AURELIUS Equity Opportunities sells Briar Chemicals to Safex Chemicals


AURELIUS Equity Opportunities sells Briar Chemicals to Safex Chemicals

  • Briar Chemicals, the UK´s leading agrochemical contract manufacturer, sold to a strategic buyer
  • Strong growth prospects in the agrochemicals market with Briar Chemicals expected to report revenue for FY22 of above EUR 70m
  • Further successful exit for AURELIUS despite a challenging market environment

Munich, October 11, 2022 – AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA (ISIN: DE000A0JK2A8) announces the disposal of Briar Chemicals Limited (Briar), the leading agrochemical Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) in the UK, to Safex Chemicals India Limited (Safex), a crop protection product group. In March 2021, Safex partnered with ChrysCapital, one of India’s largest and most successful Private Equity funds. The sale of Briar Chemicals is valued at approximately EUR 83m. The simultaneous signing and closing of the transaction took place on October 10, 2022.

“Briar Chemicals is a trusted long-term partner to many of the world´s largest chemical groups, with an impressive heritage. Since becoming part of the AURELIUS portfolio, Briar first stabilised and subsequently significantly expanded its position. During its time in the AURELIUS portfolio, the Briar Chemicals brand was successfully established in the global market. Furthermore, our operational experts have unlocked significant value by enhancing transparency in the production process and by implementing continuous improvement programmes at Briar’s manufacturing facility. We thank the Briar team for their efforts and contribution to this success story and wish them continued success as part of Safex’s European business”, said Matthias Täubl, CEO of AURELIUS Equity Opportunities.

“We are pleased with the opportunity to make an investment in manufacturing assets outside of India, which should help Safex leapfrog into becoming a fully integrated crop protection business in coming years”, said S.K Chaudhary, Founding Director of Safex. 

Briar Chemicals, based in Norwich, UK, has been part of the AURELIUS portfolio since 2012, following a corporate carve-out transaction from Bayer CropScience. At its site in Norwich, the company employs around 250 people making it the UK´s largest agrochemical CDMO. The firm offers a full CDMO asset portfolio, from labs to large scale reactors and, operating from 115 acres site facilities, its infrastructure offers capacity for further growth. 

Following AURELIUS’ carve-out of Briar Chemicals, the Norwich site was established as a stand-alone contract manufacturer. Production was comprehensively reorganised to improve operational on-site support, assign responsibility to individual production units for safety, output, and quality across all day-to-day activities. 

Leveraging its legacy business relationship with Bayer, a third-party licensing business was successfully established. AURELIUS subsequently identified and harnessed Briar’s growth potential, including improving environmental standards with the help of the company's own solar farm, and the development of a new business park.

“We are convinced that Safex will greatly benefit from the market position and expertise of Briar and its team. Briar Chemicals has never lost a customer to a competitor, and under AURELIUS ownership has grown its blue-chip customer base. The relationship with the Norwich community, an important pillar for the Briar business, has been fostered throughout AURELIUS’ ownership period via various initiatives, and we thank the local community for its support”, commented Gerhard Engleder, Vice President at AURELIUS.

AURELIUS was advised on the transaction by DC Advisory (Corporate Finance), Deloitte (Financial), Travers Smith (Legal), EY (Tax), NexantECA (Commercial), and Birketts (Property).

SAFEX was advised on the transaction by Investec (Corporate Finance), KPMG (Financial and Tax DD), Bird & Bird (Legal) and TRC (Environmental).