Prior to an investment, we identify the opportunities to create value. We proceed with the acquisition only if we can actually add value. We enter into an active partnership with management when we invest.
This is always based on clear agreements with management. The mutual expectations must be completely clear, which is the only way to achieve proper and lasting cooperation. In our experience, this is the only way to achieve a good result.
We focus on 4 aspects to speed up growth:
AAC continuously encourages entrepreneurs to think bigger. Together with management, we define a specific and selective list of opportunities to grow the business. We also make a list of what we are not going to do, which creates clarity and provides focus. We distinguish between 2 basic growth strategies:
Extend the core of a scalable business by introducing best practices in the field of marketing, sales and pricing, possibly combined with expansion into new distribution channels (such as e-commerce), geographic marketplaces and related products and services.
Rapidly grow a platform through a series of targeted acquisitions and make use of the commercial and operational benefits of consolidation. This is the core strategy for more than 50% of our investments, as evidenced by the 80 add-on investments we have made so far.
In every business, people make the difference. In order to realise our common goals, we invest in the best possible people with the right skills in the right positions. The focus is not only on the management team but also on other crucial positions. We pay attention to training, coaching, the flow of young talent and the influx of external talent.
Management manages and is in the driver’s seat. We encourage them to think bigger. We inspire and coach. We are well-known for our decisive and commercially-driven approach when executing plans. Which means: we facilitate plans taking place and doing well. In addition, management can tap into our extensive international network of sector specialists, managers, supervisory directors and advisors. AAC takes a seat on the Supervisory Board (the Netherlands) or the Board of Directors (Belgium).
The basis for a partnership is smooth mutual communication, integrity and trust. This includes sharing both good and bad news quickly and handling deviations from the original plan professionally.
We expend effort to ensure that our investments make a positive contribution to society. To this end, we encourage our companies to proactively respond to environmental, climate and commodity challenges, to comply with all regulations and to be a reliable employer.
We have therefore developed an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) policy. In 2013, AAC was the first Benelux mid-market private equity fund to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment to promote responsible investment and promote transparency in the private equity and financial industries. We report annually about our activities. You can find our ESG policy here.
Our goal is that, by the end of our investment period, the company has become larger and stronger through sustainable growth and has a healthy economic future. Finding a new owner that is able to maintain the continued growth is of paramount importance. In consultation with management, we will only proceed to an exit when everything is well arranged. We are flexible with regards to timing: in our experience this is usually after 4 to 7 years.