In a similar vein to Technogym, the French group Abéo has successfully managed its IPO this year. A key player on the market for sports and leisure equipment, Abéo is positioned in several disciplines: gymnastics, rock climbing, basketball, judo, volleyball…
A key asset: proximity with sports federations
The company enjoys a strong reputation with sportsmen and women, and maintains close relations with sporting federations, as demonstrated by the group’s 14 contributions to the Olympic Games since 1956. These partnerships represent a true competitive advantage: athletes and their managers want to train using certified and official equipment, and they are pushing for the gymnasiums to offer the kind of equipment they will be faced with during major sporting events.
In this respect, the rock climbing division could benefit from its new status as an Olympic sport for the 2020 Tokyo games. This recognition from the International Olympic Committee should foster the restructuring of the discipline, with the setting of new standards that would favour key players such as Abéo, amid a competitive landscape that had been rather hostile and undisciplined in the area of rock climbing.
Furthermore, after a few execution-related problems, this division saw the implementation of new management in the United States. The results for the first half of 2016 are already showing signs of a recovery.
A successful external growth policy
Abéo has carried out 12 external growth deals since 2002, historically the company has always succeeded in creating value from its series of takeovers. The structuring takeover of Janssen-Fritsen in 2014 particularly helped the group to scale-up. Furthermore, the merger of both companies suggests a smooth succession plan between Olivier Estèves, who has been at the head of Abéo since 1992, and Jacques Janssen, based on their noticeably trusting relationship.
Abéo has carried out 12 external growth deals since 2002, historically the company has always succeeded in creating value
The funds raised during the capital increase should enable the group to keep up its momentum and continue to consolidate the market, targeting international markets and the high-potential segment of “sportainment”.
Imminent action plan on the challenges of CSR
Finally, following the audit carried out in 2016 on CSR issues, the group will deploy a plan of complementary actions. These will include in-house satisfaction surveys, the discussion of shareholder – employee schemes, eco-design, further formalisation of the company’s HR policy and the implementation of new articles of association that are aligned with the Middlenext governance code.
In light of Olivier Estèves’ commitment to human values, we believe that these various initiatives will see the day, alongside his continued efforts for the Sports for Children Foundation – whose mission is to recycle second-hand sporting equipment for use in emerging countries.
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