….is at the heart of what we do.
Careful planning before our investment is just part of creating the success of the companies we support. We go further and empower management teams to unleash the potential of their businesses, and make them ever stronger.
Solid and healthy human dynamics, at both management level and across all levels of the business, are essential. Our company name reflects that we are part of this dynamic.
This phase of the discovery of the business and of the people is reciprocal – it is equally important for the management team to understand who we are, what our expectations are and how we operate as is the reverse.
Partnering means embarking together for a story which lasts several years. Future partners need to ensure we share the understanding of business opportunities, and challenges. We need to share the conviction of the plan, the certainty that reality will probably be different, and the common trust to be able to assimilate that and adapt the plan.
Of course, any process goes through due diligence, and drafting of legal documentation as well. But we will not invest if a common sense of trust and comfortable transparency is not established. We will not invest if the interests are not perfectly aligned with management, our conception is that once the investment is done and the story started, we should all pull in the same direction, without any hidden agenda.
And if you are a manager considering partnering with us, you should not partner with us if that does not echo your deep motivations.
The weeks and months that immediately follow an investment deserve a specific focus: this is the moment when the new dynamics start.
These include the launch of new initiatives discussed before the investment; the implementation of new governance, explained in the next section. And often entails a lot of time dedicated to explaining the purpose of the new partnership to all stakeholders: clients, suppliers, and very importantly, all employees.
We at Argos find it normal to come and explain to employees who we are, where the money comes from, and what our purpose is with their company. In 30 years, we have done this many times, and it has always been a very fruitful experience, for everyone involved.
We are not managers of the companies in which our funds invest. Management manages.
Our role alongside management during those years will be twofold:
The method is simple: a very open and informal dialogue with management teams. Typically, every week we talk, without any agenda other than sharing where the business and its market go and considering together how to make the company stronger in that evolving context.
At Argos we support growth and value creation for our portfolio companies, in a sustainable manner.
We believe this requires a responsible management system that integrates environmental, social and governance issues, which we encourage in the companies that we support. We also ask them to implement pragmatic reporting on these matters, because KPIs are needed to advance.
This allows us to identify strategic and organizational levers linked to social and environmental stakes. Corporate social responsibility enables companies to improve their outlook for growth, and manage risks, more effectively. It makes it possible to reduce resource consumption and improve operational efficiency, working conditions and employee relationships. It is a source of innovation and new opportunities and a way to increase shareholder value.
We are committed to sustaining this approach in every step of our investment, in a simple and pragmatic way, every single day.
We are often asked why we need to divest. This simply comes from the fact that the money we invest comes from institutions which invest the long-term savings of ordinary people; even their “long term” savings have a term, because they want to buy a house, or retire etc… These institutions cannot block their investment in our funds forever.
On average our investments last for slightly more than 5 years, but this horizon is not like a loan term: in a number of cases we have continued to build growth for 7 to 10 years.
Usually our divestments are organized through a structured process, strongly coordinated with management of the company. All options are open; in most cases, another fund manager comes to team up. The quality of the new project for the business is taken into consideration – the care for sustainability does not stop on the eve of our divestment.