Azelis has signed an agreement to acquire Orkila

Azelis announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Orkila, the  specialty chemicals and food ingredients distributor throughout Africa and the Middle East. Headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, the Orkila group runs offices in 13 countries and is active in more than 30 countries in the region. They represent many renowned world-class specialty chemicals and food ingredients manufacturers who have a strong strategic fit with the company’s principal base. The Lebanese distributor serves several thousand customers across Africa and the Middle East, ranging from major multinationals to smaller local producers, all seeking specialty products that bring added value to their brand, and a reliable partner to achieve success in this vibrant and growing marketplace.

One of the fastest growing distribution markets

Africa has been experiencing economic acceleration, growing middle class and improved business environment, thus providing Azelis and its principals with the opportunity to accelerate their growth in the region. The specialty chemicals distribution market in Africa and the Middle East is one of the fastest growing in the world while the blue-chip raw material producers are looking for a sizeable distributor in the region. The acquisition creates a unique combination of the company’s innovation & formulation potential, its EcoVadis Gold status and international reach on one side and the strong local presence, regional expertise and excellent reputation of Orkila on the other. The transaction is expected to complete in the next four months.

220 employees joining

Through this transaction Azelis intends to acquire 100% of Orkila, with over 220 employees joining the Azelis team. The Lebanese company was created in 2005 and grew to become the leading specialty chemicals and food ingredients distributor in the region, with sales into multiple market segments, including pharmaceuticals, food, agrochemicals, animal nutrition, personal care, paints & construction, oilfield, plastic additives, home care and water treatment. To ensure business continuity, Audrey Sacy Aris and Christophe Sacy, as well as other senior managers, will continue to run the operations going forward.

Like Azelis, the company is very focused on promoting specialty service offerings and and has an application lab in Egypt that serves both food and personal care customers. Orkila also offers accredited laboratory testing coupled with the ability to develop and introduce innovative products, create and enhance formulations and assist the clients’ pursuit of growth and improved performance.

Excellent cultural fit

Dr. Hans Joachim Müller, Azelis Chief Executive Officer & President, comments: “We are very excited that Orkila will become a part of Azelis. They are a well-established company, known in Africa and the Middle East for their high-quality expertise and service. We have been impressed by Orkila’s committed management, the similarity of our business models and excellent cultural fit. We know that many of our principals are currently looking into strengthening their activities in Africa. Combining the strength of a leading regional specialty distributor with the strength of Azelis will result in an excellent and unique platform for organic growth.”

Time to move into global waters

Antoine Sacy, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Orkila, adds: “After almost 15 years of growing on a stand-alone basis, it is time for us to move into global waters. Joining a well-established global player such as Azelis will enable us not only to continue to deliver high quality products and services that our customers are accustomed to, but also to access new growth opportunities. It will enable us to continue to thrive under their ownership, securing unparalleled service to our customers, superior growth for our principals and a highly rewarding work environment for our employees. The exciting fact is that now we will be able to tap into Azelis’ strong international presence, exchange of knowledge on the global level and leverage our combined operational excellence.”

Focus on strong technical expertise

Anna Bertona, Azelis EMEA Chief Executive Officer & President, adds:”Azelis has successfully grown its organic presence in Africa over the recent years by establishing grassroots operations in Morocco, Ivory Coast and Tunisia. A combination of Azelis and Orkila is expected to further cement Azelis’ relationship with key principals, sharing aligned growth ambitions. Both our companies focus on strong technical expertise, high operational standards and sustainable growth. This new partnership will forge a unique, new innovative specialty service provider in the region, combining Orkila’s customer reach and extensive regional expertise with Azelis’ EcoVadis Gold CSR-rating, robust international infrastructure and good compliance practices.”

Diversity and expertise

Nicole Sacy, Orkila’s Vice Chairman, comments: “Since its inception, Orkila has capitalized on a legacy of excellence in the specialty chemical industry dating back over a century. Our strength lies in our diversity and expertise and the know-how of a highly qualified local sales force. We are especially pleased that Orkila’s employees are highly valued by Azelis, and that they will have the opportunity to contribute to the company’s future success. By leveraging the global reach of Orkila and Azelis, we are confident that the combined organization will be very successful.”

Expanding the footprint in Africa and Middle East

Azelis has been increasingly focusing on Africa and the Middle East lately by expanding its footprint in the region. “Population of Africa is projected to reach 1.7b by 2030 and more than 80% of this growth will occur in cities,” continues Dr. Müller. “African industries are expected to double production in the period 2015-2025 and the continent’s annual investment in infrastructure has doubled since the beginning of the century. In short, we see an enormous potential in Africa, we have been investing in the recent years, but this acquisition will give us a significant tailwind which we are extremely excited about.”

The acquisition of Orkila illustrates the support provided by EQT since the initial acquisition of Azelis. EQT is confident that the expanded range of services and global reach provided by this acquisition will continue to bring benefits to customers and principals of the combined group.

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