It is a rapprochement between the cooperative world and that of finance. A year after taking over the grain trader Soufflet, the agricultural giant InVivo has just announced an association with 2 MX Organic, the investment structure created by Xavier Niel, the founder of Free, the banker Matthieu Pigasse and Moez-Alexandre Zouari , the leading shareholder in Picard frozen foods.
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Both parties want to create the ” European leader in sustainable, alternative and responsible distribution “, which will be called “ The Grand Marché-Frais from here “.
Farmers keep the power
For two years, the three entrepreneurs had been looking to invest in short-circuit food distribution. Rumors had circulated about the takeover of the Grand Frais brand from the Cora group.
Finally, 2 MX Organic set its sights on “InVivo Retail”, the distribution branch of the cooperative, which was looking for financial resources and new ideas to accelerate the development of its 1,600 stores. These are mainly garden centres, with Gamm Vert, Jardiland and Delbard, to which are added a few shops selling local products (Frais d’ici and Bio & Co) and pet shops.
In practice, the 188 member cooperatives of InVivo, themselves owned by 300,000 farmers, will subscribe to the capital increase launched by 2 MX Organic, of which they will take control with approximately 60% of the shares. The three founders will keep 10%, the rest to be open to private investors, via an IPO. The 300 million euros previously raised by 2 MX Organic will be used to develop the new brand.
By using part of the commercial areas of the garden centres, around a hundred stores of around 1,000 m2 will be created in the next three or five years. All will play the card of local production and the short circuit, each time with the emphasis on traceability.
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A model ” disruptive » which meets the expectations of consumers, but which the current businesses have never succeeded in setting up, assure the leaders of the new group. Emphasis will also be placed on online sales.
” The Grand Marché-Frais from here, will offer fruits and vegetables, but will also have cheeses as well as bakery, fish and butcher sections. The products of InVivo’s cooperatives will obviously be highlighted, but without exclusivity, says the group, which nevertheless sees it as a way to secure outlets for its farmers.