World Freight Company raises 33m from 3i, ActoMezz and IDI

06 May 2011

3i, the international investor in private equity, infrastructure and debt management, today announces that it has taken a minority stake in World Freight Company International (“WFCI”). 3i and existing shareholders ActoMezz and the IDI Group have invested a total of €33m in the company. WFCI founder and CEO Pierre Brunet and management will continue to hold a majority stake in the company.

WFCI is the European leader in the GSSA (General Sale and Service Agent) market and employs 350 people worldwide.  Well-known through its subsidiary, Air Logistics, WFCI markets the cargo freight capacity of its customers which are comprised of 190 international airline companies.

The group, which was founded in 2004 by the current chief executive Pierre Brunet, has experienced strong growth in recent years, growing its revenues to more than €500m today.  Since its inception, WFCI has played a significant role in consolidating the market and has established a strong presence in Europe and the United States.  Its professionalism and the sophistication of its services are attributes which enabled the company to be very resilient during the financial crisis in 2008-2009.

The investment by 3i, ActoMezz and the IDI Group will support the company’s international growth strategy and the development of its service offering, with the aim of doubling WFCI’s turnover within 2 years. More specifically, 3i’s global network will enable WFCI to strengthen its international presence, particularly in South America, where 3i has just opened an office in Sao Paolo, and in Asia, where 3i has a strong track record.

By investing in WFCI, 3i builds on its existing track record in the transport and logistics sector, where the group has already invested in companies including ABX, Aviapartner and SR Technics.

Denis Ribon and Mathieu Blanc, Partner and Director of 3i respectively, commented: 

“WFCI has experienced exceptional growth in recent years.  Their network, which comprises 44 offices around the world, and the expertise they have developed have reinforced WFCI’s position as a leader in the European GSSA market.  A truly international company today, WFCI has gained the confidence and loyalty of its customers by offering high-quality services. It also possesses the necessary qualities to act as a consolidator in a fragmented market.  3i has a strong track record of working with fast-growing companies and can provide WFCI with both the financial and strategic support needed to ensure its future growth.”

Eric Gallerne and Arnaud Faure, Managing Director and Investment Portfolio Director of ActoMezz respectively, said: “We are pleased to be joined by 3i as a minority shareholder. 3i will enable WFCI to continue its international growth strategy, which we have been supporting since 2007.”

Marco de Alfaro, Associate Director of IDI, commented, “With a dynamic and experienced management team, WFCI, which IDI has supported for more than 3 years, is in an excellent position for further growth through consolidation of the market . With the arrival of 3i and the backing of the existing shareholders, we will continue to support WFCI’s growth strategy, organically and through acquisitions.”

Pierre Brunet, the founder and CEO of WFCI said: “We would like to thank our existing investors for their continued confidence in us and to welcome 3i as our new shareholder.  3i’s strong track record in the transport and logistics sector, its international network and its investment capability will enable us to accelerate our international growth strategy, and strengthen our position in the European market. Furthermore, 3i is one of the few funds able to invest a significant amount for a minority shareholding.  For all these reasons, we are happy to be embarking on this new ambitious chapter in our development.”

For further information, please contact:

3i:
Laurie Yeh -  +44 20 7975 3126

ActoMezz:
Eric Gallerne -  +33 1.53.93.51.71
Arnaud Faure - +33 1.53.93.51.75

Groupe IDI:
Tatiana Nourissat - +33 1 55 27 80 00 – t.nourissat@idi.fr

Notes to editors

About 3i www.3i.com
3i is an international investor focused on Private Equity, Infrastructure and Debt Management, investing across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio, shareholders and fund investors.  In France, 3i has recently invested in Labco (a leading medical diagnostics group), Vedici (one of the main players in private acute care in France) and Trescal (the European market leader for calibration services).

About ActoMezz  www.actomezz.fr
ActoMezz, the direct investment team sponsored by Groupama Private Equity, primarily as an arranger of mezzanine financing and sometimes as a minority shareholder in two areas: investment alongside private equity funds, investment alongside management teams wishing to increase their capital share following on from an initial successful LBO.  ActoMezz today manages € 187m through its company, Acto Mezzanine, and has already made 19 investments. Groupama Private Equity is the Groupama subsidiary dedicated to private equity.

About the IDI Group www.idi.fr
Created in 1970, IDI is a listed investment company which specialises in mid-market companies.  Historically an investor on its own account in France, IDI has also developed a management activity on behalf of third parties.  Firstly with IDI Mezzanine for mezzanine mid cap investments, then with a strong presence in investment in private equity fund companies in the emerging countries, mainly in China, India and Brazil (Idi Emerging Markets) and in private equity fund companies in Europe and venture capital (Idinvest Partners).  With Idinvest Partners, the IDI Group manages around 3.1 billion euros.