French global private equity firm Ardian said it entered into exclusive negotiations with Azulis Group to buy a majority stake in the Lagarrigue Group, a leading manufacturer of orthopedic equipment in France.

BNP Paribas Développement, Galia Gestion, and Acto Mezz are also selling their stakes in Lagarrigue, while iXO Private Equity may reduce or sell its stake. Lagarrigue’s management team will increase its stake, alongside Ardian.

The deal comes only four months after Ardian closed the sale of Lagarrigue’s larger Italian rival Lima, to global private equity firm EQT’s seventh fund, EQT VII, as reported by ExitHub at the end of last year. Lima, employs more than 700 people and is a global player in the orthopedic space, present in more than 40 countries, with a turnover of €142.5 million in 2014, and EBITDA of €38.6 million.

The global orthopedic market is expected to grow by approximately 5% per annum going forward, according to EQT industry analysts. The market benefits from favorable underlying fundamentals such as general population growth, ageing society and active lifestyles resulting in healthy and resilient growth dynamics.

Lagarrigue specializes in the design and tailor-made manufacturing of major orthopedic equipment, such as prosthetics and orthotics, for patients suffering from permanent or temporary disability. Founded in 1976 and led by Alain Montean, president, and Jean-Pierre Mahé, managing director, the group has 33 agencies in France and employs more than 400 people. In 2016, Lagarrigue expects to achieve a turnover of more than €50 million.

“After 5 years of strong growth thanks to constant support from Azulis, we needed a new strong partner to pursue our ambitious development strategy. With Ardian, we will benefit from the expertise and international network to enter into a new phase of development,” Montean and Mahé remarked in a press statement.

“Our work with Lagarrigue is a good example of a successful partnership between a financial investor and a consumer-facing company, particularly as it evolves in the disability sector. We are proud to have supported the management in their development. The will to surpass themselves, the team spirit and ambition have allowed a local SME to become a leading player with a strong potential for development,” said Azulis Capital partner Christine Mariette.

“Lagarrigue’s success is primarily due to the quality of its team, the performance of its agency network and the know-how the company has developed on this leading offer. There are numerous opportunities in this highly fragmented market and we look forward to supporting this company to continue its development, both in France and abroad, thanks to the support of Ardian’s resources and network,” added Ardian Expansion France managing director Marie Arnaud-Battandier.

Natixis Partners is acting as M&A adviser to Ardian, with 8 Advisory, and Ariane Santé acting as financial and strategic advisers, respectively. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and B&L Avocats are acting as legal and tax advisers.

Edmond de Rothschild Corporate finance is acting as financial advisor to the sellers. Agilys and Coteg&Azam are acting as legal and tax advisers.

Ardian, founded in 1996 and led by Dominique Senequier, is an independent private investment company with $55 billion in assets under management. The firm maintains a global network, with more than 430 employees working through twelve offices in Paris, London, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Zurich, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Singapore, Jersey and Luxembourg.

Azulis Capital is one of the most active players in the French private equity market, with almost 110 investments realized over the past 20 years.

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