Over 50 years Chequers has invested in more than 300 companies. Recent disposals are listed below.
Accelya is the world’s leading provider of IT solutions for financial and commercial functions in the airline and travel agent industries. In spite of its attractive potential, Accelya’s business was non-strategic for its shareholder, the American group ADP Inc.
Chequers acquired a 100% interest in Accelya alongside its management team in a complex carve-out transaction due to Accelya’s extensive geographical footprint and its deep integration in ADP Inc.
Over a significantly long period of time, value creation was achieved by activating many operational levers (sales force efficiency, productivity, new service launches, switch from a business model of licence sales to a Saas and full outsourcing model), investing in human resources (strengthening and renewal of the management team), and by realizing the acquisition of one of the group's main competitors, Kale, a company listed in India. Chequers sold Accelya in 2017 to Mercator. The high quality of the Accelya management, the financial performance of the group and its potential for growth made it possible to build a new development project for the combined group.
Alma Consulting is the French leading provider of specialist tax consulting to corporations. Its areas of expertise cover land tax, research tax credit, VAT, social charges, etc.
Chequers took over Alma from the American group PRG in partnership with its CEO Marc Eisenberg.
Alma enjoyed very fast growth from 2001 onwards, with a fivefold increase in turnover linked to its highly effective success fee based business model, a service greatly appreciated by its customers and an expansion of its service offering. Alma also acquired its main competitor, the CFC group, in 2005. Chequers sold part of its investment in 2005, and fully disposed of its stake to a UK PE fund in 2007.
Bio 7 is one of the largest biological city lab groups in the Paris area. It was founded at the beginning of the 2000s through the combination of several small labs in Essonne (Paris area). Well before structural shifts in the bio lab market at the end of the 2000s, the group had put in place a professional organisation which allowed both a high quality of service and exceptional profitability.
In 2009, with Chequers as a committed shareholder, the group embarked on an ambitious consolidation of the market around Paris. In 5 years, almost 50 labs were acquired with group sales and profits multiplied by 8 over the period. Bio 7 became a leader in the Paris area with a set of brand new and highly performing technical platforms as well as well-designed governance for biologists.
CAE is the French leading distributor of low-power cables and connectors used in a large number of applications (security, industrial connection, telecom, IT). Offering a wide and immediately available range, CAE has established itself as a key partner for installers. The group mainly offers own-brand products.
CAE is also present in Italy and Belgium.
Chequers acquired CAE alongside its management team and supported its growth for 5 years before selling it to Dutch distribution group TKH.
Formerly Compagnie Générale d’Entreprises Electriques, the company was absorbed in 1971 by Alstom, before being sold as Alstom Contracting, now Cegelec, to a group of investors including Chequers. Cegelec was the 2nd largest player in the French market, with strong positions in Germany, in Benelux, the United Kingdom and Spain. Electrical engineering accounted for around 80% of its activity, the rest being HVAC, telecom infrastructure and industrial and tertiary sector maintenance.
With the support of its shareholders, the group was significantly developed and was sold to a new financial shareholder in 2006 before joining the engineering division of the Vinci Group.
Cenexi is a CMO (contract manufacturing organisation) focused on big pharmaceutical groups or generic pharma product companies with a strong specialisation in complex forms, particularly injectables. A subsidiary of the Roche Group, this activity was considered non-strategic by its shareholder.
Chequers acquired a 100% share in Cenexi alongside its management team in a carve-out.
Value creation was achieved through a plan to dilute the weight of its original parent company involving the implementation of commercial agreements under market conditions and the creation of autonomous central functions, including financial functions. Ambitious commercial development has been achieved, as well as two significant acquisitions enabling Cenexi to diversify its product portfolio and customer base. Cenexi was sold to a financial investor in 2016 in a secondary LBO.
Cordenka is the world’s leading producer of industrial rayon fibres for tire cord applications in ultra-high performance and run-flat tires for passenger cars. The company is the rayon supplier of choice for all leading global high-performance tire manufacturers. Cordenka commands a world-market share of more than 50% in the rayon market for tire applications.
Chequers acquired 100% of the share capital in the company alongside its management team in 2011. Cordenka targets the high-end tire segments – ultra high performance and run-flat tires - enjoying high demand and growing substantially faster than the overall tire market. The company has the largest production capacity for rayon yarn and cord production worldwide and is also the only supplier able to offer the highest quality range of rayon yarn products, underpinning its leading market position as well as technology leadership and superior production know-how. Cordenka has been sold in November 2018 to BMC, a Chinese Private Equity investor.
DFG (Deutsche Fachpflege Gruppe) is the largest intensive care provider in Germany, for patients mostly in need of a 24/7 care service with breathing and/or ventilation support. Patients are cared for at their own homes or live in specialised shared accommodations. Headquartered in Munich and positioned as quality leader, DFG operates across all of Germany while maintaining a local approach to the market through its regional structure.
Chequers acquired 100% of the share capital in the company alongside its management team in 2013. As the market leader, DFG is an efficient consolidation platform in a highly fragmented market environment. Chequers has supported multiple add-on acquisitions as well as organic development in order to accelerate the business' growth. In 2018, DFG was sold to private equity investor Advent.
DTK, founded in 1976, was a pan-regional German network level 4 broadband TV cable operator with significant own level 3 infrastructure, serving approximately 300,000 households as an established partner to large housing associations. The services portfolio included analogue and digital cable television, single telephone and internet access to bundled broadband offerings (e.g. triple-play including digital TV).
Formerly a 100% owned subsidiary of Versatel, one of Germany‘s leading listed telecommunication groups, DTK was acquired by Chequers in a complex carve-out transaction alongside its leadership team.
Chequers supported value creation through a series of add-on acquisitions in various regions of Germany. The company was sold in a trade sale to Primacom, a regional competitor in the eastern part of Germany in 2014.
E.CF is the European leader in the distribution of small equipment and non-food consumables for catering. The group was created by the merger between Chomette Favor and the Ecotel Group.
Chomette Favor is a century-old French company that has developed with the support of family shareholding resulting from the merger of three regional wholesale distributors. After a major investment in modern and automated logistics in 1991-1993, the company faced a decline in its market and was in dire financial situation. Through a capital injection in 1994, Chequers provided the resources to recover and set the conditions to redevelop in its core market. New management was appointed in 1998, starting a new phase of growth and geographical development in France and neighbouring countries. The group was renamed E.CF in 2000.
The company benefited from Chequers’ financial and strategic support to strengthen its management and processes, and a voluntarist strategy provided renewed prospects of conquering an atomised market. The merger of Chomette Favor with the Ecotel group, the 2nd largest player in the French market, was instrumental in the group's growth. The company doubled in size and turned around from a significant loss-making position at the time Chequers invested in Chomette Favor, to become one of the most profitable wholesale distributors in the French market. The group was sold in 2011.
European Cargo Services (ECS) is the world’s leading general sales agent (GSA) for air cargo capacity. ECS represents more than 100 airlines, handling the sales, logistics organisation and administrative management of their cargo capacity (aircraft hold) through agent contracts. The group is present in 25 countries. Chequers organised the LBO takeover of ECS from Qualis.
The group has experienced sustained growth since it was founded by Guy Tordjman, linked to the growth of the air freight business and a trend towards airlines outsourcing this often non-strategic activity.
The group has continued with its growth, winning new contracts and opening in new geographical locations, particularly in Asia. Founder Guy Tordjman handed over management to Bertrand Schmoll. It was Bertrand who organised the secondary LBO, which allowed the financial shareholders to exit.
In 2006, Elior was the 3rd largest European catering company and the 2nd largest in contract catering. Robert Zolade, its founder and leading shareholder, sought to take the company private to continue its geographic expansion and acquisition program requiring significant ressources. Chequers and Charterhouse provided both relevant industry knowledge, deriving from past investments in the sector, and the financial means to sustain this growth policy. The group structure was substantially strengthened, synergies between activities were developed and the group was floated on the stock exchange in 2014.
One or two acquisitions or complex partnership agreements were carried out each year, in France to enhance the coverage, but also in Italy, Germany and the USA, enabling the group to achieve a significant market share in its segment in each country. The group also made some non-strategic divestments and the Areas concession activity was integrated in the group, allowing it to implement pro-active global development, especially in the USA. Overall the group expanded its revenues from €3bn in 2006 to €5.7bn in 2015, under the combined effect of organic growth of 4% over time and the impact of strategic acquisitions. Chequers sold its investment on the stock market in 2016.
Extruflex is a manufacturer of extruded flexible PVC panels and strips used in the manufacture of industrial doors. Chequers assisted its chairman Jacques Valat in a secondary LBO transaction. Extruflex was previously owned by Bridgepoint.
Extruflex has a leading position in Europe with a market share of more than 50%. The company exports 70% of its turnover, mainly to Europe. Its clientele consists of industrial door manufacturers and plastic product distributors.
Relying on a profitable but mature European market, the strategy consisted of diversifying the group's geographical presence, first commercially, then industrially with the creation of a factory in China. The successful development of this factory enabled the group to acquire a highly competitive production tool and to tackle more price-contested markets in Asia, but also in the United States. Chequers sold its stake during a third LBO organised with Jacques Valat's successor, Patrick Chambriard.
The FRR group comprises the hotel-casino Pullman Cannes Mandelieu Royal Casino together with two other French casinos.
Chequers acquired the Mandelieu hotel-casino following the merger of Accor Casinos and Lucien Barrière which triggered an anti trust requirement for the newly merged group to dispose of this asset.
Value creation plan entailed the thorough refurbishment of the hotel and the casino premises, improvements to operational management and the acquisition of 2 casinos in Megève and Cap d’Agde, all executed in spite of an unfavourable economic and regulatory environment. The group’s was sold partly to Joa Group and partly to Groupe Lucien Barriere.
Idverde is the French leader in the creation and maintenance of green spaces, performing services on behalf of municipalities or corporates. A subsidiary of the Danish ISS group, Idverde was considered non-strategic by its shareholder when acquired by Chequers.
Chequers bought a 100% interest in Idverde alongside its management team in a primary LBO. Value creation first required a plan to separate Idverde from its original group, involving the creation of independent central functions, particularly financial. Many small-scale external growth deals took place in France, making it possible to improve the group’s national coverage. Three significant external growth transactions were also carried out in the United Kingdom, enabling Idverde to become the leader also on this market. In 2018, Chequers divested Idverde to a private equity fund supporting the management plan to further develop the group on a pan european basis.
The IMS Group was a European group distributing special steels, listed on Euronext and controlled by the Arcelor group. Its performance was negatively impacted by the 2003 crisis and IMS’ non-strategic nature for the Arcelor group.
Chequers acquired a 51% share in IMS from Arcelor and Merrill Lynch, while maintaining the company’s listing.
Value creation was generated by strengthening the management team, which put in place an internal optimisation plan, and the sale of non-strategic assets. These actions, combined with a recovery of the underlying markets (industry, building) enabled a significant improvement in the company’s performance and led to our divestment in 2006 by a share placement on the stock market.
The Legris Group was a family-managed industrial group, listed on the French Euronext market and active in three business areas: a world leading industrial connectors division; central heating components for the construction sector and automatic systems for logistics plus some small non-core activities.
Chequers supported the Legris family in a restructuring of the group’s shareholding and its de-listing through a buy-out transaction in 2003. Chequers invested in complex instruments alongside the family, with conditions specifically tailored to the Legris family’s objectives. Value creation was achieved through an ambitious internal optimisation and international development plan benefiting from the strong economic recovery and the sale of non-strategic assets. In particular the heating systems business was sold to an industrial group enabling the refinancing of the group and Chequers divestment in 2006.
MDD was a French regional electric contracting group led by a highly dynamic manager, Daniel Desbruères. Under his guidance, the group expanded significantly both organically and through build ups, becoming a regional leader.
MDD operated fairly recurring, relatively small-scale contracts, with no particular dependence on any client or industry. Its clients include industrial, logistics, distribution and service sector companies.
Chequers organised an OBO alongside the manager in order to support the group in a new phase of growth. In 2007, Chequers' stake was sold through a secondary LBO.
Metabo, headquartered in Nürtingen (Germany), is a leading manufacturer of hand-held power tools for professional users. The company offers a wide range of portable and semi-stationary power tools and has sales in 120 countries across the globe. Key customers are specialist retailers, industrial customers, as well as to a lesser extent DIY stores. Metabo is clearly perceived as a premium quality professional brand with a particular edge through a highly competitive range of cordless power tools.
Chequers became the majority shareholder of Metabo in 2012 alongside the management team and incumbent family shareholders through a capital increase, following a period of restructuring. Chequers supported the management team in implementing their repositioning plan, which comprised focusing on professional users only, revitalizing the product portfolio and accelerating development of a competitive range of cordless products. As a result of the successful implementation of this strategy, Metabo was able to generate substantial interest from strategic players in the industry. Metabo was sold to its Japanese competitor Hitachi Koki in 2016.
PERL created Usufruit Locatif Social, a public-private financing scheme for social housing in expensive areas where the lack of affordable housing is the greatest. Based in Paris, the company designs programmes and arranges financing by seperation of usufruct, sold to social housing companies, and bare ownership, which is marketed to investors as an effective retirement savings vehicle.
Chequers bought a stake in PERL to help the 4 founders to structure their fast-growing company and to ensure its development outside of the Paris region.
The group maintained its strong growth while consolidating its revenue base, expanding its business to new geographical areas by opening several offices outside Paris, and developing its networks and new tools for marketing bare ownership as a savings tool. Chequers sold its stake in 2014 to Nexity, the leading French developper, for which PERL became a key strategic activity.
Provalliance is the European leader in hairdressing with nearly 2,600 salons, including over 400 proprietary-owned as well as renowned brands like Franck Provost, Jean Louis David and Coiff & Co.
Provalliance was created by the hairdresser Franck Provost in 1975 and quickly developed through organic growth (opening its own salons and franchises) and external growth (in particular Jean Louis David). The group is positioned in all the market segments with nine distinct brands: from low-cost with Coiff & Co to Maniatis through Jean Louis David and Franck Provost, the group’s two flagship brands, which are present not only in France but also in 25 other countries. The group also develops haircare product ranges for each of its brands, for sale either in salons or supermarkets.
Chequers bought a stake in Provalliance by buying shares from the American group Regis, a minority shareholder in Provalliance since 2007.
The group continued to grow and improve its profitability, returning an excellent performance in the otherwise rather lacklustre hairdressing market. A few acquisitions among independent salons and small chains completed a flawless track record. Chequers sold its stake to Franck Provost and his family in 2016.
Rollon is the market leader in customized linear guide systems for industrial automation; with various applications notably in robotics, logistics, medical equipment and air or rail transport.
Rollon was founded in 1975 in Italy. The company developed in the field of medium precision linear guide applications, producing components or systems customised to suit the needs of more than 5,000 industrial clients. The company started expanding directly outside of Italy from 1991 and has since built a direct presence in Europe and the US. This organisation is combined with an international presence through distribution partners, providing the group with a global reach since 2013.
Since Chequers' acquisition, Rollon has significantly increased its global presence particularly in Asia, with the opening of subsidiaries in India, China, Japan and South Korea, in addition to historic subsidiaries in Germany - the number 1 country in terms of sales - France and the United States. Rollon's double-digit organic growth was complemented by four targeted acquisitions, since 2013, which allowed the company to expand or strengthen its product range. Rollon is now developing applications with major partners for automation and robotics projects related to the industry 4.0 concept. Rollon has been sold to The Timken Group in September 2018.
The Salins du Midi Group is the 3rd largest salt producer in Europe with presence in France and Africa. Owned until 2000 by the American group Morton Salt, Salins underwent an initial LBO. At the end of an initial successful process, the management wished to reorganise its shareholding and continue to develop the group through organic growth as well as acquisitions. It chose a consortium led by Chequers in association with other investors.
Salins operates on a relatively stable market with significant barriers to entry, linked in particular to high logistical costs due to the price of salt per tonne. A considerable part of Salins’ profitability is linked to road-gritting salt, the volumes of which vary markedly from one season to another. The leverage used in the transaction was calibrated to deal with one or two years of low snowfall.
The plan presented by the management team was to continue developing the group in the wake of the previous operation: improving productivity, winning new markets and external growth.
After a difficul initial period linked to lower snowfall than anticipated, the group returned to growth and profitability, generating significant cash flow that enabled it to be virtually debt-free. Salins was taken over in 2014 by its chairman Hubert François, with the help of his family group.
Groupe Santé Développement is a group of private medical, surgical and obstetric hospitals in the Clermont-Ferrand area.
The group consists of three institutions, including the flagship La Chataigneraie hospital, offering nearly 300 beds and 291 conventional, outpatient and maternity hospitalisation places, and regionally and nationally renowned for its IVF services and hand surgery activities.
Chequers bought a stake in Groupe Santé Développement in a majority LBO transaction, alongside the management team and active practitioners, at the end of a deal to restructure its historical shareholding of 130 practitioners pre-acquisition.
The project pursued by Chequers and the management team was based on the consolidation of the regional private hospitals landscape. Thanks to a high-quality management team, the group considerably improved its profitability by developing the outpatient services, bringing in new practitioners and delivering operational synergies between the group’s three clinics. Chequers and the management team sold the group to Vitalia in 2007, after a flawless common shareholding period.
Silver Care, a leading group of nursing homes in Germany focusing on stationary elderly care, was acquired by Chequers alongside its leadership team in a leveraged buy-out transaction in 2010. The company, operating in a resilient and highly fragmented market, pursued a unique organizational approach through strong local clusters, which enhanced the ability to adapt to different regional requirements.
Chequers supported growth of the company through a series of follow-on acquisitions, which almost doubled the size of the business from initially 33 to 58 care facilities. During this period of strong growth, Silver Care followed a rigorous high-quality approach and was able to maintain a position as undisputed quality leader in the German stationary care market. Silver Care was sold in a trade sale to Orpea, a leading French player in the health care services sector in 2014.
SES Imagotag is the world leader in electronic in-store product labelling, and presents itself as a major player in the digital transformation of physical retail. In 2016, the group generated turnover of 177 million euros. Over 12,000 stores spread across 55 countries currently use 150 million electronic labels produced by the company.
SES was created in 1988 and was floated in 2006. In 2012, the new CEO joined the company. SES expanded its product range organically, reinforced by acquisitions, particularly Imagotag and PDi; the company went global in 2016. It won the biggest label contract in history, and is targeting all retail segments with a strategy of forming partnerships with distributors and big consumer product brands. It was renamed SES Imagotag in 2016.
SES Imagotag was sold to the Chinese group BOE a leading producer of flat screens and connected devices. The plan is to continue SES Imagotag’s production industrialisation and to further establish electronic labelling in Europe and gradually developing in areas with high potential, in Asia and North America.
With Chequers’ support, the CEO developed a new vision of a multichannel retail partner built around a product offer and innovative services. The group’s management was markedly strengthened, with a strong aim to be at the forefront of technological, product and software innovation, and a conquering drive to become the undisputed leader in a market undergoing rapid technological change.
TCR was an aircraft support equipment rental group, 50% owned by the Australian group Brambles and 50% by the German group Fraport. It was a non-strategic subsidiary of these groups, developing a business model with high growth potential but requiring significant investments in equipment, which its shareholders did not want to take on.
Chequers acquired a 100% share in TCR alongside its management team in a primary LBO.
Value creation was achieved by the provision of dedicated financing for company growth. Present in 4 countries at the time of acquisition, TCR has since developed its activities in 8 new countries organilly and performed selective external growth operations, increasing its turnover fourfold. The group's increased size and international presence as well as its contract and asset base enabled TCR to be sold to a consortium of infrastructure funds in 2016.
Thermocoax is a world leader in the design and manufacture of heating and temperature measurement components for applications in critical environments.
Founded in 1957 as a subsidiary of Philips, the company initially developed around mineral insulated cable technology, which is still its core competence today. Thermocoax has progressively applied this technology in many areas (heating, temperature detection, neutron detectors, etc.) for many industrial sectors: aeronautics, energy, semi-conductors, nuclear, space, rail, etc.
The company, which is active in a structurally growing market through various technologies, is the partner of choice for the major global industrial OEMs worldwide, which it serves from its locations in France, the United States, China, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Chequers acquired a stake in Thermocoax in an LBO transaction in 2010 after having already been a shareholder from 2000 to 2005.
The plan is to further develop the group organically both in Europe and in the US where the potential is huge for Thermocoax given its small local size and the strong interest shown for insulated mineral technology. In May 2019, Chequers sold Thermocoax to the British Group Spirax Sarco Plc.
Tractel is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of lifting and handling equipment, suspended platforms and personal fall arrest equipment. The group is present in Europe, the United States and Asia.
Chequers Capital had long been acquainted with Denis Pradon, the group’s CEO and it was Chequers that he turned to in order to organise Tractel’s shareholders succession.
The group’s development project consisted, on the one hand, on supporting the growth in its markets, which benefited from strong growth drivers; and on the other hand, involved expanding the group’s product range with targeted acquisitions or new product developments (similar to what the group’s achievements in fall protection products).
The group experienced strong revenue growth during the investment period, driven by the fall arrest and access platform businesses, and by acquisitions of complementary product lines. Profitability almost doubled during this period, also generating substantial cash flow. The group was sold in 2007 to a financial investor.
The Valvitalia Group, an Italian family-owned industrial group, was a leading European manufacturer of valves for the oil and nuclear sector.
Chequers acquired a stake in Valvitalia from Banca Leonardo, a historic minority shareholder in Valvitalia.
The plan was to continue growing the group by extending its geographic footprint, in particular in Asia and the Middle East, by deploying commercial resources and making targeted acquisitions.
Value creation was achieved by organic growth driven by market share gains, the resumption of investments in the oil sector, as well as an acquisition in the United Kingdom. The group was sold in 2014 to Fondo Strategico Italiano (Italian Strategic Fund).
Wörner Medizinprodukte Holding GmbH is a leading distributor of a broad range of medical products to doctors, laboratories and wholesalers/retailers in Germany and Switzerland. The company serves the needs of laboratories and doctors, mostly general practitioners, for medical products and consumables through an adapted and highly scalable business model, providing a one-stop-shop solution.
Chequers acquired the company alongside its management team in 2017.
The value creation strategy is based on organic growth, leveraging a leading position in a growing, non-cyclical market, as well as on selective acquisitions of regional distributers in Wörner´s core markets Germany and Switzerland.