French co-op InVivo buys 50% stake in UCD spin-out

One of Europe’s largest agricultural co-ops, the French-based InVivo, has acquired a 50% stake in a UCD spin-out company for an undisclosed sum.

The group, which has revenues of more than €6bn, has bought half control of Dublin-based research and development company, Life Scientific, a specialist in off-patent crop protection products that is headquartered at NovaUCD, the university’s innovation incubation centre.

Established in 1995 by Nicola Mitchell, the company employs 20 people, has strong links with the likes of UCD and Enterprise Ireland, and generates annual revenues of over €10m.

The deal is in line with InVivo’s strategy of forming alliances to invest in innovation and bringing the union’s co-operatives and their members a broader range of sustainable and profitable solutions.

One of the continent’s largest co-op groups with 223 members, InVivo is a purchasing, marketing, and innovation mentor for its members. The group’s aim is to implement innovations from crop protection firms, like Life Scientific, through on-the-ground support in the marketing of its speciality products.

It is also seeking to maintain on-the-market/off-patent products essential to the development of crop protection programmes.

“Our aim is to form upstream partnerships with suppliers able to meet our specifications, with a view to marketing selected post-patent products. Our acquisition of a stake in Life Scientific, approved unanimously by our board of directors, is part of that strategy,” according to Laurent Martel, director of the French group’s agriculture division.

Ms Mitchell said: “The transaction, concluded with InVivo, will allow us to scale our proven business model, both in France and globally.”

“It will strengthen our engagement with our customers, the InVivo co-operative members, and is a major endorsement of Life Scientific’s continued capacity to innovate on a global scale.”

Ms Mitchell will retain her position as chief executive of Life Scientific, while Mr Martel will become the company’s chairperson.

InVivo’s overall remit is to work with its member co-ops to develop sustainable and profitable solutions, enabling farmers to secure their production and revenue.

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