30 June 2023

Alcentra recognised by Club des Trente for its work on the financial restructuring of Pierre & Vacances

The Club des Trente has singled out Vinci's acquisition of Cobra IS and the financial restructuring of Pierre & Vacances. The Airbus industrial development project has been awarded a major prize on the fiftieth anniversary of the association of finance directors of major French companies.

Airbus receives a prestigious award on the fiftieth anniversary of the Club des Trente. (Alain Robert/SIPA)

Airbus receives a prestigious award on the fiftieth anniversary of the Club des Trente. (Alain Robert/SIPA)

By Laurent Flallo

Practice makes perfect: French companies were no strangers to mergers and acquisitions last year. The number of M&A transactions declined much less in France than the global average, allowing French firms to maintain their agility and capacity to adapt and transform, as demonstrated by Vinci and Pierre & Vacances, the two winners of the prizes for the best financial transaction of 2022, awarded on Thursday by the Club des Trente.

On the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, the association of financial directors of major French groups, chaired by Nathalie Lomon (SEB), also paid tribute to Airbus, which received a major award for its exceptional long-term industrial performance.

Other nominees included the IPO of the Sanofi subsidiary Euroapi, the IPO of the green hydrogen producer Lhyfe and the 'Air France-KLM capital increase. The competition is sponsored by Mazars, Deloitte, Cleary Gottlieb, Brandford Griffith and HEC, in partnership with "Option Finance" and "Les Echos".

European industrial benchmark

Two decades later, the Club's jury, chaired by Claude Laruelle (Veolia), confirmed the choice of its predecessor, which recognised the birth of EADS as the "best financial transaction of 2000". The success of this partnership between three countries, under the auspices of public and private shareholders, has exceeded all expectations. The aircraft manufacturer, headed by Guillaume Faury, has overtaken Boeing while continuing to innovate, most notably with the A380. It has become the industrial benchmark for Europe, inspiring dreams of creating 'Airbuses' in many other sectors.

The association singled out Vinci's acquisition of Cobra IS, a €4.2 billion deal (net of cash) advised by Athena Capital Parters, Lazard and Key Capital, whose strategic vision was highlighted by the Club. With the takeover of the engineering subsidiary of ACS, the group led by Xavier Huillard has positioned itself at the heart of the energy transition at a reasonable price (between 10.5 and 12 times its operating earnings), enabling a significant increase in expected earnings per share.

The financial restructuring of Pierre & Vacances, which had a gross debt of one billion euros (including a state-guaranteed loan), was recognised in the financing category. In addition to the rescue package organised by a pair of UK funds (Alcentra, Fidera) and the French fund Atream, via a vehicle combining Bpifrance and the Nov Tourisme fund (managed by Montefiore), the jury praised the repositioning carried out by managing director Franck Gervais to focus on the tourism operator business and his skilful exit from property development. The three recapitalisations were overseen by advisers Barber Hauler, Degroof Petercam, Eight Advisory, Messier & Associés and Rothschild & Co.

Laurent Flallo

{"title": "Alcentra", "description": "", "mode": "ss", "targetId": "top"}