7 build-ups in 24 months: the secrets of Amplitude’s internationalisation

Olivier_Jallabert_2Brazil, Japan, USA: Amplitude is conquering the world. While it has only just carried out its IPO, the French leader in prostheses is thinking big, very big. Olivier Jallabert, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Amplitude, talks to us about his international build-up strategy.

“Our international build-up strategy has convinced shareholders”

Between 250 and 300 million euros. That’s what Amplitude is now worth, after its listing on Euronext in June – the biggest stock market flotation of a French medical/technology company since 2000. The secret of this success? For Olivier Jallabert, the build-up strategy developed in the last few years has been the key. “No doubt our acquisitions abroad played a critical role in the success of our IPO. Thanks to them, we were able to convince our shareholders and gain precious time,” he states. Because they have proved that the company’s model is replicable outside France, the various acquisitions of this SME were able to mobilise shareholders in record time. The company now has the financial resources to fulfil its international ambitions.

7 subsidiaries in 24 months

2012 marked the first build-up of Amplitude, which bought the Australian company Austofix. Since then, the company has made 6 other acquisitions, and now has subsidiaries in Brazil, the United States, Germany, Belgium, India, Australia, Switzerland and Japan. To establish a coherent strategy, Amplitude was able to rely on teams from Apax Partners, its shareholder. “At first, we identified around 50 targets. With its build-up experience, Apax Partners helped us in the screening and evaluation of these target companies. We kept 7 of them, which we acquired over 24 months.”

“Each acquisition required several months, or even years”

Legal and organisational problems, deal structure and negotiation, financial engineering: little by little Amplitude developed its own unique build-up process that it was then able to duplicate (by adapting it) in several different countries. Its steps? Screening, evaluation, benchmark. “Although things may seem to have gone very quickly, each acquisition in fact required several months, even years of preparation.” Furthermore, Olivier points out the importance of a well-calibrated execution rhythm, with regular updates between colleagues to see where things stand with different build-ups being executed at the same time.

“Above all else, a company is its people.”

“Above all else, a company is its people. A build-up cannot succeed without a well-conceived managerial plan.” Olivier tells us as well that it has not always been easy to expatriate teams, even by offering them attractive compensation or the promise of an exotic country like Australia. Not to mention the anxiety which such a transaction causes for those working on it. “Communicate and involve all staff very early on: to me, this is key.” In fact, according to Olivier, you need to explain as much as possible about your strategic intention, and involve the teams in the development of the takeover plan.

“Each build-up has been done in a market that we knew well”

“Each build-up has been done in a market that we knew well, in which we had been active for a number of years.” The CEO emphasises that this point is particularly important in the health sector, in light of the often very stringent standards in some countries. “For the United States and Japan, it has taken 2 years just to comply with national regulations”, he adds.

Explaining well, involving your teams, being supported by a competent investment fund and above all, knowing your market: for Olivier, these are the conditions conducive to successful international build-up.  A strategy which, in light of Amplitude’s exceptional results, seems a winning one…

Subscribe

Apax Talks

NEWSLETTER

Apax Talks is a digital magazine aimed at company managers. It presents growth levers for SMEs, with a focus on TMT, consumer, healthcare and services sectors.