Mannai to acquire Gfi Informatique

Vincent Rouaix2The Mannai consortium is to acquire a 51% stake in Gfi Informatique. How did the success of the French IT services company wow the Qatari investment fund? Here’s what Vincent Rouaix, Chairman and CEO of Gfi Informatique, had to say.

 

The appeal of a regional leader

“Our strategy has always been clear: become a regional leader in IT services,” said Vincent Rouaix, who became CEO of Gfi Informatique in 2009, two years after Apax Partners’ investment. “We firmly believed that consolidation was possible at the centre, between international players and niche companies.” In 2011, Gfi Informatique began accelerating its growth through acquisitions, carrying out 13 build-ups in the subsequent five years. “Today, our acquisitions weigh in at €250 million in revenue.” What are the results of this strategy? The French IT services company has enjoyed a run of uninterrupted growth spanning 18 quarters. “Our good results coupled with our strategic positioning appealed to Mannai, which approached us in May 2015.”

 

The strategic refocus has paid off

Casting has mind back to 2008, when the Group was shaken by governance conflicts and the economic crisis, just months after Apax Partners’ investment, Vincent Rouaix remembers his early days at the helm of Gfi Informatique as being eventful, to say the least. “In those difficult times, Apax Partners assured us of its loyalty and confidence.” He also mentions having benefitted from specific knowledge of the IT services market. “Not all private equity funds would have been such a good fit. Apax was a sparring partner that gave us great support as we transformed our business model, recast our geographic footprint and overhauled our management. It also brought its expertise in build-ups.” » Lastly, Vincent Rouaix is happy with the relationship forged with Gilles Rigal – who oversaw the investment at Apax Partners – and with the Apax Partners team. “I like people who do what they say and say what they do, and that definitely applies to the Apax teams.”

 

“Mannai, a long-term shareholder”

Mannai’s investment will provide support for a 2015-2018 strategic plan aimed at enabling Gfi Informatique to reach €1 billion in revenue. “Mannai will provide strong shareholder support, helping accelerate our expansion in Southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East,” says Vincent Rouaix.

 

A word from Gilles Rigal, Partner at Apax Partners

“We are proud of what we have achieved over the last eight years alongside IT services company Gfi, and its Chairman Vincent Rouaix in particular. Vincent’s strategic vision has made Gfi Informatique a key regional player. We welcome the agreement with Mannai, which is a win for all stakeholders. It is a professional consortium bringing a true industrial project, and will support Gfi Informatique as it rolls out its platform in Europe and expands into new international markets.”

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