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Case Study


Strategy: Mid Cap
Sector: Industrials
Status: Realised
Country: France
Entry: October 2017
Exit: October 2022

The International Transformation of LINXIS Group


Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Nantes, France, LINXIS Group (“LINXIS” or “the Group”) is a leading global supplier of industrial processing equipment and automation solutions for the food, pharma and cosmetic industries.

With a market-leading position in Europe and North America, LINXIS has more than 1,100 employees who serve over 1,000 clients across 100 countries. The Group is divided into three business areas and has six key brands:

1. Mixing Technology – Diosna, Shaffer and VMI

2. Ingredients Automation – Shick Esteve

3. Portion Process – Unifiller and Bakon

IK Partners (“IK”) acquired a majority stake in LINXIS from Equistone in October 2017 and while the company was already well-established in certain markets, we believed that there were plenty more opportunities for growth. For instance, through the expansion of its geographic footprint; pursuit of organic growth via cross-selling; drive for operational excellence; and development of its platform through various acquisitions. By 2022, when IK exited the investment, the Group’s earnings had almost doubled, the company had established a truly international presence and its operational focus had been sharpened.

Expanding the Footprint

Selective acquisitions were a key pillar of the growth strategy and during our five-year ownership period, LINXIS completed four transactions, moving into both new territories and new product areas:

1. Unifiller: A Vancouver-based business, making specialised equipment for small and mid-sized bakeries, helped to expand LINXIS’ international footprint and equipment portfolio.

2. Laramore: A Georgia-based company, specialising in complex equipment to collect and reuse flour within industrial baking facilities. A genuine leader in its field, Laramore allowed LINXIS to offer more services to existing customers and access new ones.

3. Bakon: Operating in similar fields to Unifiller, this Netherlands-based business allowed LINXIS to access larger markets — including European industrial bakeries — and expand its expertise within this high-value subsegment.

4. Shaffer: Known for making the most durable and innovative horizontal mixers in the baking industry, this Ohio-headquartered firm strengthened LINXIS’ mixing technology division.

Driving Organic Growth

While buy-and-build played a central role in this investment, organic growth was also a critical area of focus with a range of improvements delivered across the Group:

  • The product offering was honed.
  • Cross-selling was enhanced between the various business units, through sales investment, targeted organisational adjustment as well as implementation of new tools.
  • An operational excellence programme was devised, centred on best-in-class procurement and the development of a comprehensive after-sales strategy.
  • Investment in engineering and R&D was increased.

Taken together, these activities drove profitability, even as the company furthered its technical excellence to foster outperformance versus competitors.

Strengthening Management

The LINXIS management team was optimised through the ownership period, reflecting a shift in focus and aspiration:

  • Under a planned transition programme, LINXIS CEO Didier Soumet became Chair of the Group while Tim Cook became Group CEO.
  • Based in Kansas City, Tim had previously headed LINXIS’ key subsidiary Shick Esteve.
  • Tim’s appointment played a critical role in the successful exit to Hillenbrand, a large diversified industrial group based in the US.

Enhancing the Approach to ESG

A rigorous environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) strategy was adopted during IK’s ownership along three lines:

  • Regular reviews were introduced to focus attention on due process around key ESG issues.
  • The company initiated support programmes for customers to measure and improve their environmental impact.
  • An ESG Report was published in 2021.



Tim Cook, CEO of LINXIS Group, commented: “We are delighted to have enjoyed a successful partnership with IK, which saw LINXIS grow significantly since 2017. The additional financial firepower and market expertise brought by the IK team allowed us to pursue several inorganic growth opportunities and expand the business on a global scale.”

Didier Soumet, Chairman of LINXIS Group, commented: In 2017, IK was our top choice when it came to selecting a partner to support LINXIS in its next stage of growth. Its significant experience and specialist expertise in the sector was a key driving force when making the decision. During our partnership, the team at IK consistently brought value to the table and always in a way which fostered successful collaboration and garnered the buy-in of our management team.”

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