Following exclusive negotiations as announced on the 26th March, the funds managed by Argos Soditic have signed a sale agreement for the Davey Bickford Group with the quoted Chilean company Enaex, subsidiary of the group Sigdo Koppers, for a total amount of €103.3 million.
The completion of the sale will occur once regulatory approval has been obtained.
The Davey Bockford Group was bought by management and the funds managed by Argos Wityu in 2007. The family conglomerate which was founded in 1839 was at that time owned by more than 200 shareholders and was operating in five different sectors. The group has since focused on its historical core business, pyrotechnics, with an acceleration in R&D and capex which has enabled very string world-wide growth.
This transaction will enable Enaex to integrate the electronic initiation technology of Davey Bickford to complete its current range of products focusing on industrial explosives, and to continue its international expansion.
Davey Bickford, specialist and technological leader for pyrotechnic initiation
Davey Bickford designs, manufactures and distributes a complete range of electronic initiation systems (electronic detonators, blasting machines and software), as well as conventional detonators (electric and non-electric). The group mainly addresses mining, quarries and the construction industries. Its offer also includes specialty products: fireworks components, defense products components, and security products.
The electronic initiation solutions offered by Davey Bickford, technologically very advanced, bring many benefits its mining clients in terms of security and productivity by allowing more precision in rock fragmentation. Furthermore, its service and support team enables the group to assist its clients in their use of electronic solutions.
The company employs about 600 people worldwide, with a production site in Héry, in Burgundy.
Growth and transformation of the group since 2007
Founded in 1831, the group was acquired by management and the Argos funds in 2007. At that time, the family-owned conglomerate was held by more than 200 shareholders and was operating in 5 business areas.
- The group then started to re-focus on its core pyrotechnical initiation systems business, in several steps between 2008 and 2010:
- The Jaybeam Wireless business unit, specialized in the manufacturing of mobile network antennas, was sold to the American group Amphenol
- The investment portfolio of real-estate assets was acquired by several independent investors
- The automotive pyrotechnic assets were bought by the German group TRW
- The group disengaged from several minority participations in the manufacturing and distribution of explosives alongside with the EPC group
Simultaneously, a strong investment program was launched to boost the growth of the initiation solutions business, driven in particular by the electronic initiation solutions for the mining industry – the revenues of the segment have been multiplied by 7 in 7 years. The program includes several items:
- Focus on innovation and new product development, enabling the group to launch a new generation of electronic initiation solutions with innovative features such as Synchroblast and Multiblast
- Increase in capital expenditure to enhance production capacity and modernize the production facilities: the average annual capex went from EUR 0.6m before 2007, to EUR 3.5m after 2007
- International expansion with the recruitment of local sales teams, and the creation of subsidiaries in Chile, Peru, Mexico and South Africa, to be as close as possible to the operations of Davey Bickford’s mining customers (Rio Tinto, Anglo American, BHP,…)
- Investment in teams in all areas of expertise: sales, industrial operations, services, marketing and innovation
Daniel Degove, CEO of Davey Bickford: “Enaex has an excellent reputation and is a partner we have known well for years. The complementarity of our two groups, our common DNA focused on growth and the quality of their strategic plan based on preserving Davey Bickford’s strong points, are the key elements of their offer.”
Louis Godron and Karel Kroupa, Partners at Argos Wityu: “Since the acquisition of Davey Bickford by the funds managed by Argos Wityu in 2007, the group has transformed into a worldwide leader in electronic initiation for the mining industry: innovative, close to its customers and with a management culture centered on growth. The offer submitted by Enaex validates the different strategic decisions that have been made and that have been successfully implemented thanks to the dedication of Davey Bickford teams”.
Juan Andrés Errázuriz Domínguez, CEO of Enaex: “Davey Bickford is a highly attractive company with a strong management team and a brand which is well appreciated in the market. Its range of initiation solutions would allow us to expand and complement our current offer, and to enhance our value proposition to our customers.”
- M&A: PwC Corporate Finance (Tarique Shakir-Khalil, Geoffroy Pacault, Emmanuel Aubry, Morgane Proux)
- Lawyers: Mayer Brown (Emily Pennec, Ségolène Dufetel)
- Managers: Alexis Dargent
- Finance: 8 Advisory (Eric Demuyt, Benoît Bestion)
- Strategy: Estin & Co (Jean Estin, Geoffroy Rupprecht)
- Tax: Arsène Taxand (Franck Chaminade)
- Environment: URS (Bertrand Latrobe)
- ESG: PwC (Sylvain Lambert)
- Lawyers: Allen & Overy (Alexandre Ancel, Arnaud de Rochebrune, Flora Leon-Serviere)
- Finance & tax: Deloitte (Leonardo Clavijo, Vadym Diablo, Robert Causee)
- Management: TAJ (Christophe Le Bon, Nicolas Meurant, Delphine Gilles)
Argos Wityu contacts
- Louis Godron (Partner), Karel Kroupa (Partner), Thomas Ribéreau (Analyst)
- Press: Stéphanie Lafitte, tél. +33 1 53 67 20 50, email@example.com
About Argos Wityu (www.argos-soditic.com)
Created in 1989, Argos Wityu is an independent European Private Equity firm with offices in Milan, Paris, Geneva and Brussels. Argos Wityu focuses on management buy-outs, buy-ins, Bimbo, spin-off, in small and medium sized companies. The group of funds managed by the firm typically take majority stakes ranging from €10m to €60m in companies with revenues of €20m to €400m. Since its creation, Argos Wityu has carried out more than 60 transactions focusing on management buy-outs and buy-ins in small and medium companies. The firm has developed a track record of unusual, complex and off-market transactions where the firm’s combination of local presence and international experience is able to add value to the small and medium-sized businesses it invests in.
The fund Argos Wityu VI (€400m) raised in 2011 has allowed the realization of 9 transactions as of today.
About Davey Bickford (www.daveybickford.com)
Established in 1831, Davey Bickford is an international leader in the pyrotechnic initiation sector (detonators, blasting systems and initiation solutions). The company has managed to set itself apart and to develop its reputation thanks to its technology and by continually increasing the level of safety provided for its clients, thanks to its turn-key solutions. Davey Bickford supports and advises professionals, placing its expertise, skills and teams at their disposal, and enabling them to increase safety and productivity. Today, Davey Bickford’s skills and expertise are recognized by numerous professionals around the world (mainly for mining, quarrying, construction and defense). With a large international footprint, Davey Bickford aims to ensure proximity and the closest relationships with its clients, and to address timely their needs.
About Enaex (www.enaex.cl)
Enaex, a subsidiary of Sigdo Koppers Group and a listed company in Chile Stock exchange, is world’s third largest producer of low-density ammonium nitrate as well as the leading provider of comprehensive rock fragmentation services for the mining industry in Chile and Latin America. With 94 years of experience, through its ammonium nitrate and explosives export areas, the Company´s products has presence in approximately 40 countries on practically every continent. Enaex has direct presence in Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Colombia and supplies the world’s most prestigious mining companies including Antofagasta Minerals, Barrick, Anglo American, Codelco, BHP, KGHM Polska Miedz, among others.