Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Afflelou attempts the largest ipo of the year – The World

the distributor of The glasses, wants to ease the debt which eats all its benefits

In France, Alain Afflelou is cited by the general public as one of the four ” greatest entrepreneurs “, behind Bernard Arnault, Xavier Niel and Vincent Bolloré, according to a survey conducted in December 2015 by BVA for le Salon des entrepreneurs. The investors are they willing to put their money in his company ? Response in the coming weeks. The distributor of eyewear, has announced Tuesday, October 18, to have taken the first step towards return to the stock Exchange, ten years after it came out.

see also : Alain Afflelou seeks the ear of Emmanuel Macron

The document in which the company nu was registered on Monday with the financial markets Authority, and the leaders have started their promotion campaign. Objective, to enter the market before the end of the year. The group hopes to sign the most important introduction in Paris in 2016. A good test of vision to the financial community, in the midst of the blur related to the Brexit.

As with his glasses, Afflelou offers two operations for the price of one. The first is a capital increase of approximately € 200 million. the ” This money will allow us to deleverage “, explains Frédéric Lice, the CEO who succeeded the founder Alain Afflelou. As is usually the case of the businesses taken over in a leveraged buy-out (LBO), the company Afflelou door itself, the debt related to its acquisition by the fund. This debt, very heavy, exceeds 5.5 times its operating profit. Refunds eat all the profits, and even further, so that the group has accumulated a net loss of 60 million euros in three years. The supply of money must bring the weight of the debt to a level more bearable.

346 million euros of sales

Simultaneously, the existing shareholders (Lion Capital, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Apax partners, Alain Afflelou himself and the leaders) will all give a portion of their securities. ” Five years after the LBO, it is logical that they think of to get out “, ” says head Lice.

In 2012, Afflelou had already tried to come back in Stock. But the euro zone crisis had handed over the project in question, and the british Lion Capital had finally put the hand on the business. At present, the economic weakness in France and the exit of Britain from the european Union have also cooled much of the enthusiasm. Only 13 companies have dared to knock at the door of the Paris stock Exchange since the beginning of the year, compared with 37 for the whole of 2015. The fortune, however, smiled at the bold Houses in the world, in which the action has jumped 50 % since his arrival, at the end of may.

enough To leave many of the hopes for Afflelou. All that in a few years, the group of 346 million euros of turnover is muscular. The base remains the same : the sale of glasses, primarily in France and in Spain, in shops which bear the mark Afflelou but remain owned by independent traders. This franchise system enables rapid development while minimizing the investment. Fourth network in France, in a market dominated by Optic 2000 and Krys, Afflelou estimates have a margin of progress : ” we could have 900 stores, that is 160 more than today “, considers the CEO.

Four engines of development

in order To accelerate this expansion, four engines have been added in recent years. Start with the sale of hearing aids. In France, Afflelou has become in few years one of the major players of this growing market. Second engine, Internet. The founder of the brand did not really believe in. Mr. Lice, 45 years, has made it an important focus, especially with the purchase of two sites for sale online, Happyview and Malentille. The third change has been to bring the group in the low-end, with purchases of Optical Discount in France, and then Optimil in Spain, in order to take advantage of the growth in this segment.

Finally, Afflelou has placed its flag in new countries, such as Chile. A first shop is to open in China in a few days. the ” The ipo will give us the means of our international ambitions “, promises to the CEO, who has already in mind the names of a few networks that he could purchase outside of France.

also Read : the competition Authority opens an investigation on the prices of hearing aids


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