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Majority owner ARCHIMED and its partners fund three add-on acquisitions by diversified European health safety testing company, CARSO




The deals make CARSO the largest provider of health-at-work testing services in France, and a leader in Europe, while also consolidating the high-margin European food purity testing market. The recent M&A streak brings the total number of acquisitions completed by CARSO under current ownership to five, with several potential deals in negotiation.

Global private equity healthcare specialist ARCHIMED with its partners, CAPZA Flex Equity Mid-Market and Siparex, have funded three concurrent acquisitions for their European health safety testing leader, CARSO. The acquisitions were financed with equity injections by the shareholders and a debt facility (provided by Tikehau Capital), set up for the company by the majority owner ARCHIMED.

The three acquisitions are Arace Laboratori, a leading Italian environment and food safety testing group founded in 2007; AQCF, a French-based food safety group well known for its consulting expertise; and a grouping of three high-capacity asbestos testing laboratories acquired as a corporate carve-out from AC Environnement, a leading French real estate environmental diagnostics group.

“With ARCHIMED’s backing we’re playing a key role consolidating the European purity testing market,” says CARSO chief executive Thierry Schietecatte.

Since ARCHIMED’s acquisition in 2021, CARSO annual revenue – powered both by acquisitions and organic growth – has risen 33 percent to an expected €255 million in the current fiscal year. CARSO is now France’s purity testing leader across the environment, healthcare, food, pharma, criminal forensics and health-at-work sectors.

CARSO’s latest acquisitions follow the purchases last year of Agro.biolab, one of the most recognized and respected testing brands for food products in Italy, and Analy-co, a French environmental testing laboratory; also financed by ARCHIMED and its partners. In all transactions apart from the corporate carve-out, founders and management rolled significant equity proceeds into CARSO, or into subsidiaries created by the acquisitions.

“Our goal is to give CARSO the means to consolidate their French lead and to expand that lead to all of Europe”

Antoine Faguer, ARCHIMED partner

ARCHIMED acquired CARSO through its now fully invested MED Platform I fund. MED Platform I closed on commitments of €1.5 billion in 2020, then a record for a European-headquartered private equity healthcare group. The fund and its successor MED Platform II partner with growth companies in the European and North American mid-cap healthcare sectors, buying majority stakes for €100 million to €500 million, usually in association with existing owners and managers. MED Platform II closed on €3.5 billion in June, making it one of the largest private equity healthcare funds ever raised. Overall, ARCHIMED is ranked as the world’s 6th best performing midmarket buyout group according to the recently released 2023 HEC-DowJones MidMarket Buyout Performance Ranking (out of 632 midmarket firms globally).