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Group history

For 160 years, CFAO has successfully combined a bold innovative approach and practical hands-on expertise.

The Group has weathered international crises and developed the capacity to constantly reinvent itself by drawing on its ability to adapt and anticipate.

1852 — 1887

Établissements Verminck, which was founded in Marseille in 1852, was renamed CFAO in 1887.

At the time, the Group was involved in the trading of consumer products and foods, including nuts, cocoa, soaps, oils, rubber, coffee, leather, tobacco and alcohol. Even then, CFAO broke with the tradition of simply trading in basic consumer products and brought a more modern vision to the African continent through the distribution of manufactured products. After becoming Western Africa’s leading supplier and contributing to the region’s development, CFAO gradually expanded into Equatorial Africa and then into the French overseas territories.


In 1913, the Group launched its automobile distribution business in Africa. Over the next three decades, CFAO expanded into industrial production.

1950 — 1980

Between 1950 and 1980, the Group significantly grew its automobile distribution business, but also expanded into other areas, such as the distribution of plastic products and the supermarket sector in Africa and France. In the 1970s, the Group became an international player, operating on three continents (Africa, Europe, and the United States), with a diversified portfolio of activities and annual revenue in the region of 4 billion French francs (approximately €610 million).


In 1990, the Group was acquired by the Pinault Group (which later became PPR, then Kering) after which the Group became a branch of Pinault SA and refocused on its African business. The Group then began to reorganize its businesses in the context of a generally difficult economic climate.


In 1994, the Group weathered the crisis of the CFA franc (which lost 50% of its value against the French franc in January 1994). This crisis disrupted the economies of the CFA member countries and caused serious difficulties for many local players. Following the crisis, the Group reinforced its positions in key business lines and regions. In 1996 the Group purchased SCOA, one of its historical competitors, successfully integrating the pharmaceutical distribution business of its subsidiary, Eurapharma.


From 2000, our geographic expansion gathered pace, with activities set up in 15 new countries, including in the Maghreb, a region with high growth potential.


After an absence of almost 20 years from financial markets, CFAO was listed on the Paris Bourse on December 3, 2009.


In 2012, the Group was acquired by Toyota Tsusho Corporation.


CFAO left the listing and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the TTC Group on December 30, 2016.


CFAO receives all the African assets of TTC on march 2017.

Group news

The middle classes in Africa














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