Safex Chemicals India, a fast-growing Indian agrochemicals company has acquired Briar Chemicals, UK’s leading agrochemicals Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) provider, for the amount of £73 million, from the pan-European alternative investment firm Aurelius Equity Opportunities. It is backed by ChrysCapital, one of India’s largest private equity firms, which owns a significant minority stake in the business.

The company, based in Norwich, is UK’s leading agrochemicals CDMO solutions provider and serves the world’s most innovative agrochemical companies. It was formed as a carve-out transaction from Bayer CropScience in 2012. It has complex chemistry and CDMO process development capabilities and employs around 250 people. The company operates from a 115-acre well-invested manufacturing site consisting of the lab to large-scale reactors, with sufficient available space and infrastructure for future expansion. Neeraj Jindal, director of Safex, has joined the board and will steer the future growth of the company.

““The addition of Briar to Safex’s crop protection business strengthens our position in the global agrochemicals market,” said Piyush Jindal, director of Safex.

New agricultural land cannot be developed fast enough to keep up with global population growth, which is expected to increase from about 7.6 billion people now to around 8.8 billion by 2035, so farmers rely on agrochemicals to generate greater yields. Another long-term macro driver of the agrochemicals industry is rising biofuel consumption, which is forecast to grow by around 30% in the five years from 2021 to 2026 as a result of high and rising oil prices.

“Acquiring Briar Chemicals will fast-track Safex into becoming a fully integrated company, present in all industry verticals. Strong operational synergies and strategic vision will help Safex to become an important player in the global agrochemical industry. This is a very exciting time for our business,” said SK Chaudhary, founder and director of Safex.

R K Jindal, another director of Safex, views the acquisition as a sign that the Indian agrochemical industry has arrived.

“The acquisition of Briar is strategic and will help catapult Safex’s growth in the global agrochemicals market. “In addition to providing equity, ChrysCapital will work with management on the transition and integration of the acquisition,” said Raghav Ramdev, managing director, ChrysCapital.

Matthias Täubl, CEO, Aurelius Equity Opportunities, said, “Since becoming part of the Aurelius portfolio, Briar first stabilised and subsequently significantly expanded its position. 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.”