the target companies. It is anticipated completion would be towards the end of the year, subject to approval by French competition authorities. 

Frank van Zanten, chief executive of Bunzl, said it is looking to grow in the large and fragmented French market.

“The proposed purchase of Hedis, Comptoir de Bretagne and Générale Collectivités is an important acquisition for Bunzl as together they will further expand our existing cleaning and hygiene operations in France and extend our business there into the catering equipment sector for the first time. 

“So far this year Bunzl has acquired, or agreed in principle to acquire, 10 businesses for a total committed spend of approximately £530m.”

Bunzl also recently acquired Pixel Inspiration, a marketing services business in the UK. Revenue in 2016 was £7m.

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