Case study

Plasto/Adhex
Logo Adhex
Company
Description
PLASTO was a subsidiary of Laboratoires FOURNIER specializing in the design and manufacture of technical adhesives mainly for industrial applications. The company had a turnover of 85€M with an EBITDA close to 0.

Located on the historic site of Fournier Laboratories in Chenôve (Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France), the company employed 450 people.

Considered non-strategic, the Fournier Laboratories Group made the decision to separate from this subsidiary, with the main objective to identify a serious and robust buyer in order to ensure the sustainability of the activity and the jobs.

Investment
Context
The Excelrise team positioned itself very early by directly approaching the Le Lous family, owner of Laboratoires Fournier, in order to formulate a proposal to resume Plasto’s activity as part of a carve out. Besides the in-depth analysis of the activity of the company and its assets, the main stake of the operation lay in the clipping of the different functions of the company.

The analysis carried out by the team highlighted the following points:
 

  • Since Plasto’s activity being considered non-strategic by the Fournier group, it suffered from insufficient managerial involvement;
  • Plasto benefited from services provided by the Fournier Group (such as accounting, information systems, human resources management) which appeared oversized and often unsuited to the real needs of an SME with a turnover of € 80 million business;
  • Yet the company’s markets had grown over the previous 5 years, between 3 and 4% per year;
  • Finally, the company benefited from international locations and valuable patents.
  • The entrepreneurial approach adopted by the team was found the best by the Le Lous family. An agreement on the operational and financial conditions of the operation was quickly reached. It included an upfront payment and an earn out. The carve out was therefore carried out in February 2003.
  • The company then posted negative EBITDA of more than € 2m.
Transformation
Strategy and Excelrise
Team Role
The first actions undertaken by the team aimed at adjusting the organizational costs of the company while developing a plan for the involvement of all employees based on (i) total transparency in social dialogue and (ii) a direct interest in improving the performance of the company.

At the same time, numerous reorganization measures were taken, such as the implementation of support functions adapted to the needs and size of the company (information system, finance, HR, etc.), structuring of the product range, revitalization. R&D, reducing the industrial complexity of the company and replacing certain key positions.

Results
After the first 12 months following the carve out, the company had returned to profit.

The mobilization of all employees and the development of a corporate culture based on entrepreneurship, autonomy and responsibility was decisive and then led to a new phase of expansion. In particular, the efforts devoted since the acquisition to R&D and the structuring of the product range led to the successful development of the BtoC activities with mass retailers.

This branch of activity was sold in 2010 to the main competitor, the 3M group, in excellent conditions.

In 2013, the group (renamed Adhex) was bought in LMBO by a member of the Excelrise team, Roland de la Brosse, who held the position of General Manager and who is currently the CEO of the company whose activity is flourishing.

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