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The investment fund PAI Partners enters the shareholding of Uvesco supermarkets to boost their growth

Interior of a BM supermarket, which distributes Uvesco products. JAVIER HERNÁNDEZ

The French investment fund PAI Partners has signed an agreement this Wednesday to acquire a majority stake in the Basque company Uvesco, owner of the BM supermarket chain, with more than 250 establishments, one of the main distributors of food products in the north of Spain. Neither the amount of the operation nor the exact percentage that the fund will acquire has been specified. The current shareholders of the firm will continue to have a relevant stake in the business to support its growth and acquisitions plan, as reported by the company in a statement. The company's headquarters and the central offices of the food distribution group will remain in Guipúzcoa.

Founded in 1993, Uvesco is a leading regional operator in the Spanish sector for the distribution of consumer goods and food, with a strong presence in the Basque Country, Cantabria, Navarra and La Rioja, as well as a growing position in Madrid. The company is committed to a high-quality offer that includes fresh, locally-sourced products that are sold through a network of 277 proximity stores located in six regions. Uvesco operates under two brands: BM Supermercados (249 stores) and Super Amara (8 stores). The other 20 stores in which it distributes its products are franchises that operate under the BM Shop brand. In addition, it has five logistics platforms in the north of Spain: two central distribution platforms and three for distribution of fresh products.

Uvesco has doubled its turnover in the last 12 years, going from 465 million euros of net income in 2008 to 954 million in 2020. PAI's investment will help support the expansion plans of the management team, both organically with the deployment of new stores and franchises, mainly in the north of Spain and Madrid, as well as through merger and acquisition opportunities that arise in the Spanish retail food market.

“Our commitment to local products, to kilometer zero, stable relationships and trust in our suppliers will continue to be a pillar of our new stage. The Spanish market has strong growth potential and we look forward to working with PAI to launch the many projects that lie ahead ”, said José Ramón Fernández de Barrena, CEO of Uvesco.

This transaction is the fifth investment announced by PAI Mid-Market Fund (PAI MMF), the mid-size market operations fund. The French company previously acquired Amplitude Surgical, the French leader in the market for orthopedic lower limb prostheses; Angulas Aguinaga, a Spanish multinational in fish and shellfish food products; MyFlower, Europe's leading digital platform in the flowers and gifts sector operating under the Interflora brand, and Scrigno, the European leader in solutions for sliding doors and windows, based in Italy.

Mateo Pániker Rumeu, founding partner of PAI MMF, trusts that this operation will be an opportunity to deploy the business model of the Basque group based on fresh and local products. “The retail food market in Spain continues to be very fragmented and we believe that there are consolidation opportunities through a platform such as Uvesco's”, he added.

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