A group of investors in Canada and France has announced a partnership to launch a transatlantic fund aimed at facilitating investment in small businesses (SMBs) in Quebec and France.
A press release on Thursday (June 7) said the fund closed its first financing round to the tune of $92.3 million. Announced at the French embassy in Ottawa, the fund is co-managed by Siparex Groupe, a French private equity investor, and Desjardins Capital, a Quebec-based asset management firm.
French President Emmanuel Macron was in Canada at the time of the announcement. Key policymakers also present at the announcement included Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to France's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs; Kareen Rispal, French Ambassador to Canada; Isabelle Hudon, Canadian Ambassador to France; and Navdeep Bains, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
Siparex and Desjardins Capital first struck a partnership last year. This fund will include sponsorship from France's Bpifrance, Canada's Export Development Canada (EDC) and Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins (CRCD).
The companies pointed to the Canada-Europe free trade agreement that came into effect last September as a sign that the market is well positioned for a Canada-France fund.
Desjardins Group President and CEO Guy Cormier said, "We created this new fund to help Quebec companies develop and grow in the European market, which has an estimated half a billion consumers. We're also breaking new ground with EDC — this is the first time Desjardins Group has partnered with a federal Crown corporation."
EDC President and CEO Benoit Daignault added, "The transatlantic fund is an out-of-the-box way of helping more Canadian companies leverage the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement [CETA], boosting Canada's business with the world's second-largest economy and encouraging trade diversification. Export Development Canada is proud to be investing alongside like-minded partners in France and Canada to strengthen business ties between the two continents."