BIC Graphic Pledges Stability, Investments After Sale

Emmanuel Bruno, BIC Graphic’s (asi/40480) general manager, told Counselor that parent company BIC Group “did consider other offers, but ultimately felt H.I.G. was the best fit” to purchase the division. In the deal, expected to close this month, BIC Group reportedly sold BIC Graphic and its Asian sourcing operation for $80 million. Per the agreement, BIC Graphic’s management team will continue to run the business going forward.

“Because they acquired us as a complete unit – all three sites in the U.S. and our Asian sourcing group – nothing changes for our customers,” Bruno said. “This new partnership will allow us to accelerate planned investments.” The acquisition comes after a lengthy review conducted by BIC Group, which Bruno said “ultimately legitimized that North America, along with the Asian sourcing division, was a truly standalone, profitable entity.”

Founded in 1993, H.I.G. – which has ties to the promo products industry – has invested in more than 200 companies worldwide. In 2003, the firm purchased HALO (asi/356000) through a bankruptcy sale. H.I.G. sold HALO to another private equity firm in 2007 for $62.5 million. H.I.G. also owned UK-based Brand Addition before selling the firm this year.

Following the acquisition by H.I.G., Bruno acknowledged BIC Graphic’s employees, saying he was “amazed by their commitment and fortitude during this long period of ambiguity.” Going forward, he also pledged to distributors that BIC Graphic will “continue our ongoing commitment to safety and compliance,” adding “we are dedicated to new product development and R&D with regards to improved manufacturing capabilities and printing technologies. We will continue to evolve our business according to our distributors’ needs to be a truly valued partner that you can rely on.”

Bruno did not provide specific 2017 sales figures for BIC Graphic, saying instead that “results are in line with our expectations for the year.” BIC Graphic recently reported to Counselor that its 2016 North American promo products revenue totaled $316.9 million, a 1.3% year-over-year decline.