Azelis to acquire Orkila

7 Oct 2019

Azelis has signed an agreement to acquire Orkila, a specialty chemicals and food ingredients distributor throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, the Orkila group runs offices in 13 countries and is active in more than 30 countries in the region.

Azelis to acquire Orkila

The company represents a large number of specialty chemicals and food ingredients manufacturers who are said to have a strong strategic fit with Azelis’ principal base. Orkila serves several thousand customers across Africa and the Middle East, ranging from major multinationals to smaller local producers, all seeking specialty products that bring added value to their brand, and a reliable partner to achieve success in this vibrant and growing marketplace.

Through this transaction Azelis intends to acquire 100% of Orkila, with over 220 employees joining the Azelis team. Orkila was created in 2005 and sells into multiple market segments, including pharmaceuticals, food, agrochemicals, animal nutrition, personal care, paints & construction, oilfield, plastic additives, home care and water treatment. To ensure business continuity, Audrey Sacy Aris and Christophe Sacy, as well as other senior managers, will continue to run the operations going forward.

Orkila has an application lab in Egypt that serves both food and personal care customers. The company also offers accredited laboratory testing coupled with the ability to develop and introduce products, create and enhance formulations and assist the clients’ pursuit of growth and improved performance.

Dr. Hans Joachim Müller, Azelis Chief Executive Officer & President, said: “We are very excited that Orkila will become a part of Azelis. They are a well-established company, known in Africa and the Middle East for their high quality expertise and service. We have been impressed by Orkila’s committed management, the similarity of our business models and excellent cultural fit. We know that many of our principals are currently looking into strengthening their activities in Africa. Combining the strength of a leading regional specialty distributor with the strength of Azelis will result in an excellent and unique platform for organic growth.”

Antoine Sacy, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Orkila, said: “After almost 15 years of growing on a stand-alone basis, it is time for us to move into global waters. Joining a well-established global player such as Azelis will enable us not only to continue to deliver high quality products and services that our customers are accustomed to, but also to access new growth opportunities. It will enable us to continue to thrive under their ownership, securing unparalleled service to our customers, superior growth for our principals and a highly rewarding work environment for our employees. The exciting fact is that now we will be able to tap into Azelis’ strong international presence, exchange of knowledge on the global level and leverage our combined operational excellence.”

Anna Bertona, Azelis EMEA Chief Executive Officer & President, said: “Azelis has successfully grown its organic presence in Africa over the recent years by establishing grassroots operations in Morocco, Ivory Coast and Tunisia. A combination of Azelis and Orkila is expected to further cement Azelis’ relationship with key principals, sharing aligned growth ambitions. Both our companies focus on strong technical expertise, high operational standards and sustainable growth. This new partnership will forge a unique, new innovative specialty service provider in the region, combining Orkila’s customer reach and extensive regional expertise with Azelis’ EcoVadis Gold CSR-rating, robust international infrastructure and good compliance practices.”

Nicole Sacy, Orkila’s Vice Chairman, said: “Since its inception, Orkila has capitalized on a legacy of excellence in the specialty chemical industry dating back over a century. Our strength lies in our diversity and expertise and the know-how of a highly qualified local sales force. We are especially pleased that Orkila's employees are highly valued by Azelis, and that they will have the opportunity to contribute to the company's future success. By leveraging the global reach of Orkila and Azelis, we are confident that the combined organization will be very successful.”

Azelis notes that it has been increasingly focusing on Africa and the Middle East lately by expanding its footprint in the region.

“The population of Africa is projected to reach 1.7b by 2030 and more than 80% of this growth will occur in cities,” said Müller. “African industries are expected to double production in the period 2015-2025 and the continent’s annual investment in infrastructure has doubled since the beginning of the century. In short, we see an enormous potential in Africa, we have been investing in the recent years, but this acquisition will give us a significant tailwind which we are extremely excited about.”

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