OpEx Awards: Hall of Fame

As the OpEx Awards celebrate their 10th anniversary, we look back at the most prolific winners.

This year marks a decade of Private Equity International’s Operational Excellence Awards and Operational Excellence special report.

Back in October 2012, upon the launch of the OpEx Awards, former PEI editor James Taylor said: “At the beginning of this year, I wrote that operational value creation would be one of our big themes in 2012 – because we believed, and continue to believe, that it’s the industry’s best route both to outsized returns and reputational redemption. Now… we have our very first Operational Excellence supplement – and within it, the results of our first ever Operational Excellence Awards, which celebrate the best value creators in the business.”

Over the past decade, PEI has received hundreds of submissions for the awards as GPs sent in their best examples of value creation in action. Only a small fraction of these could be crowned winners. We have trawled back through the PEI archives to find out which firms have received the most accolades since the OpEx Awards were founded. This move proved to be prescient – effective value-creation strategies and the way in which managers apply their operational expertise during holding periods have only grown in importance in the years since the OpEx Awards launched.

Stockholm-headquartered investment manager EQT has achieved the most wins over the past 10 years. It is also the most prolific winner for its value-creation efforts in the EMEA region, which accounts for seven of its eight OpEx Awards wins. The firm was first recognised in 2012 for its investment in German cable network operator Kabel Baden-Württemberg and most recently in 2020 for its backing of Chinese pharmacy superstore chain LBX Pharmacy.

Two of 2021’s OpEx winners have also made it into the list of the most-recognised firms. Partners Group, which won the Americas large-cap category for PCI Pharma Services this year, has previously picked up accolades for its efforts driving growth in two Asia-Pacific and two EMEA-based companies.

Meanwhile, Blackstone won its fourth gong this year for its work with India’s Sona Comstar. The investment manager was also among the firms recognised in the first year the awards ran, achieving a win in the Asia-Pacific region for business process outsourcing company Intelenet Global Services and in the Americas for Graham Packaging, a consumer products packaging company.