Operational Excellence Awards 2013: The Winners

3i, Terra Firma and KPS lead the charge of operators in PEI's 2013 Operational Excellence Awards - along with nine others, including second-time winners Headland Capital and Nordic Capital.

When it comes to adding value operationally, lots of private equity firms have been talking the talk in recent years, but who can walk the walk? Private Equity International launched its inaugural Operational Excellence Awards in 2012 to answer that very question. 


Large-cap: 3i Group, Mold Masters
Upper mid: KPS Capital Partners, HHI
Lower mid: Castanea Partners, Urban Decay
Small-cap: The Riverside Company, Wildlife International


Large-cap: Headland Capital, Bosideng
Upper mid: CVC, Infastech
Lower mid: Unison, Akindo Sushiro
Small cap: Mekong Capital, Mobile World


Large-cap: Terra Firma, Deutsche Annington
Upper mid: Nordic Capital, Permobil
Lower mid: Gilde Equity Management, Salad Signature
Small-cap:  Sovereign Capital, World Class Learning

Now in their second year, these awards are intended to recognise and highlight the achievements of the industry's best-in-class operators.  Entries were once again invited from three regions – Americas, Asia and EMEA. We then divided them up into three distinct size categories, according to the value of the original deal – large cap (greater than $500 million), mid-cap ($50 million to $500 million)and small-cap (less than $50 million).

However, the response was so overwhelming in the mid-cap category that we subsequently decided to split that category into two – lower mid-market and upper mid-market. From the four groups, 36 finalists emerged. Picking the 12 winners was no easy task for PEI’s three regional panels of industry experts, but tough decisions were made and votes were cast. 

When the dust settled, two firms that won awards in last year’s competition took home prizes once again: Headland Capital in the large-cap category in Asia and Nordic Capital in upper mid-cap category EMEA. The rest are first time winners.

In the Americas, 3i won the large-cap category for its investment in moldings company Mold Masters, which saw revenues grow 60 percent under the firm’s ownership. In the EMEA region, the large-cap category went to Terra Firma for its investment in residential landlord Deutsche Annington, which grew from a set of 10 German Federal Rail housing portfolios into the largest privately owned residential landlord in Germany.

Judges for this year’s awards included David Currie, former chief executive officer of SL Capital Partners; Wai Kay Eik of of PwC’s Private Equity Transaction Services group;the University of Chicago's Steve Kaplan; Tim Kelly of Adams Street Partners and Conor Kehoe of McKinsey’s European private equity practice.

You can read full write-ups of all the winning investments in our Operational Excellence Special 2013.

PEI will also be hosting its third annual Operating Partners Forum in New York on 6-7 November; this will bring together a roster of senior industry figures, including Anthony Ecock, general partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe; Matthew J. Espe, chief executive officer of Armstrong World Industries; and Doron Grosman, operating partner of Court Square Capital Partners.