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Ardian exits satellite operator CLS

February 3, 2020

Private equity firm Ardian and French research institute Ifremer have sold their minority stakes in satellite data company CLS to investment firm CNP, giving it a majority stake in the business.

CLS operates satellite-based monitoring systems which collect data used to study the planet and help it to manage its resources sustainably.

Ardian and Ifremer invested in CLS six years ago and since then the business has made five acquisitions, expanded geographically and created Kinéis, which operates a constellation of nanosatellites. The profitability of the business has doubled and it has a turnover of nearly €135 million (£114 million) and 720 employees.

CLS founding institution, CNES, retains a significant minority stake in the business.

Christophe Vassal, Chief Executive of CLS, said: “I’d like to thank the Ardian, CNES, and Ifremer teams for their support. They have really been there for us, playing a major role in developing new expertise and supporting our international expansion. Their strategic and practical guidance has helped strengthen our leadership and broaden our portfolio of solutions.”

Caroline Pihan, Director of Ardian Expansion, added: “We are very proud to have helped space industry star CLS and its management team pursue their development strategy. What we’ve done reflects our ability to support international growth projects and – in the case of CLS – to do so alongside public players.”

 

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