French agricultural cooperative InVivo Group is negotiating to acquire the family company Soufflet Group, the companies announced on 13 January.

The new group would have a strong position both in France and internationally, according to the companies, and would operate more than 90 industrial sites, 59 of them in France.

“Access to food has become a strategic issue reinforcing the need to preserve the food sovereignty of both France – the ‘Made in France’ label – and Europe. Bringing our two groups together would enable us to address this challenge by providing a 100% French answer and would represent a key driving force for the agricultural transition and the interests of ‘la Ferme France’,” said InVivo Group chairman Philippe Mangin.

The companies said their combined strengths would enhance sustainability in the key sectors of wheat, barley, vegetal protein and wine.

“The success of this combination would be based on the preservation of each group’s identity, continuing to capitalise on their roots, reputations as well as local and international footprints, in order to enable them to pursue their respective development and serve their partners, whether they are industrials or farmers, following the dynamics of the cereals sectors built up over the years,” said Jean-Michel Soufflet, chairman of the executive board of the Soufflet Group.

“By joining forces with InVivo, our family group would find a Franco-French solution to preserve its identity, ensure the continuity of its activities and maintain both its ties in Nogent-sur-Seine and its regional presence.”

The companies said the transaction could be finalised by the end of 2021 and would be subject to the authorisation of anti-trust authorities.

InVivo Group brings together 192 cooperatives and comprises four key activities: Bioline by InVivo (agriculture), InVivo Grains, InVivo Retail, and InVivo Wine.

Family group Soufflet operates in the barley, wheat, rice and pulses sectors and also provides support for vine growers.