Operational Excellence Award winners 2016

KKR and Permira among those named in Private Equity International’s annual celebration of the industry’s best value creation stories.

Private Equity International is delighted to announce the winners of the Operational Excellence Awards 2016, recognising those firms that have done the most to build better companies through their period of ownership.

Now in their fifth year, the awards celebrate the best stories of private equity value creation from around the globe. Winners this year range from KKR’s transformative work in helping Dutch tyremaker Alliance Tire Group double its market share in just three years to Palamon Capital Partner’s stunning expansion of UK wealth advisor Towry that brought 16 add-on acquisitions in 13 years. By exit in 2016, Towry’s AUM had grown to £9 billion, up from £250 million when Palamon first acquired the firm in 2003. “A remarkable case of the power of operational excellence and active private equity ownership,” said the judges.

Other winners included Actis, EQT Partners, the Riverside Company and Permira.

Here is the list in full (click on the names to read the winners’ stories):

Small cap:
Serent Capital  Optimal Blue
Lower mid-market:the Riverside Company  Eemax
Upper mid-market:KPS Capital Partners  Motor Coach Industries International
Large cap:Permira  Intelligrated

Small cap:
DRC Capital  PayDesign
Lower mid-market:Navis Capital Partners – Golden Foods Siam
Upper mid-market:NewQuest Capital Partners  China Hydroelectric Corporation
Large cap:Actis  Plateno

Small cap:Mediterrania Capital Partners  CEPRO
Lower mid-market: Palamon Capital Partners  Towry
Upper mid-market:EQT Partners  Atos Medical
Large cap:KKR  Alliance Tire Group

Entries were invited from three regions  Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa. To enter, private equity firms were asked to submit any investments either fully or partly realised since 1 June 2015 that they felt were a particularly good example of their ability to deliver operational value as owners.

Entrants had to provide specific details of the changes and the initiatives they had undertaken, from product development to acquisition activity, supply chain improvement and management enhancement.

They were also asked to provide tangible evidence of how these initiatives created value, whether that was in terms of topline sales growth, productivity or capacity building.

Entries were divided them into four categories, according to the deal’s entry price  large cap (greater than $500 million), upper mid-cap ($150 million-$500 million), lower mid-cap ($50 million-$150 million) and small cap (less than $50 million).

A distinguished panel of judges in each of the three regions were tasked with analysing the short-listed entries, debating their worth and reaching a consensus on which represented the best example of operational excellence in each size category.

Impressive exit numbers were only part of the criteria. The judges were also looking for genuinely transformative work that illustrated the ability of the private equity industry to add value to a portfolio company.

A hearty congratulation to all the winners but most of all a sincere thank you to all the GPs that entered in what the judges agreed was one of the toughest entry fields ever. “This year was far harder to judge than in the previous years,” said Miles Graham, managing partner at the Operating Partners Group.