Why have a dedicated Operational Team?

The Operational Team works with management to help drive growth in our portfolio companies

At Abénex, we invest alongside management teams because we believe in their strategic vision for the business.

Our Operational Team works with management to implement the value creation plan and achieve the objectives that were agreed in partnership with Abénex prior to its investment.

Abénex was the first French mid-market firm to set up a dedicated Operational Team in 2008. It demonstrates our hands-on involvement, which we see as crucial to our role as investor.

Our Operational Team partners closely with management to help drive business growth, improve productivity and streamline operations, enabling companies to achieve their full potential. We strive to accelerate development and build profitability during our investment period, also ensuring that businesses continue their strong trajectory after our exit.

Depending on the business need, our Operational Team can be flexible with respect to how much time they spend with each company, ranging from a day a week to full-time involvement if required. The team is available to the company for the full duration of the hold period and this resource is provided free of charge; we do not charge the company for these services to ensure our interests are aligned with those of the management team and that our services are fully focused on the creation of long-term value.

Where we get involved

The Operational Team provides skills in project management, strategic planning, sourcing and external supplier management, as well as access to its toolkit and its knowledge of best practices.

The team takes a key role in operational transformation projects identified in conjunction with the management team, including:

Development

  • Identifying and executing add-on acquisitions
  • Improving sales performance
  • Digitalisation
  • Market studies
  • Pricing optimisation

Cost management

  • Analysing the cost base and identifying potential areas of improvement
  • Analysing the performance and efficiency of manufacturing resources
  • Cash flow and working capital optimisation

Organisation

  • Implementing key performance indicators
  • Creating and reviewing business plans
  • Improving IT systems
  • Legal expertise

Balance sheet improvements

  • Financing solutions
  • Disposal of non-strategic assets
  • Real estate audit and rationalisation

What is the impact of the Operational Team?

  • "Abénex helped us to boost our external growth by working with us to identify potential acquisition targets, facilitating the dialogue and overseeing the acquisition process. Having Abénex as our partner in these processes was both reassuring and made the transactions more efficient." - Pascal Dupont, Chairman & CEO, Dupont Restauration

  • "Abénex’s Operational Team enabled us to carry out a number of essential transformational projects more efficiently and in a more structured way. They took a pragmatic approach, working side by side with my team." - Pierre Manchini, Chairman & CEO, RG Safety

  • "Abénex provides valued support both in periods of rapid growth and consolidation. They were instrumental in helping us strengthen our management team and examine our manufacturing and operational efficiency from a different perspective." - Hugues Souparis, Chairman & Founder, Surys

Case study: RG Safety

Increased revenues and improved profitability accounted for over 65% of the value creation during Abénex’s period of ownership. This is by far the main focus for value creation, ahead of other levers such as debt reduction

Improvement in financial performance achieved in partnership with Abénex’s Operational Team

Abénex acquired a majority stake in RG Safety in May 2013. RG Safety was the French market leader in the distribution of personal protection equipment, but had a modest presence in the broader European market and lacked structure and resources. The Operational Team optimised the group through introducing various operational improvements, including:

  • Drawing up a strategic plan with the new CEO
  • Strengthening the management team
  • Establishing a reporting system and improving the efficiency of the finance department
  • Establishing a factoring agreement
  • Implementing mobility and sales efficiency tools
  • Improving the logistics infrastructure
  • Divesting non-strategic assets

Partnering with Viatys on digital

Abénex supports the digitalization of its companies.

New modes of production, collaboration, consumption and communication force SMEs and mid-caps to rethink their value proposition and the way they implement it.

To assist them, Abénex has established a partnership with Viatys, a consultancy firm part of Square group, which focuses on the challenges of innovation, agile and digital transformation, and customers’, collaborators’ and partners’ experience.

Our approach with Viatys is pragmatic, with an à la carte offer depending on the needs of our companies and a return on investment objective. We aim at putting the right skills in front of the CEOs of our companies, addressing their concrete challenges, to better navigate the digital ecosystem, at a reasonable cost. Whether for a simple digital diagnosis, the definition of the digital strategy as a whole or the deployment of specific digital projects, the objective is to target actions, validate their impact upstream and measure it over time, customizing the solutions to the organization and the existing systems of our companies.

A unique initiative: the Purchasing Club

Abénex offers a procurement optimisation service for the purchase of non-strategic products and services for both its current and former portfolio companies.

In partnership with a purchasing consortium, Abénex enables its portfolio companies to benefit from substantial discounts on the cost of products and services, ranging from stationery and office equipment to mutual health insurance, telecommunications, regulatory audit services and car hire.

The Operational Team can help portfolio companies collating procurement data and quantifying the impacts, as well as providing active assistance with achieving the potential savings initially identified. Abénex portfolio companies have realised savings of 15-20% on purchases made via the Purchasing Club.

This initiative is based on:

  • Pooling the purchase of products and services by Abénex’s current and former portfolio companies with those of the other members of the procurement consortium that Abénex has partnered with
  • An easy-to-use online purchasing interface
  • A reporting tool tailored to the specific needs of each business

Membership of the Purchasing Club is voluntary and free of charge.