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Mohed Altrad, CEO
There are privileged moments in the life of a group, symbolic landmarks that show the progress that’s been made, give meaning to its history and offer a glimpse of a promising future ahead.
This is the case for the year 2014/2015 in which, proud of its rich past and strengthened by its achievements, the Group celebrated thirty years of existence. At the same time, as a sign of its vitality and constantly renewed dynamism, it took a decisive step in development with the acquisition of Hertel, a worldwide leader of services to industry.
This operation is part of a strategic rationale initiated several years ago and primarily focused on the growth opportunities offered by the rental and services business, especially internationally.
The acquisitions in 2012 and 2013 of Generation and Trad in the United Kingdom were part of this orientation aimed at strengthening the Group's positions in Europe and benefitting from the best performing economies while reducing exposure to the market risks and economic uncertainties within its geographical sphere of influence.
Joining with Hertel has clearly amplified this dynamic process, firstly in Europe, where Hertel’s strong positions in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom effectively complement those of Altrad, but also in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Caspian, South East Asia and Australia, giving the Altrad Group access to new territories.
The deployment of a wide and diverse range of services, resolutely geared towards major industrial clients, considerably reinforces the areas of expertise of both groups in the service sector. Both will benefit from the competitive advantage of the integrated manufacturing operations widely deployed in the Altrad Group.
With combined revenues of over € 1.9 billion for a full year and 17,000 employees, the Altrad-Hertel entity has become a world leader in the market, reaching a critical international size, and gaining at least 15 years on Altrad’s initial market plan.
This great leap forward, with the air of a true epic, was only possible because the Altrad Group was able to build on its achievements and fundamental principles, both cultural and managerial, its humanistic conception of the company and of change, and its business model focus on responsiveness, operational performance and openness to the world.
This culture based on strong values can be found in the Hertel Group, proud of its history of over 120 years, prioritizing customer service, the quality and safety of its services and the expertise of its employees.
With these convergences and joint expectations, the Altrad Group, as has always been the case in its acquisitions, will naturally be keen to respect and promote the identity and characteristics of Hertel and preserve its talents when implementing overall strategy and defining management objectives.
Finally, I would like to underline the unwavering commitment of our financial partners and shareholders, who with renewed confidence, gave their full support to this project and the funding resources needed for its realization, thereby contributing to the sustainable and lasting development of our Group.
This naturally sheds light on the results of the past year, which, after consolidating all our business activities, show a turnover of 1,6 billion up by 83 % for the same scope of activities and 10% on a comparable basis.
Analysis by sector shows a slight progression for the conventional outlets, similar to last year, and at the same time a significant upsurge in the scaffolding-access solutions sector (rental and services), justifying the Group’s strategic choices for external growth.
The markets in France and Southern Europe remain fragile and are still down compared to other European countries, largely driven again this year by the dynamism of the United Kingdom.
The international context remains mixed today.
France is still struggling with structural weaknesses, and the construction and public works sector, essential for the industrial component of the Group, is still behind. The diversification strategy deployed by the Group has nevertheless put the impact of this unfavourable environment into perspective; this sector represents only a third of total turnover, the remaining two thirds being produced by the Services sector, which has been a timely priority for several years.
Germany and especially the United Kingdom continue to benefit from a buoyant economic climate.
It should also be noted that large industrial clients: petrochemicals, nuclear power plants ... now constitute direct outlets for the services sector, making the Group less vulnerable thanks to the multiannual nature of the contracts and the status of the signatories.
They also fuel the production system and largely add to its profitability, which in turn helps to secure and optimize Group sourcing.
The Group is of course fully committed to controlling its rapprochement with Hertel, both as regards establishing common management principles and in achieving growth and profitability targets for the new operational entity.
The benefits of this rapprochement in terms of business and the expected synergies strengthen the Group’s faith in its future and enhance our permanent search for high-level competitiveness and profitability.
Its strong financial position, bolstered by new financing and the reaffirmed support of its partners, its unique management system that is responsive and decentralized, the respect and appreciation of cultural differences, should enable the Group to calmly continue to expand and forge its destiny with confidence.