Big PE houses have been active this week. Ardian picked up a provider of digitalisation services, Triton announced an exit from a manufacturer of industrial plastic hoses and EQT will acquire a majority stake in a German renewable energy provider.
As we are also at the end of the month, not just the week, we will round up some themes from our interviews with senior women in PE from the past month.
In the cloud
Let’s start with one of the deals. Ardian announced it will acquire a stake in Mimacom Flowable Group, a firm in software development and consulting projects in the field of digitisation as well as cloud and data.
Ardian’s investment will help the company drive its growth through entering new markets, growing its customer base and targeted acquisitions of IT service and business process automation companies, according to a release.
“Digital transformation continues to be one of the major challenges facing companies worldwide,” said Marc Abadir, managing director at Ardian. “The markets for digitisation, hyperautomation and low-code platforms are generating double-digit annual growth rates, but at the same time they are still highly fragmented.”
Next up, we have an exit. The Triton Smaller Mid-Cap Fund I (TSM), advised by Triton Partners, will sell Norres Baggerman Group, a manufacturer of industrial plastic hoses in Europe, to Nalka Invest.
Triton acquired Norres Baggerman in 2018.
Norres has completed three acquisitions, saw about 10 percent annual organic growth, and increased its sales by over 170 percent to over €100 million during Triton’s investment period, according to a release.
“We believe that Norres is very well positioned for a sustainable future and that Nalka is the right partner to accompany Norres Baggerman into further future success,” said Andi Klein, managing partner, and head of TSM.
We have one more deal by a large PE firm. EQT’s Active Core Infrastructure fund will acquire 82.1 percent of Tion Renewables, a renewable energy producer with a diversified portfolio of utility-scale solar, wind and battery storage, from Pelion Green Future Alpha.
The transaction values Tion at a base equity value of €150 million, which is around €31.61 per share, according to a release.
The purchase price corresponds to a premium of around 35 percent over the Tion’s closing share price on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on 24 March, the release added.
“This acquisition, which is EQT Active Infrastructure’s second investment, is a prime example of the Fund’s purpose-driven and active investment strategy directly contributing to the energy transition and decarbonisation targets,” said Fabian Gröne, partner within EQT Active Core Infrastructure’s advisory team.
Women in PE
March has been about celebrating women here at PE Hub Europe. On International Women’s Day, we kicked off our series of interviews with senior women in private equity. While we certainly want to continue elevating women’s voices in private equity, this series has now wrapped up at the end of the month. I thought it be interesting to look at some common themes we’ve heard throughout the series.
The general consensus around gender diversity was that there is still work to be done. The strongest words on the state of the industry came from Raymond James’ Sunaina Sinha Haldea, who in her interview described the stats on women in PE as “pretty dismal”.
“Sub-5 percent of senior folks in private equity are women,” she said. “The industry knows it’s important, but it’s not materialising into the representation figures that we really should be seeing.”
Julie Gautier, a principal at PAI Partners, spoke to me about similar themes. She said that understanding that private equity as an industry has an issue in terms of diversity is “half of the battle”.
“Because most of the time, people just don’t notice,” she added.
Many did also mention that the industry has already changed a lot. In an interview with Irien Joseph, Jaroslava Korpanec, partner and head of CEE at Actis, said that PE firms are getting better at recognising the need to be progressive. “I can see that there are issues and topics around diversity which are now openly discussed, which was not always the case before,” she said.
Retention was also brought up multiple times. Morgane Bouhenic, partner at IK Partners’ small-cap investment team, told me the industry needs to work harder to retain junior level women. “We need to do more; we need to get better,” she said. “Otherwise, we lose not only talent, but also the attractiveness in the competitive job market for new graduates.”
Baird Capital’s Louise Kingston agreed with Bouhenic’s sentiments. “I think if more people understood what we do and the breadth of roles in and around PE, then it would be much more appealing to a broader range of people,” she said.
For me, one of the most important points revolves around how having diverse voices leads to better decision making. Tanja Lukas, an investment director at Schroders Capital, said that women can bring a lot to the table. “It is a bit of a Holy Grail, especially in Europe,” she told me. “But it has been shown that you get higher performance and lower risk when you have a more diverse team. Having a female perspective on things can really change investment outcomes for the better.”
For even more coverage on women in private equity, take a look at affiliate titles PE Hub and Buyouts’ coverage here.