January 10, 2018 / 12:51 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-French agrifood investment fund Sofiproteol secures 100 mln euros capital hike

(Adds details throughout)

PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) -

* French investment firm Sofiproteol, a subsidiary of oilseed group Avril, secured a 100 million euros ($120 million) capital increase with partners from the French banking and farm industry aimed at boosting projects in the food and agro-industrial sectors, it said on Wednesday

* This brought the company’s equity capital to 440 million euros on Dec. 31, with investments forecast at 375 million euros between 2017 and 2022

* Participants in the capital increase included Arkea and Groupama as well as historic ones such as French banks Credit Agricole and Natixis and associations from the oilseed, grain, seed, animal feed and agriculture trading sector

* The capital hike lowered Avril’s share in Sofiproteol to 70 percent from 84 percent previously

* “This will allow us to do bigger investments,” Avril Deputy CEO Michel Boucly, in charge of Sofiproteol, adding that Sofiproteol’s aim was to accompany French companies in their development, with projects mainly targeting international markets

* Sofiproteol will be able to invest up to 75 million euros per year, from 50 million previously, it said in a statement

* Sofiproteol had net profit of 10 million euros in 2017, down from around 12 million in 2016. About 30 percent of net profits are handed out to shareholders while the remaining stays in the company, managers told a news conference

* Sofiproteol invests through minority shares in sectors such as plants, animal supplies, grain handling, food ingredients, basic food products and sustainable innovation

* It also grants medium-term loans, convertible bonds, aid for research and development and venture capital operations

* Sopiproteol’s capital increase comes in addition to one made last month by Sofiproteol Dette Privee, a private debt fund co-financed and managed by Tikehau Capital, which gathered commitments for 205 million euros (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Elaine Hardcastle)

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