Following its 14-years partnership with Charles & Alice, Crédit Mutuel Equity has renewed its support to the expert in fruit- and vegetable-based desserts, allowing management to take a larger stake in the company’s capital.

The story of Crédit Mutuel Equity and Thierry Goubault, CEO of Charles & Alice, began in 2007 when this dynamic entrepreneur, together with Crédit Mutuel Equity, decided to take over the company Charles Faraud. Since then, the director and his team were able to transform the SME, which generated a €22 million turnover, into a mid-cap company with an international reach (500 employees in France and in the United States), generating over €160 million in turnover. Charles & Alice is now a market leader in its fields, meaning brand applesauce with no added sugar for the refrigerated section of large and medium-sized supermarkets (with 60% of market share), private labels, and out-of-home dining. “Charles & Alice is the challenger of the applesauce market, an independent player in a world ruled by large food corporations,” explained Lise De Nicola, Associate for Crédit Mutuel Equity.

Preserving its independence

This third investment round from the Drôme-based group consolidated Crédit Mutuel Equity in its role as a reference shareholder, but it also allowed for forty executives to take a hold of 50% of the capital.

A close partnership with the group’s management

For Thierry Goubault, it was only natural to continue “a great story” with Crédit Mutuel Equity. “Industrial stories are built on the long term,” he explained. “It is a real asset to have people with long-term vision helping you. For the last 14 years, we have been growing hand in hand, relying on transparency and trust.

His enthusiasm is shared by Jean-Christophe Vuillot, Managing Director for Crédit Mutuel Equity: “We are very proud to have assisted Charles & Alice during the various stages of its development, to have given managers a larger weight in its capital, and to still stand by its side supporting its transformation and growth even further.” The company also reached a new milestone with the implementation of a profit-sharing scheme for all employees, in line with our shareholder strategy.

Writing a new page

The group now wishes to continue developing the Charles & Alice brand, born in 2011 following the purchase of Hero France. “ With a strongly growing market for natural, tasty, and healthy products, this brand embodies the values of partnership, sustainability and proximity that matter most to the group,” said Olivier Mironneau, Principal for Crédit Mutuel Equity.
A new range of plant-based desserts made with milk alternatives (coconut, almond, oat…) should notably boost Charles & Alice’s development internationally. The group is also counting on promising growth prospects in the United States, where it has been producing applesauce in pouch since 2014, some of which enriched with probiotics.

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