Advent International acquires ICE

  • Advent acquires leading Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA) producer from the Bartoli family

LONDON and MILAN, September 30, 2019 – Advent International (“Advent”), one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors, today announced that it has finalized the acquisition of Industria Chimica Emiliana (“ICE”), a global leader in the production of UDCA, an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), primarily used in drugs that treat gastroenterological and chronic diseases.

Advent acquires the company from the Bartoli family, who founded the firm in 1949. Enzo and Maurizio Bartoli, who have been at the helm for over 40 years, have built the company to become a market leader with a fully integrated business model, and a trusted partner to pharmaceutical companies globally, supplying high quality pharma grade API. The company currently employs approximately 1,000 individuals across Italy (Reggio Emilia and Basaluzzo), South America, India and North America.

Advent, the Bartoli family and ICE’s management team will work closely together to further strengthen the company’s support functions and capabilities, and aid its customers in reaching more patients by developing new pipeline products to treat additional indications. Future investments will focus on continuing to strengthen its raw materials sourcing and developing next generation production capabilities and expanding capacities at ICE’s manufacturing sites.

“Already a key player in an attractive market supported by strong fundamentals, we see significant growth opportunities for this business. ICE’s global positioning as a trusted partner of pharmaceutical companies and suppliers, and integrated business model across the value chain serve as a strong basis for ICE’s future development” said Francesco Casiraghi, a Managing Director at Advent International.

ICE maintains long-standing customer relationships with leading international pharmaceutical companies, and is vertically integrated with an efficient supply chain and global manufacturing footprint.

“Since my parents founded the business producing the first bile acids in a basic laboratory, our business has seen significant growth. Today, ICE is a leader in the field of UDCA production for the pharmaceutical industry. Changing global trends relating to age and lifestyle mean that demand for pharmaceuticals for the treatment of liver diseases is increasing and will continue to do so. UDCA is key to helping millions of people around the world fight diseases. We’re delighted to have Advent on board as we enter our next phase of growth,” said Enzo Bartoli, Chairman at ICE.

The UDCA market is an attractive and growing market addressing gastroenterological conditions, all of which are increasing in prevalence due to macro trends such as obesity, lifestyle changes, as well as an aging population. Uses of UDCA are expected to expand as it serves as a strategic input for newly developed drugs.

Advent has significant experience in the healthcare sector. Over the past 28 years, the firm has invested $7 billion in 42 companies in the healthcare sector worldwide. Recent healthcare investments include BioDuro, a leading global life sciences contract research and development organization based in China and Zentiva, a leading European generics pharmaceutical company. Advent also brings a wealth of experience of investing in the Italian market, having completed more than 10 investments in the country over the last 25 years.

Advent was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Kirkland & Elllis, Ropes & Gray, Mattos Filho and AZB. Deutsche Bank and Nomura served as financial advisers. The Bartoli family was advised by BonelliErede and by Studio Ferrarini. PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory served as sole financial advisor and provided vendor due diligence services.


Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors. The firm has invested in over 345 private equity transactions in 41 countries, and as of June 30, 2019, had $54 billion in assets under management. With 15 offices in 12 countries, Advent has established a globally integrated team of over 195 investment professionals across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on investments in five core sectors, including business and financial services; healthcare; industrial; retail, consumer and leisure; and technology. After 35 years dedicated to international investing, Advent remains committed to partnering with management teams to deliver sustained revenue and earnings growth for its portfolio companies.

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ICE is a global leading player in the manufacturing of Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA), an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), sourced from bile, primarily used in drugs treating liver diseases and gallstones. The Company is based in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and has a global footprint with subsidiaries in Europe, APAC and North America and currently employs around 1,000 people. Currently owned and managed by the Bartoli family, the Business has successfully grown into a leading global partner to its suppliers and pharmaceutical customers.

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