By Mathieu Champoux

Interview with Sébastien Bossard | CEO of Kersia

At the end of 2020, exclusive negotiations with a new shareholder were announced. What happened? 

The operation came to fruition on December 23. IK Investment Partners is the group’s new majority shareholder. Their addition gives us visibility because this type of fund, like Ardian, which has been our shareholder since 2016, is only intended to support the development of companies for four to six years. IK Investment Partners is one of the structures that best knows our environment, having already financed companies specializing, like us, in food safety. The fund is of Swedish origin and has a large team in France with whom we will gain in terms of quality of exchange. 

Is it the group’s only shareholder? 

It is the majority shareholder. But the objective is that the employees one day take control of the group by holding an increasingly larger part of its capital: it is now 10%, compared to 3%. Our model is participatory. A tenth of our workforce is a shareholder of the group. 

 

What is Kersia’s outlook? 

Our revenues reached €370 million, compared to €90 million in 2016. We want them to reach between €600M and €700M within four years. Our projects include the extensions of a microbiology laboratory near Mâcon (Saône-et-Loire) and a biotechnology research site in Canada. We have also acquired shares in a Dutch digital start-up to offer breeders the technology to detect a health problem in an animal more quickly, based on statistical parameters. In short, we want to combine chemistry, biotechnologies and digital to guide the future of our solutions. 

 

What is the core business of the Kersia Group? 

We specialize in food safety for all market segments from farm to fork, including food processing, the dairy industry or breeding, catering outside the home—school canteen, company restaurants, hospitals, etc.—and water purification products, which are mainly intended for non-governmental organizations or the military. We issue diagnoses for our customers and implement protocols to prevent food from being contaminated with pathogens. We then offer solutions, the technologies of which vary from one field to another. It takes very different products to clean a barn floor or a cow’s udder. 

« We specialize in food safety for all market segments from farm to fork »

 

What is the specificity of the Dinard site? 

It is the historic headquarters of the company and still its largest entity with 140 employees. The group employs 1,800 people. The site also has two production plants, including the former Hypred plant, which produce detergents and disinfectants. The other production unit, HyNutrition, also belonged to the Roullier Group and was taken over by Kersia because its activity seemed complementary. It produces food supplements for animals that, by improving animal physiology, help prevent the need for medicated treatments. Dinard is also one of our four Research and Development centres and has been completely renovated over the past three years. 

 

But Kersia is now present in 120 countries around the world? 

Yes. In recent years, we have completed each of our segments and established ourselves in new locations. The acquisition of the Belgian company Sopura in December even allows us to be in Oceania since it has an Australia production site. This was our seventh acquisition in four years. Our revenues, however, have also continued to grow, apart from these acquisitions, with our clients. We are a food safety leader: our competitors are sometimes bigger than us, but they are also more broad-based. 

« This was our seventh acquisition in four years »

 

Do you also take societal and environmental actions? 

For example, we try to recycle our plastic packaging and reduce the quantities of water used by offering more concentrated solutions or requiring less rinsing. We are also very interested in social entrepreneurship: we would like to help bring food security to regions with little or no access to it. With the NGO Ashoka’s support, we offer training programs to our employees to raise their awareness. 

 

To discover more about Kersia / Choisy in Canada

 

Interview is originally from www.agence-api.ouest-france.fr by Marie LENGLET

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