Multi-technical services group SPIE shows how successive private equity owners with a shared vision can transform a business and create jobs and prosperity for its employees. When Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Ardian bought SPIE in 2011 from PAI Partners, which had been a shareholder since 2006, they set about expanding the French electrical and communications engineering group across Europe and into areas such as infrastructure and energy. Under the guidance of its sponsors, SPIE has added 14,000 new jobs and expanded globally. Today, it is the largest European independent player in its field, with 37,000 staff in 34 countries, whose jobs include installing and maintaining solar power plants in Portugal, upgrading high speed train lines in France, and ensuring safety on oil platforms off the coast of Angola.
The creativity of Ardian’s international network and the knowledge of our industry are key elements that make them the most valuable partners
Gauthier Louette President Directeur Général, SPIE
What did the business need?
- Simpler company structure with a focus on specialised engineering services
- Finances and support to acquire and integrate smaller European engineering groups
- Support to expand the business internationally
- Expertise to expand into services for renewable energy and energy efficiency
How did private equity backing create lasting value?
- Sold non-core businesses to focused on specialised services
- Acquired over 80 companies in France and abroad
- Expanded across Europe, and entered Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East
- Created and drove take-up of employee share ownership scheme
- Pushed energy efficiency and renewable energy services
What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?
- Transformed SPIE into the largest European independent player in its sector
- Transformed from French business into global group with 52% of revenues overseas
- Increased revenues by 70% to €4.6bn
- Secured 50% take-up of employee share ownership through two successive schemes
- Added 14,000 jobs, taking total employment to 37,000
of revenues generated outside France
new countries entered
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