In 2017, Wendel considered that it had the capacity to invest up to €3bn mainly in unlisted companies with strong profitable growth potential, subject to favorable market conditions.
In light of the Covid-19 public health crisis which began in early 2020 resulting in a drop in economic activity and valuations, Wendel is focusing all of its energy on supporting portfolio companies to help them adapt to this unprecedented situation.
Wendel will continue with the conservative approach which has characterized its activity over the past few years and will be more selective than ever in reviewing potential acquisitions, feeling no pressure to invest.
The other aspects of the Group's goals remain unchanged:
Develop and crystallize value by pursuing the long-term growth of our portfolio companies and by taking advantage of opportunities to divest, form partnerships, list companies on the stock exchange or reinvest in a disciplined manner if and when this seems attractive;
In some cases, invest alongside partners who share Wendel's philosophy, as the Group has already done in the past;
Stay vigilant keeping debt under strict control at a level well below €2.5 billion, while maintaining a balance between listed and unlisted stakes in the portfolio;
Pursue ambitious financial objectives: double-digit average return to shareholders and dividends increasing year after year to the extent possible, combined with regular share repurchases, depending on opportunities.
The achievement of these objectives has been thwarted by recent circumstances.
Over the long term, Wendel seeks to offer investors a portfolio of around 10 companies, predominantly unlisted companies. Unlisted assets will represent around 50% of gross assets, with listed assets and cash and cash equivalents accounting for the remaining 50%.
Wendel’s roadmap will be revisited when the Executive Board’s term is up for renewal.
Wendel’s investment model
Wendel invests in companies that are or have the potential to become leaders in their industries.
Wendel selects companies which are companies well positioned to capitalize on promising geographies and significant long-term economic trends, such as demographic changes, urbanization, increasing buying power in developing countries, sustainable growth, safety and security, digitalization, etc.
Growth and transformation
Companies well positioned to capitalize on high-growth regions and/or major long-term economic trends, such as: demographic changes, urbanization, sustainable growth, safety and
security, digitalization, etc.
With high potential for long-term profitable growth, through both organic growth and value-creating acquisitions.
Initial equity investments are generally between 200 million euros and 700 million euros, with the possibility of subsequent reinvestment.
Wendel favors companies based in Europe and North America. It selects companies with signiﬁcant international exposure or an internationally oriented growth strategy.
Wendel seeks a balanced approach to governance which enables it to fully play its role as a long-term shareholder. Wendel appoints management teams who share its vision.
The debt of Group’s companies is without recourse for Wendel and is calibrated on the basis of each entity’s growth proﬁle and ability to generate cash ﬂow.
A responsible investor
Wendel does not invest in sectors whose image would not fit with the Group’s reputation or be in conflict with its values and its policy of responsible investment.
Acquisitions by Group companies
Companies which are added to the portfolio are poised to expand through organic growth and value-creating acquisitions. Growth through acquisition is an integral part of the growth model for almost all of the Group’s companies.
Each company’s development strategy targets a percentage of growth through acquisitions - usually of lesser sized companies which create value. Wendel’s teams assist the Group’s companies in seeking out such accretive acquisitions. They support companies in deploying their external growth strategy and in raising up the necessary financing.
A model built on enterprising spirit
To give its managers a stake in the Group’s value creation, Wendel has set up co-investment programs to allow them to invest their personal savings in the assets held in the Group’s portfolio. This gives them a personal stake in the risks and rewards of these investments.
Success Stories : developing companies
over the long term to help become leaders
Wendel partners with companies for the long run, such as with Capgemini or BioMérieux. Although it may hold an investment for a shorter period, Wendel always makes decisions with the company’s enduring interests in mind. Wendel supports acquisitions and capital expenditure, keeping a constant focus on innovation.
Capgemini : 1982-2006
- Held for 24 years
- Became a world leader in consulting and IT services
- Sales increased 45-fold
- IPO in 1985
- Investment multiple: 1.5x
- Amount invested by Wendel: €1,290 million
Biomérieux : 1988-2007
- Held for 19 years
- Became a global player in in vitro diagnostics; world leader in clinical and industrial microbiology
- Margin improved by 330 points over the 2003-2007 period
- IPO in 2004
- Investment multiple: 4.4x
- Amount invested by Wendel: €106 million
Editis : 2004-2008
- Held for 4 years
- Margin improved by 400 points over the period
- 6 acquisitions
- Sold to a publishing industry player, Spanish group Planeta
- Investment multiple: 2.7x
- Amount invested by Wendel: €183 million
Stallergènes : 1993-2010
- Held for 17 years
- Became the world leader in allergy immunotherapy
- Sales increased 10-fold
- Sold to a highly specialized family-held investment company (Ares Life Sciences, founded by the Bertarelli family)
- Investment multiple: 35x
- Amount invested by Wendel: €12 million
Deutsch : 2006-2012
- Held for 6 years
- Continued support of innovation in a difficult economic environment
- Margin improved by 500 points over the period
- Sold to the industry world leader, TE Connectivity
- Investment multiple: 2.5x
- Amount invested by Wendel: €388 million
Legrand : 2002-2013
- Held for 11 years
- Global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures
- 2002-2012: revenues increased by more than 55%
- Over 30 acquisitions
- Relisted on the stock exchange in 2006
- Investment multiple: 3.9x
- Amount invested by Wendel: €659 million