Operational Excellence Awards 2014: The Winners

TPG, Headland and Exponent are among the firms to have successfully illustrated their value creation skills

Generating stellar returns purely through leverage? In this post-crisis world, many GPs and LPs will agree financial engineering on is no longer a viable option on its own. Many firms now emphasise their ability to create value by rolling up their sleeves and improving portfolio company performance. Which is where our Operational Excellence Awards come in.

Now in their third year, these awards are intended to recognise and highlight the achievements of the industry's best-in-class operators. Entries were 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), upper mid-market mid-cap ($150 million to $500 million), lower mid-market ($50 million to $150 million) and small-cap (less than $50 million).

Next, we convened a distinguished panel of judges in each of the three regions, who 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 categories.

For the third year in a row, Headland Capital Partners was among the winners, picking up the award for the lower mid-market category in Asia with its investment in The Executive Centre.

Success was also brewing for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which won the large cap category in Asia for its investment in Korean beer maker Oriental Brewery.

In the Americas, The Riverside Company came out on top in the lower-mid market category with is investment in education provider OnCourse Learning, while Catterton took the crown for the upper mid-market category for building value in homeware retailer Restoration Hardware.

TPG enjoyed a double triumph: it won the large-cap categories in both the US and Europe for its investments in IMS, a service provider for the healthcare sector, and Russian hypermarket Lenta.

UK-based Exponent meanwhile took the European upper mid-market category for its work with the Ambassador Theatre Group.

Judges for this year’s awards included Johan van de Steen, a senior operating partner at Strategic Value Partners, Josh Rauh, a finance professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, Michael Murphy, a managing director with AlixPartners, Thomas Pütter, chairman and chief executive of Ancora Finance Group and Survir Varma from Bain & Company.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners – and indeed, to all those firms who chose to share their impressive stories. We enjoyed reading all the remarkable case studies and are looking forward to seeing more inspiring investment stories next year.

The Winners (Click here for the full write up of PEI’s Operational Excellence Awards 2014)

District Equity – Ridgewood Technology Partners (small cap)
The Riverside Company – OnCourse Learning (lower mid-market)
Catterton Partners – Restoration Hardware (upper mid-market)
TPG – IMS (large cap)

Crescent Capital Partners – LifeHealthcare (small cap)
Headland Capital Partners – The Executive Centre (lower mid-market)
Pacific Equity Partners – Peter’s Ice Cream (upper mid-market)
Kolhberg Kravis Roberts – Oriental Brewery (large cap)

Privet Capital – Thermal Engineering (small cap)
H2 Equity Partners – JET Group (lower mid-market)
Exponent – Ambassador Theatre Group (upper mid-market)
TPG – Lenta (large cap)