The LAC1 fund takes a stake in EssilorLuxottica
This is the second investment of this fund managed by Bpifrance and made to support leading French companies.
The Lac1 fund, also called Lac d’Argent (which can be translated as “Silver Lake”), was launched mid-2020, Bpifrance closing its first fundraising in May with an investment capacity of €4.2 billion (€3.2 billion in capital subscriptions and €1 billion in debt). On February 24th, 2021, Bpifrance announced LAC1 fund’s second investment, taking a stake in EssilorLuxottica.
The LAC1 fund, a long-term support investment for large French multinationals
LAC1 fund’s final goal is to endow €10 billion to invest in 15 to 20 French multinationals. In May 2020, Bpifrance and its new fund announced its first closing after raising over €4bn. Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth funds, Mubadala Investment Company, contributed up to €1bn. France and UAE maintain close relationship, both countries showing their commitment to supporting companies, and developing new opportunities for them together. Along with Mubadala Investment Company, over 20 other contributors took part in the LAC1 fund, such as bank and insurance companies, sovereign funds, large corporations and other institutions. Among them, Orange, the Caisse des Dépôts Group, Crédit Agricole Assurances, and many others.
Le Lac d’Argent aims to offer a long-term support for major listed French companies, to back up their strategic plans. The fund’s roadmap is to invest in companies with a significant potential for value creation, but that also take in account societal values. The LAC1 fund’s main goal is to stabilize equity capital of listed French multinationals.
To find these companies, the fund relies on a pool of 130 large French companies, listed in Euronext, with a capitalization over €500 million, and engaged in technological and environmental transitions. These two societal issues have become even more crucial today with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The LAC1 fund made its first investment in last November, taking 5% of Arkema’s stake. Arkema is the world leader in speciality chemicals, and has proven numerous times its ability for innovation, while keeping in mind sustainable and environmental aspects.
LAC1 fund second investment: EssilorLuxottica
EssilorLuxottica was created in 2018 after the fusion of the French company Essilor, and the Italian company Luxottica, and relies on a unique vertical integration model. The based-in-Paris multinational, world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of corrective lenses, optical equipment, and sunglasses, operates in a resilient and growing market driven by structural trends. The company has many competitive advantages, as it has the world’s leading bricks and mortar and online distribution network for optical products, and worldwide renowned brands in its portfolio. Unrivalled in terms of innovation ability, EssilorLuxottica’s share is included in the Euro Stoxx 50, which is the stock index for the 50 largest companies in the Eurozone, and in the CAC 40, the French stock market index that gathers the 40 largest French companies.
With these many arguments, LAC1 announced on February 2021 its long-term support to EssilorLuxottica, taking a stake in the company.
“We are very pleased with the Lac1 Fund’s investment in EssilorLuxottica, the undisputed world leader on the optical market, and with the welcome we received from its senior executives. We will be working alongside the Group over the long term, as we are convinced that it has significant growth potential and that its expertise contributes to the well-being of humanity. EssilorLuxottica’s high quality teams and unique positioning enable it to fully address the challenges facing the world to see better”, said Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance.
As requested, and later approved by EssilorLuxottica’s Board of Directors, an Independent Director representing the LAC1 will be appointed during the next General Meeting of the company.