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April 26th 2023

Safir, a joint venture of which Mérieux NutriSciences is a member, announces an investment in Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services

Malaunay, 26 April 2023 – Safir, a joint-venture between the French family-owned Nutriset Group and Mérieux NutriSciences and Bpifrance (the public investment bank), created in 2019 to support investments in agribusiness on the African continent – is making its first equity investment in the company Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services.

In combining their complementary activities, the three partners are committed to the development and financing of projects in Africa, linking public health, nutritional issues and high impact local development.

Furthermore, right from day one, the partners of Safir made clear their intention to explore the structuring of agri-food laboratories, particularly in East Africa.  Above and beyond analysing local needs, this fresh approach seeks to satisfy the requirements to reinforce technical know-how and expertise, whilst contributing to the broader issues of local economic and social development. 

On 29 March 2023, a threshold was crossed to formalize these commitments when Safir acquired a stake in Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services. Founded in 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a result of a partnership between the Belete family and Nutriset Group, Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services is an ISO 17025-certified agri-food, environmental and water testing laboratory. The mission of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services is to support the agricultural value chain and the food processing industry. In addition to the laboratory’s own testing activities, Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services offers product inspection and certification services as well as training and consulting services.

In the presence of Mr. Belete Beyene, founder of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services and its managing director Mr. Birhan Awoke, and representatives of Nutriset Group, Safir became a shareholder of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services, alongside the founding shareholders, the Belete family and Nutriset Group.

“This acquisition will contribute to the growth of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services and the development of our activities, including the chemical and microbiological testing of food products, the inspection and certification of these products and training services. This development will be accompanied by investments in industrial equipment and human resources development and will contribute to the strengthening of internal know-how,” said Mr Birhan Awoke, Managing Director of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory.

Thanks to this increase in capital, Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services has broadened its range of skills and now can benefit from the combined technical, industrial and management expertise of Safir’s three shareholders – Nutriset Group, Mérieux NutriSciences and Bpifrance – to become tomorrow’s benchmark agri-food laboratory in Ethiopia and its surrounding region.


Press contact:

Safir: Salima Boitout / sboitout@groupenutriset.fr / +33 7 64 28 00 58

About Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services: Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services is a privately-owned ISO 17 025 certified laboratory specialising in food, water and environmental testing, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services’ mission is to support the agricultural value chain and the food processing industry by providing services in areas such as product testing, inspection and certification, as well as training and consulting. Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services is a joint venture between the Belete family and Nutriset Group, through its holding company Onyx Développement. www.blesslaboratory.com 
About Safir and its shareholders: Formed in 2019 by Mérieux NutriSciences, BpiFrance and Nutriset Group, Safir – Société d’Appui au Financement d’Investissements Responsables – is a French company whose objective is to support investments in health, nutrition and agribusiness on the African continent. By including an extended corporate objective in its articles and memorandum of association, Safir has put in place an over-arching and coherent framework to govern and guide its entire range of activities.
Mérieux NutriSciences: At Mérieux NutriSciences, we draw on over 50 years of scientific and entrepreneurial expertise to meet the needs of the food industry. From this, we know that our customers need not only reliable analytical results, but also practical and innovative solutions that will help make food systems safer, healthier and more sustainable. Worldwide, we have over 100 accredited laboratories and a team of over 8,000 committed employees. We believe that together we can create solutions to give our planet: BETTER FOOD. BETTER HEALTH. A BETTER WORLD. www.merieuxnutrisciences.com   
BpiFrance: Bpifrance provides financial support to companies – at every stage of their development – with credit, guarantees and equity, and assists them in their innovative and international projects. Bpifrance provides their expert services worldwide across a wide range of products. Consulting, conferencing services, networking and an acceleration programme for startups, as well as to small and medium-sized companies also form part of the services available to entrepreneurs. Thanks to Bpifrance and its 48 regional offices, entrepreneurs are provided with a local, unique dedicated advisor to help them overcome their challenges. www.bpifrance.fr   
Groupe Nutriset: Nutriset Group has evolved from the original Nutriset company founded in 1986 in Malaunay, Normandy, France. It is made up of an alliance of 18 entities located in 11 countries recognised for their expertise in nutritional research, their capacity for innovating and producing at scale food solutions with high nutritional value. They are equally renowned for their entrepreneurial dynamism and their participation in public-private partnerships at the service of national health and nutrition policies and programmes. www.groupenutriset.fr
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