Presto Engineering deal fires gun on European ASIC consolidation

Presto Engineering deal fires gun on European ASIC consolidation

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Dentressangle Capital has entered exclusive talks to acquire ASIC designer Presto Engineering in France as the focus for consolidation of European ASIC design houses.

Presto Engineering, based in Meyreuil, specialises in designing and producing ASICs for major players in the manufacturing, healthcare, automotive and telecoms sectors. The company was founded in 2006 but has been owned since 2018 by Verto, which helped it set up its head office in France alongside locations in Denmark, the UK, the US and Asia and build a staff of 150 engineers.

Presto has strong R&D and commercial links with major foundries such as Globalfoundries, STMicroelectronics and X-Fab and claims to be the leading one- stop-shop for ASIC designs in Europe, competing with Sondrel, which has had recent financial challenges, and Ensilica, which went public in 2022.

The company is aiming for a turnover of €60m ‘in the near future’ and Presto will continue to be led by Cédric Mayor (CEO since 2023), who is making a significant investment in the company alongside Dentressangle.

All change at Presto Engineering for growth

“Presto Engineering is ideally positioned to benefit from growth in the European market – worth €1.4 billion and set to grow by 7-8% per year – and become a leading player in it,” says the company, which has an exclusive deal with Cadence Design Systems for design tools. “It is aiming to bolster its ASIC design operations through recruitment and acquisitions. With Dentressangle’s support, therefore, Presto is establishing itself as a platform for consolidation in Europe’s ASIC sector.”

“Presto, with the support of Verto, has become a well-known player in the ASIC market. I’m now delighted to begin a new chapter with Dentressangle Capital, an investor known for its ability to work alongside entrepreneurs to help businesses grow,” said Cedric Mayor, CEO of Presto Engineering Group. “This will allow us to speed up Presto’s growth so that we can confirm our position as Europe’s leading one-stop- shop in the ASICs market. We are committed to this ambition backed by our design expertise and our industrialisation and component production know-how to help our OEM customers innovate.”

Dentressangle is a family-owned investment holding company with net asset value of €3.3 billion. It has two main areas of activity: business investments with long- term majority investments, venture capital via the Hi Inov fund, diversified management with DGO and real estate for logistics and office properties. The holding company has stakes in around 10 companies including equipment rental company Kiloutou, property developer OGIC, digital service provider Tessi, textile personalisation specialist Flexdev, medtech company Acteon and Marle Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of orthopaedic implants and precision instruments.

“We are very happy to have entered exclusive talks to acquire Presto Engineering. The ASICs sector and the company’s profile are exactly what we look for: a growing industry that is still fragmented, and an international company that is capable of becoming a genuine platform for growth and consolidation for the benefit of its customers and Europe’s sovereignty in this industry,” said Thierry Coloigner, CEO of Dentressangle Capital and Raphaël Feuillet, Director.

CEO Interview: Ian Lankshear, EnSilica

The current owner Verto of Presto Engineering is an asset management company that manages growth equity funds specialising in the technology and healthcare sectors in France and Benelux. The value  of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

“This transaction represents the culmination of the growth and diversification strategy that Presto has been pursuing for more than five years. Under the leadership of its founder Michel Villemain  and  CEO  Cédric  Mayor,  the  company  has  undergone  a  major transformation from a recognised player in ASICs testing to a European leader in designing and industrialising ASICs, and has significantly grown its customer base since 2018,” said Thomas Fort and Alexis Kemlin, Partners of Verto.

An integrated model maximises large-scale production via in-house industrialisation and testing capabilities and the company has a network of leading partners across the whole value chain, including silicon wafer foundries and OSAT (outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) companies. Presto is a key partner to medium-sized OEMs that want to acquire and develop their own ASICs and has the critical mass to be a high-level partner to all participants in the supply chain.

Dentressangle sees the semiconductor shortage and ensuring European sovereignty in this strategic sector as the key for the deal.

Presto has production testing at two laboratories in France, one in Denmark and one in Asia as well as handling management of yields and of the various costs of poor quality arising from volume production, quality monitoring and client feedback as well as the management   of    logistics, particularly export checks, until products are delivered to clients;;

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