VitiBot joins SDF
The European agricultural equipment manufacturer SDF is taking a majority stake in the robotics French specialist for the vineyard care market. The two companies will join forces to develop and offer the market a range of innovative and high-performance solutions for a new increasingly sustainable precision agriculture.
VitiBot is a French startup based in Reims, in the heart of the Champagne region. The company is a leader in the emerging market of vineyard care robotics with Bakus®, a 100% electric and autonomous straddle tractor.
The company was founded in 2016 by a father and son, Dominique BACHE, winegrower in the Aube convinced by Cedric BACHE, young engineer in robotics. VitiBot embodies a new dynamic in the French agricultural equipment industry, source of new professions and many jobs to come.
The Bakus® robot is the result of 5 years of research and is developed by a team of young engineers, all passionate about robotics and ecology, who have at heart the ambition to offer new practices to the winegrowers while improving social and environmental sustainability.
SDF is one of the world's leading manufacturers of tractors, harvesting machines and diesel engines. It distributes products through the SAME, DEUTZ-FAHR, Lamborghini Trattori, Hürlimann and Grégoire brands.
With more than 4,000 employees, the group is a world leader in the specialty crops market and generated € 1.5 bn in sales and an EBITDA margin of 11% in 2021.
Much more than a majority investment: a synergy of know-how & skills, and shared values & ambitions
“We are delighted with this operation that will enable us to meet the challenges of tomorrow's agriculture, which is the genesis of our project. Joining SDF, a century-old group recognized worldwide for its products and values, is a great opportunity for us, and a guarantee of growth and success.” Cédric BACHE, CEO of VitiBot.
This acquisition is a real innovation accelerator for SDF Group and generates significant synergies for these two highly complementary businesses.
SDF, known for its leading technology in industrial plants and processes, also continuously introduces new processes of innovation to the finished product to ensure that its farm equipment becomes the key to application and use of today’s methods of sustainable precision agriculture.
“Sustainable and digital agriculture is a key factor of our development. After a deep scouting, we realized that VitiBot is the best solution for vineyards that allows us to enrich our tractor offer with self-driving and zero-emission electric vehicles” - commented Lodovico Bussolati, CEO of SDF" Now the goal is to support the company development and the product industrialization, satisfying a market demand that we think will be continuously growing in the future ”.
SDF’s priority focus today are unmanned operation, precision agriculture, digital services, collection and management of agronomic data, and introduction of electrification technologies for farm equipment.
With VitiBot, SDF will benefit from the contribution of highly qualified teams with specific know-how to achieve these goals quickly and effectively.
An ensured long-lasting relationship with customers and historical investors
This operation also ensures that VitiBot consolidates its position as a leader in robotics for the vineyard care, as well as the guarantee of providing local and personalized support to each of its customers.
The company's historical investors, Maison Louis Roederer, the Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët group, Laurent-Perrier Champagnes, Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck, will remain shareholders and members of the strategic committee, thus assisting the company in its project.
Strong recruitment prospects to support the growth of the activity
Within SDF, like other subsidiaries, such as the manufacturer of harvesting machines Grégoire, VitiBot will keep its full autonomy in terms of technical, industrial and commercial development. The entrepreneurial spirit and agility of the start-up will remain, and many highly qualified engineers will be recruited from now on.
With more than 50 Bakus® robots already in use in vineyards around the world, an order book that is already full, and a direct sales force and a growing network of dealers, VitiBot will accelerate its commercial development and consolidate its status as an international leader in vineyard care robotics and in the design of disruptive products in line with the needs of the vineyard and agricultural markets in the future.