OpEx Awards: EMEA overview

Geographic expansion was central to the strategies of all three winners.

Our winners in EMEA – EQT Partners for its work with AutoStore, IK Investment Partners for Transnorm and Nordic Capital for AniCura – won big by growing big. While the first two focus on warehouse automation, AniCura cornered the market in veterinary care.

Geographic expansion was central to the strategies of all three companies. AutoStore entered eight new geographies and increased its focus on the US, other European nations and Japan. Transnorm also looked across oceans, developing its footprint in North America and Asia. And AniCura expanded from three countries in Scandinavia to 11 across Europe.

Awards judge Pablo Echart describes AniCura’s success as an “amazing pan-European platform build-up leveraging the scale while benefiting from the local customer loyalty”. Its eventual sale was the largest-ever veterinary deal in Europe, which is no mean feat considering it consisted of only 50 clinics when Nordic Capital entered. AutoStore and Transnorm have more in common with each other than being in the business of automation. Both expanded geographically, both invested heavily in R&D, both succeeded by developing new products and both achieved impressive money multiples at exit.

Echart notes that Transnorm, in particular, thrived by expanding into high-growth areas and leveraging synergetic acquisitions. Fellow judge Antoon Schneider was particularly impressed by the work of EQT’s in-house digital team with AutoStore.

He says: “It is a good example of a successful investment by EQT as part of pursuing a theme of investing in digital opportunities. EQT also leveraged its digital capabilities to help the company develop after acquisition, stepping up digital marketing, setting up e-commerce advisory boards and by increasing R&D to develop the next generation of warehouse technology.”

For the full list of winners, click here.

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