Mergers & Acquisitions: an entrepreneurial approach towards meeting the expectations of SME managers and shareholders
Created in 2013, Carmine Capital provides entrepreneurial investment banking services. The firm assists managers and shareholders of SMEs across all sectors of activity in their transfer, acquisition, and fundraising transactions. Carmine Capital’s particularity: putting people at the heart of financial transactions. We spoke with Anne-Laure Beuriot, founding partner, and Germain Simoneau, partner.
What was the reason for creating Carmine Capital?
Anne-Laure Beuriot: The Small Caps (SME) market was lacking firms offering genuine quality of execution, structured and clear processes, along with a detailed knowledge of their clients’ financial, professional, and personal issues. I created Carmine Capital with the objective of providing a new value proposition for SME managers and shareholders. My ambition was to establish a benchmark brand in this market, guaranteeing a solid bond of trust between managers and their intermediary.
It should also be noted that M&A advisory services have historically been conducted from a strictly financial perspective. Carmine Capital distinguishes itself from this model by adopting an entrepreneurial approach to the support of a divestment, acquisition, or fundraising transaction.
Our considerable growth over the last few years confirms that this approach is relevant, over the long term, for all companies and their employees. Our objective in providing this support is to create a sense of purpose for companies and their employees, as well as to generate financial value.
What is the cornerstone of your M&A advisory practice?
A-L.B.: Carmine Capital advocates a controlled quality of execution. This is put into practice by a team of some ten analysts, trained by me, all applying the same methodology and processes. They analyse the company, its environment, and its ecosystem, while also factoring in the company’s unique DNA.
We also place a strong emphasis on proximity. Understanding our clients requires getting to know their entrepreneurial environment. Consequently, we initiated our development by opening local offices and subsidiaries. Currently, we are present in Toulouse, Lille, Nantes, and Dijon. Carmine Capital also has an international presence to meet the growth-through-acquisition needs of our clients. An office has already been opened in Geneva, and another is planned for Lisbon within the next 24 months.
Our third pillar is transparency. Thanks to our MyCarmine software platform, developed at the outset of the company, each client can track the progress of their project at any time.
We are the only firm in France and in Europe to offer this level of visibility. The process of building a company will have represented years of work, or in some cases a lifetime for the managers we support. It is therefore essential for us to enable them to be kept informed in real time, ensuring they remain at the heart of the strategy as we pursue a capital transaction. This frees them, reassures them, and commits us to providing an impeccable quality of service.
This transparency also enables us to engage in strategic, rather than merely informative, dialogue. This brings us closer to our clients.
What are the specific characteristics of your market?
A-L.B.: We favour operations that convey meaning to the company and its manager. Therefore, upon initiating a new file, we invest a great deal of time and energy in properly understanding a client’s personal, professional, and financial circumstances, to guide them towards the best possible transaction.
Carmine Capital also advocates its own diversity. In a market that is traditionally very male-dominated and stereotyped, we encourage gender, cultural, and generational diversity. We sincerely believe in collective intelligence. It is because our profiles are so diverse yet complementary that we are enriched. This strengthens our ability to adapt to our clients, who are all so different from one another.
How do you support your clients in their transactions?
A-L.B.: When a client first comes to us, we introduce them to all the partners who are best suited to their project, depending on the transaction: investment funds, acquirers, or targets. Carmine Capital will have already identified beforehand which partner best corresponds to the client’s entrepreneurial DNA. For example, as part of a fundraising project, we will present the investment funds in terms of their positioning: entrepreneurial or institutional profile, restrictions or not on their investment period, involvement of the fund vis-à-vis their holdings, and so on.
We ensure that the partner and our client both share the same vision of the company’s development. It is this compatibility that creates value and enables the company’s growth to be maintained over time, thus protecting our client’s business assets.
Germain Simoneau: We are also called on to help owner-managers to diversify their assets. The health crisis and the subsequent strained international context are having a violent effect on the economy and companies. Until now, economic crises tended to slow down business activity in general, affecting all companies rather evenly. The Covid crisis was a new kind of economic storm affecting specific industries and companies in unpredictable ways. Owner-managers and their families can no longer afford such a degree of sectoral exposure in terms of capital.
This is why we support them in transactions that involve rethinking the human/capital relationship, by listening to them and understanding them in order to build together the best solutions enabling a better coverage of their risks. We strive to ensure that these new, secure organisations are fully consistent with the personal aspirations of the managers and shareholders. This attentiveness is possible thanks to our diversity, our proximity, and our entrepreneurial experience. Therefore, there will always be someone at Carmine Capital who truly resonates with a client’s particular personality.
For more information, please contact Anne-Laure Beuriot.