We want everyone who works at the companies we own to be rewarded for their contribution to making them more successful. Sharing profits with them when we exit shows employees that they are valued and that their efforts have been recognized.”
EMPLOYEES FROM 37 EXITED PORTFOLIO COMPANIES HAVE BENEFITED FROM THIS ARDIAN PROFIT‑SHARING SCHEMES, REPRESENTING ONE TO SIX MONTHS OF SALARY PER EMPLOYEE
Ardian has been practicing profit sharing for 14 years. We organized our first distribution in 2008 when we exited Photonis, a designer and manufacturer of electro‑optical components and high-precision sensors. Since then, we have paid profit-share bonuses to more than 28,000 employees at 37 portfolio companies from our sale proceeds, representing between one and six months’ salary for each employee.
Private investment is not an exercise in financial engineering, but relies for its success on concerted action to improve companies’ performance and increase their capacity to grow.
Our commitment to profit sharing is based on our belief that if we are to successfully transform the performance of the companies we own, we will need active participation from everyone who works for them. So it makes sense to us that everyone who has contributed to a successful investment should receive a share of the gains.
And from Ardian’s perspective as a private investment house, we see our commitment to reward portfolio company employees through profit sharing – and by other means such as share ownership schemes, for example – as an important element of our license to operate.
We formalized our approach in Ardian’s Profit-Sharing Charter, which we drew up in 2008 and have updated several times since then. Today, the scheme is open to companies in our Buyout, Expansion, Infrastructure, Co-Investment and Growth portfolios. For companies where Ardian has a majority shareholding, redistributions at exit are triggered when fund performance targets are met.
We also advocate long-term mechanisms such as incentive schemes or employee shareholding schemes, which have now been introduced in more than 80% of the companies in our Buyout, Expansion and Infrastructure portfolios, compared with a third in 2019.
Profit sharing helps us to deliver positive social outcomes in line with our sustainability commitments and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 10, which seeks to reduce inequality. These schemes reward our portfolio company employees for their efforts and are an important expression of Ardian’s culture and values.
Receiving the extra two months’ salary really opened people’s eyes to how well we were looked after by Solina and Ardian during the tough times as well as the good ones. It made every single person feel valued. They all felt part of the team.”
Ardian Buyout acquired Solina in 2016 and over the following five years transformed the company’s profile through investment in organic growth and nine bolt-on acquisitions. These transactions expanded Solina’s international footprint, adding operations in the UK, Canada, Germany, Romania and Spain, increased its production sites from 10 to 27 and took it into new market segments including food service and quick service restaurants.
Under the leadership of Anthony Francheterre, who became CEO in 2019, Solina worked with Ardian to implement a more ambitious sustainability strategy that included appointing a Head of Sustainability to the Executive Committee. The company’s sustainability performance improved rapidly.
Having scored 52% in Ardian’s 2017 annual sustainability review, Solina achieved 75% in 2020, with a high ranking amongst its peer group, putting it in the Advanced category, the best-in-class rank under Ardian’s scoring system.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Solina continued to invest in innovation and supported subsidiaries, including Essential Cuisine in the UK, that served restaurant and food service clients. Essential Cuisine developed new products during the pandemic for the fast-growing recipe box market, and ultimately met all its financial targets.
By the time Ardian Buyout exited the company in 2021, Solina’s revenues had grown by 68% and its EBITDA had almost doubled. At exit, and with the company’s agreement, Ardian paid an extra two months’ salary to more than 94% of Solina’s employees as a profit share bonus, acknowledging their contribution to the successful transformation of the company under Ardian’s ownership
Leading European manufacturer of ingredient and seasoning blends for the food industry.