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Universal Beauty Group Expands Its Capital to Finance Development


The French natural cosmetics company, known for its Végétalement Provence brand, announces a €6m capital raise from a group of investors led by Connect Pro, an investment fund based in Marseille.

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(Photo: Végétalement Provence)

New shareholders

The arrival of new investors to develop Végétalement Provence, is led by Connect Pro alongside the private equity funds BNP Paribas Développement and Etoile Capital, whose membership of leading banking groups, will ensure the sustainability of the support. The financing is completed by the Région Sud Investissement fund.

« We were won over by the commitment and geographic proximity of Connect Pro and its co-investors, to help companies of our region to grow in France and internationally».

Vincent Faraco,
Co-Founder of Universal Beauty Group

Following the transaction, the founders, Vincent Faraco and Jean-Marc Delabre, will remain reference shareholders and will continue to lead the group.

« We are proud to invest in Universal Beauty Group, which will be the first investment of our new Sud Rebound fund launched in June this year. This venture in the heart of the local economic ecosystem is fully in line with our strategy to support the development of key business in our region».

Franck Paoli,
President and Founder of Connect Pro

Partners in growth

The investors’ entry into the company’s capital will allow the business to accelerate its development in the rapidly expanding natural beauty sector, a market expected to show annual growth of 6-9% over the period 2021-2027.

This transaction follows the first investment in the company’s capital in 2017 made by the private-equity fund Audacia, whose support has made it possible to double the number of product references and open 3 own-brand concept salons alongside about twenty independent concept salons under the Végétalement Provence brand, including the most recent salon opened in Lyon in October.

Végétalement Provence – a committed beauty brand

In 2008, Universal Beauty Group started as a distributor of haircare brands before launching its own brand Végétalement Provence in 2011 to offer hairdressing professionals a technical product that was kinder to the environment and customers’ health. In the space of a few years, Végétalement Provence has become a premium beauty brand recognized as much by professionals as by a general public in search of wellness.

With 170,000 products sold in 2020, Universal Beauty Group forecasts sales of €4m in 2021, with an EBITDA margin of around 20%. 70% of sales are made in mainland France, 15% in the French island of Reunion, and 15% internationally. Its eco-responsible products have been rewarded with numerous prizes for their innovation, and are acclaimed by international colourists and hair stylists in search of natural and high-performance products. The brand is distributed via more than 500 points of sale and through its own e-shop.

Established in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in the South of France since 2014, Universal Beauty Group, with the support of its teams, training academy, and logistics base, is ready to become a major player in alternative cosmetics and beauty.

« We are delighted to welcome our new partners who will bring their vision and support to the growth of Végétalement Provence whose potential is limitless ».

Jean-Marc Delabre,
Co-Founder of Universal Beauty Group

Among the projects for Végétalement Provence

The product range, designed and developed in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence will be further expanded. With the support of its new investor base focused on the region, Universal Beauty will place a particular emphasis on innovation

The company also plans to open a concept store in Paris in Spring 2022, a new base for Végétalement Provence. A significant investment will be dedicated to the digital development of the brand and to support e-commerce. Previously centred more on its domestic market, the new round of financing will allow the company to consolidate its international expansion.

"We are delighted to accompany the leaders of Végétalement Provence in this great adventure. With its unique products, Végétalement Provence responds to a fundamental trend. The increase in the number of people looking for natural products continues to grow and will offer significant development opportunities."

Rémy Garello,
Managing Director of Connect Pro

Fundraising process

The transaction is the conclusion of a competitive process launched in May 2021 to search for an investor. The process attracted very strong interest both in France and abroad from haircare and beauty companies, as well as private equity and family offices.

Universal Beauty Group was advised by Richard Morgan Advisory (Richard Morgan) and the law firm Volt Associés (Stéphane Letranchant, Lucas d'Orgeval). The investors were advised by the law firm Nova Partners (Olivier Nett, Julien Immoff), with the financial audit carried out by Deloitte Finance (Thomas Gorguis).

Universal Beauty Group - Végétalement Provence

Since its launch in 2011, with its hair and skincare ranges, Végétalement Provence quickly established itself as a real alternative to major brands among hairdressers and beauty professionals.

Its efficient plant-based product ranges, with natural and organic sourcing, meet the needs of a demanding professional public looking for technical prowess with a philosophy of eco-responsibility. In addition to the attractiveness and performance of its products, Universal Beauty Group benefits from a network of professional customers whose resale rate of Végétalement Provence products is unparalleled. While the usual resale rate of the sector in France is around 5%, it exceeds 20% with Végétalement Provence.

Today the brand offers a range of over 275 different beauty product references including 140 in hair and skincare for the general public, covering all needs.

Its ranges combine not just beauty and health, but also wellness based on the foundation of innovation and commitment.

The development of creative styling products, and the introduction of a specific line for ethnic hair, complete the product range. The Essentiels collection, with its shampoos and conditioners, has become a must-have for lovers of the brand.

For its professional clientele, Végétalement Provence offers a range of more than 130 colouring references, with an offer by oxidation and an organic offer based on plant powder.

Végétalement Provence currently has about twenty employees in its Saint-Rémy-de-Provence headquarters.

Connect Pro

Since its creation in 2007, Connect Pro has been supporting small and midcap businesses in the South of France in their development and transmission needs with more than €70m in capital invested. Among the latest equity investments, Mariton designs, manufacturer and distributer of custom-made mosquito nets and interior blinds, EITP, a heating and air-conditioning company and Pharma Santé Développement, a group of independent pharmacies. With Sud Rebond, Connect Pro launched its third fund in June 2021 with a fundraising of more than €15m from institutional investors and entrepreneurs in the South-East of France. It will be completed by a second round of fundraising in the first half of 2022 to reach €25m.

BNP Paribas Développement

One of the private equity funds of the BNP Paribas banking group, BNP Paribas Développement, manages €1 billion of its own funds, investing directly to support the development of successful mid-sized companies. BNP Paribas Développement, whose mission is to support management teams in the realization of medium-term strategic projects, has a portfolio of more than 400 holdings.

Etoile Capital

Etoile Capital, a subsidiary of the bank Crédit du Nord, is a shareholder of French small business in widely diversified sectors, with a portfolio currently of about twenty investments. It positions itself as a shareholder in the capital of corporate clients of the various regional banks that make up the Crédit du Nord group. The fund brings to the shareholders and managers of its invested companies its expertise in strategic thinking and the means to accelerate development.

Région Sud Investissement

Région Sud Investissement is the regional investment company created in 2010 by the Southern Region of France to support the emergence and development of high growth companies.
Région Sud Investissement, endowed with €134m, benefits from the support of the European Union through the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), which contributes 42% of its funding. Région Sud Investissement is advised by Turenne Groupe in the management of its holdings.

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