Example of a successful business transfer: Gauvin Automobiles

Since 2011, BPCE L’Observatoire has been monitoring the company sale/transfer situation in France. If, in the Observatory’s latest report, our research highlights the fact that the number of companies sold in France is falling, the fact remains that nearly 51,000 takeovers took place in France in 2016. To illustrate these results, we met with an entrepreneur who took over an SME and received support for his operation from the financial engineering experts at Banque Populaire.

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The acquisition of Gauvin Automobiles

Emmanuel Juglair, 47, had been wanting to take over a company for some time and become “master of his own destiny.” When Gauvin Automobiles, a company located in Niort, was recommended by Banque Populaire, it corresponded perfectly to his principal criteria: a trading activity (new and second-hand cars) that corresponded to his own expertise, a family business with 25 employees and boasting a strong local reputation based in the Niort region, a part of France particularly appreciated by Emmanuel Juglair.

Background details provided by BPCE L’Observatoire  

The Deux-Sèvres département holds a median position among French départements with regard to company sales/transfers with a disposal rate of more than 5%.

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An almost ‘family’ transfer

Ten months elapsed between the time Banque Populaire presented Emmanuel Juglair with the idea of taking over the company and the time of signing. Since the sellers were the founder’s children, Emmanuel immediately understood how important the sale of the company was for the family, something that corresponded to his own way of seeing things: the transfer of an entrepreneurial heritage rather than the simple investment of his capital. In fact, one of the sellers continues to work alongside him within Gauvin Automobiles.

Background details provided by BPCE L’Observatoire

Intra-family transmission is the only form of business transfer that has been successful in recent years, with an increase in their numbers in 2016. It has other virtues such as maintaining activities in more rural areas and an above-average survival rate.

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Company sales/transfers: a question of people

Fifteen months after the takeover, Emmanuel is a happy entrepreneur because his results have exceeded what he anticipated in his business plan, the original team is still working for the company, and he is investing to digitalize his operations, making it more attractive to the younger generations. He is also an entrepreneur proud to respect the history of the founders.

Emmanuel Juglair’s conclusion speaks for itself: “Taking over a company is not merely a question of technique or business plan; it’s also a question of people and, for my part, a meeting with a banker and a family looking to sell their company.”

Background details provided by BPCE L’Observatoire

The example of Gauvin Automobiles is a typical example of a fine operation, well supported by experts. At the head of the company is a manager under the age of 50 who invests in the firm to make it more dynamic and attractive while protecting jobs. In contrast to this, the work of BPCE L’Observatoire has repeatedly shown that companies whose managers are getting older adopt under-investment strategies, often leading to a slowdown in their growth. This is a key issue for the future competitiveness of French companies.