21 Centrale Partners to exit Ligier Group

August 22, 2016

21 Centrale Partners has signed an agreement for the sale of its investment in Ligier Group, the European leader in light-weight, electric quadricycles.

In September 2008, 21 Centrale Partners carried out simultaneous acquisitions of Ligier and Microcar, merging them to create an industry leader and implementing a common growth strategy based on international expansion and product diversification.

Responding swiftly to the economic crisis and tough market conditions in Southern Europe, the group unified distribution networks to boost market penetration, developed a range of commercial electric vehicles and focused on innovation.

Over 21’s investment tenure, the Ligier and Microcar brands were repositioned and segmented though new launches, a major contract was signed and renewed with La Poste for an innovative three-wheel commercial utility vehicle and the group founded EasyMile, a highly promising, leading-edge autonomous public transportation vehicle already operating in several sites across the world.

These efforts allowed a successful rebound and formed a base for consistent growth. Today, Ligier operates across a network of more than 700 dealers in 12 European countries, generating sales of roughly €M 100 in 2015, nearly 50% of which is outside France. On track to grow by over 15% in 2016, the group is currently expanding its industrial capabilities.

François Barbier, Managing Partner of 21 Centrale Partners, declared: “With Ligier Group we demonstrated resilience through a tough market and the ability to adapt by leveraging favorable fundamentals and innovation. Going forward the group is well positioned to further extend its growth trajectory.”

Gérard Pluvinet, Founding Managing Partner of 21 Centrale Partners, added: “Together with the exit of Digital Virgo in July for a 8.5x investment cost multiple, we will return an additional €M 74 to investors in our 2006 vintage, 21 Centrale Partners III. A well advanced process is also currently underway for the remaining portfolio company.”

21 Invest France completes its management transition

Announced in 2017, the new governance is now effective and François Barbier becomes CEO of 21 Invest France, succeeding Gérard Pluvinet who joins the Supervisory Board. Meanwhile, the team has signed four acquisitions for its new Fund, which now counts five investments in total.
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