ARGOS WITYU IN BRIEF
LOWER MID-MARKET BUYOUT SPECIALIST
Argos Wityu is an independent European private equity group that supporting buyouts of SMEs with turnover of €20m to 600m. The funds managed by Argos Wityu support management teams in place (buyout) or newly recruited (buy-in). The funds take majority stakes and invest between €10m and €100m in the following situations :
Management buy-out, management buy-in;
Acquisitions of subsidiaries or business units from large groups (spin-offs);
Equity injections to finance expansion, external growth (build-up) or debt restructuring.
Companies with revenues between € 20m and 600m
Investment from €10m to 100m
Transaction size from €25 to 200m
Offices in 5 European countries
more than 70 investments since 1989
Argos Wityu funds acquire both independent family-owned companies and subsidiaries of large groups across all industries, in order to support the management teams in the implementation of their strategic plans aiming at business transformation, innovation and growth.
Since its creation in 1989, Argos Wityu has invested in more than 75 businesses in the European mid-market, giving the group in-depth industry insight and strong experience in various situations : international expansion, external acquisitions, divestments or changes to business models.
Finally, we have built a network of experts and partners, and have capitalized experience of many industries and situations that we make available to the managers of the acquired companies.
Over the last 20 years, Argos Wityu has managed / advised more than EUR 1bn, coming exclusively from international top-tier institutional investors, most of whom have trusted us for many years.
Our investors are not involved in individual transactions, or in the direct management of portfolio companies.
FOCUS ON BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION AND GROWTH, NOT FINANCIAL LEVERAGE
We believe that value creation must come primarily from a company’s expansion, growth and/or transformation. We want the management teams of our portfolio companies to have sufficient room to take operational initiatives and invest in their strategic plan. This is why our transactions are based on limited use of financial leverage, and a financing structure adapted to each business’s expansion plans and to its market characteristics.
We make sure that the companies in our portfolio are not primarily focusing on repayment of debt, but rather on expansion, innovation, recruitment and investment.
SOLVING COMPLEX SITUATIONS
There are several particularly complex situations that require specific know-how, expertise and experience and, above all, sufficient internal resources prior to and after the transaction.
Argos Wityu specialises in particular in this type of complex transactions, including:
Management buy-ins (MBI), often when the acquired company is managed by its main shareholder who needs to be replaced by a new management team simultaneously with the transaction.
Spin-offs, when the acquired company is divested by a large group, and is not entirely autonomous and uses resources shared by its parent company (information systems, distribution networks, suppliers, etc.). These require an operational transition period, often lasting several years.
Businesses with complex organisations, whether because the divested companies are interconnected with activities that the seller wants to keep or because the companies have multiple activities and require strategic or operational clarification.
Unstable shareholding situations, with conflicts and disagreements as to how to run the business, or with shareholders who no longer support the management’s strategic vision (e.g. family shareholdings faced with the need to finance external growth operations).
WORKING CLOSELY WITH MANAGEMENT TEAMS
The proximity and availability of our teams is key to working alongside management teams.
This means we worked closely with management teams both during the pre-acquisition analysis and deal structuring phase, and following the investment. We act as a partner to the management team during strategic decision-making moments, and are available and responsive in day-to-day matters.
Argos Wityu’s local presence is essential for proximity with management teams and is the basis of our investment approach. It brings us knowledge of the local environment of each country, and enables us to adequately support our portfolio companies.
Motivation, alignment of interests and entrepreneurial spirit of the management team are important success factors of a MBO. We systematically offer management teams and employees the possibility in invest in their company alongside Argos Wityu funds. This strengthens their motivation and commitment to the company through a financial investment and allows them to benefit from the value creation generated by their company.
INTERNATIONAL TEAM, LOCAL PRESENCE
Created in 1989 with three European offices (Paris, Milan and Geneva) then with a 4th office opened in Brussels in 2013, and a 5th office in Frankfurt in 2016, Argos Wityu is a multicultural team with about ten different nationalities. Argos Wityu operates as one European team, sharing the same values and entrepreneurial spirit to support our portfolio companies, no matter in which country they operate.
Our international mindset helps our portfolio companies expand abroad, both in the countries where we are based and beyond, thanks to special partnerships in high growth and/or developing markets. Without forgetting the benefits of 25 years of experience of operating in multicultural environments.
Since its creation in 1989, Argos Wityu has been independent, and has operated without the support of a financial institution or an industrial corporation. The group is wholly owned and operated by its partners which guarantees independent investment decisions, solely on the basis of the merits of each transaction.
This allows us to have a flexible approach to investment opportunities, to adapt to the requirements of the environments in which we operate and to react quickly and constructively to opportunities as they present themselves.
Similar to the way Argos Wityu’s organization was created and the way it operates, our investment philosophy is based on an entrepreneurial approach. We support entrepreneurs and management teams in the implementation of their expansion and transformation plans.
This is reflected in our investment strategy focusing on business expansion rather than financial leverage, and leaving management teams sufficient room to take operational initiatives, and in our capacity to invest in businesses where we can create value through transformation (upstream/downstream integration, add-on acquisitions, strategic repositioning in the value chain, etc.).
A key moment in the career of a manager and often the most exciting time in their working life is the acquisition of a company – especially when this concerns their own business. So we look to base every deal on a strong partnership that goes well beyond financial aspects. Trust, transparency and solidarity with management teams are key to such a partnership.
Our understanding of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs when managing or creating their own business plays an important role and it is vital that we share the same values and speak the same language. Argos Wityu supports the management teams, allowing them to prepare, finance and execute the transaction, and to implement their the business plan regardless of whether the managers are already in place (MBO), newly recruited at the time of the operation (MBI), or a mixture of the two (BIMBO).
Argos Wityu believes corporate responsibility is about being both a responsible investor and a responsible company. For many years the Argos Wityu group has promoted high environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) standards.
We are convinced that applying ESG principles to our investment policy allows portfolio companies to be better run, have fewer business risks and ultimately increase value.
Our investment code reflects our willingness to use our influence as an investor for our portfolio companies to:
- comply, as a minimum, with applicable local and international laws
- mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts
- enhance positive effects on the environment, workers and relevant stakeholders
- uphold high standards of business integrity and good corporate governance.