Equiteq advises Agriconsulting SpA on the sale of AESA to BF Group

June 13, 2024

Equiteq, the global boutique investment bank, is pleased to announce that it has acted as the financial advisor to Agriconsulting, a provider of solutions to farms and public sector, on the divestiture and sale of AESA, its Belgium-based development consultancy arm incorporating international activities, to the BF Group, Italy’s largest agro-industrial company.

AESA, is the leading provider of development consulting and technical assistance to global sustainable ecosystems via international donors’ funds. The company boasts extensive expertise in agriculture, climate change, environment, economic and social development while catering to a diversified portfolio of global donors, governments and partnerships.

BF Group, is Italy's largest agricultural company by utilized agricultural area (UAA), employing over 1,000 employees and generating c. €1.4bn in annual revenue as of December 2023. It operates across the agro-industrial supply chain, handling production, selection, and commercialization of seeds, cultivation, processing, and sale of agricultural products, and livestock farming. The company focuses on sustainable agriculture, technological solutions, and global scalability, promoting a high-quality, traceable, and replicable supply chain model.

As part of the transaction, Nextalia, a leading Italian private equity firm with over €1bn AuM, acquired Agriconsulting’s SpA Italian operations, consisting of consulting, technical assistance and software solutions to farms and institutions in the agricultural sector and agri-food chains, in land management and sustainable development.

BF Group’s acquisition promises to enhance its capabilities and growth potential. AESA’s market leading expertise and track record of development projects across a range of countries offers potential for synergies, learning and collaboration across the combined portfolio. The partnership is poised to create a robust platform for leveraging AESA's niche development consulting capabilities while supporting BF Group's ambition to scale its agricultural-focused solutions on a global scale.

AESA's Managing Director, Gianluca Vedova, expressed excitement about the partnership with BF International. "Together, we become a stronger, more diverse, and more dynamic organization. Our combined scale and technical and development expertise will allow us to provide enhanced technical & management services and greater value to our international clients, partners and beneficiary countries worldwide."

With the acquisition of AESA, BF International will have corporate offices in Rabat, Nairobi, Lome, Budapest, Ankara, Managua, long- and short-term presence in 75 countries. With more than 400 consultants in the field, AESA provides capacity building and project management support to its core international clients, including the European Union (EU); the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC); The World Bank; The InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), The African Development Bank (AfDB); the Asian Development Bank, the Italian Bilateral Cooperation Agency (AICS), The French Development Agency (AFD), as well as other public and private sector stakeholders in worldwide.

In honor of its outstanding professional reputation within the development consulting industry, AESA  will retain its name and brand, operating as AESA a BF International Company.

Regarding Equiteq’s role in the transaction, Gianluca Vedova, Managing Director at AESA said, “Equiteq demonstrated exceptional proficiency as an advisor, providing critical insights at each phase of our project. Their deep knowledge of the development consulting sector and the global market dynamics were pivotal in positioning AESA for future growth within the BF Group. Importantly, Equiteq's empathetic and human-centric management approach was crucial in navigating the sensitive and personal aspects of the deal, ensuring all parties felt understood and respected. This combination of expertise and empathy significantly contributed to the successful outcome”.

“Supporting the AESA team on its transaction with BF has been a pleasure. As a leading provider of development consulting, conducting technical assistances across the world, I am confident that, through BF’s group large shoulders, AESA is set to increase its market share and potentially expanding into other geographies. It was a genuine pleasure to support Gianluca and the AESA team on its transaction with BF. As a well differentiated provider of international development consulting, I am confident that the strength of the BF group will enhance AESA’s ability to further grow and provide professional opportunity for its employees,” concludes Jerome Glynn-Smith, Head of Europe at Equiteq.

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