The top private equity fund managers for operational excellence as selected by PEI are Europe’s EQT Partners, which won an Operational Excellence trophy for its investment in German cable group KBW.
PEI says that EQT transformed KBW from a technology-focused utility style company to a mass-market, consumer-focused business with top quality products and service, growing revenues by 18 percent annually.
American Industrial Partners investment in Brooks Instrument was the winner in the Americas; In Asia Headland Capital Partners was recognized for its achievement with Yonghui Superstores. Its minority stake was sufficient to drive Yonghui’s expansion from 58 stores in 2007 to 204 in 2011.
The awards are new and were launched as a result of a realization in the industry that private equity needs to “return to its roots” and be a value added partner for companies and management teams, to transform businesses and influence growth trajectories by providing both capital and expertise.
Returns are driven not by macro-plays but by real strategic and operational improvements in companies. They come as PE experiences several ongoing trends, including internationalization, difficult debt and fundraising environments, and the fact that returns-producing strategies that worked for a time do not anymore.
The latter trend is one that PEI magazine has picked up on by adding the new award to its lineup of awards that recognize industry excellence. It has added an award for operational excellence for PE fund managers that demonstrate an ability to influence portfolio companies to become better businesses, and a new event to back it up.
Private equity is coming out the other side of the financial crisis with a greater focus on earning returns by increasing the value of portfolio companies through operational improvement, says PEI. The awards, like the PE industry, were global in scope. Judges for EMEA included Professor Eli Talmor, of the Coller Institute of Private Equity; Thomas Pütter, chairman of Ancora Finance Group; and Sir Edmund Truell, founder, Pension Corporation.
For the Americas, judges included Jim Ilaria of Alvarez & Marsal; David Turner, head of PE at Guardian Life; and University of Chicago’s Steve Kaplan. In Asia, judges included Vinit Bhatia, acting head of Bain & Company’s private equity practice in Asia; Paul Mitchell, KPMG partner; and Jie Gong, executive director at Morgan Stanley AIP. (Image Source: PEI)