MONTREAL, Aug. 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Astek announced today a new step towards achieving its development goals with the signing of a €200 million unitranche financing arranged by H.I.G. WhiteHorse as well as the participation of the management team in the capital structure, alongside the founder and other directors. The access to these new resources will support its external growth plan and targeted development policy.
As a pioneer in the distinct approach of combining engineering (outsourced R&D) and digital technologies (information systems), Astek has been assisting companies with their major technological challenges for 30 years. These businesses, which have become essential to effectively meeting the challenges of digital transformation for clients, are driving Astek’s growth momentum. Beyond its strong organic growth, the group realized six targeted acquisitions(*) over the past two years, strengthening its global geographical footprint, expertise and service offering.
An efficient financing system to support its Ambition 2024 strategic plan, which calls for strong growth
While maintaining a sustained and steady organic growth of over 10% per year, Astek will accelerate its development in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia and be a leading player in the consolidation of the sector in these continents.
The year 2020 saw the consolidation of more than €270 million in revenue. The group is targeting revenues of €360 million in 2021, intends to exceed the €500 million revenue milestone by 2024 and maintain an EBITDA margin of more than 10%, as per its Ambition 2024 strategic plan.
H.I.G. WhiteHorse is the arranger of this Unitranche issuance, an attractive, flexible and tailored financing structure to effectively support the development of Astek. AXA IM Alts will also participate in this Unitranche issuance alongside H.I.G. WhiteHorse.
This debt financing is combined with access to the capital structure for managers, alongside the founder and other directors.
H.I.G. WhiteHorse is the direct lending credit affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading global alternative investment firm with $45 billion in assets under management, which has been an active investor since its inception in 1993, acquiring over 300 companies and providing capital to many growth companies. The issuance of this unitranche funding is fully in line with H.I.G. WhiteHorse’s priorities to support growing companies as they seek to achieve their goals.
“Thanks to the confidence and investment of these two prestigious partners, Astek will continue to build upon its unparalleled momentum and reach its billion-dollar turnover target promptly, consolidating its position as a key player in Eastern Europe, Canada and France,” said Jean-Luc Bernard, Founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Astek.
”I would like to thank H.I.G. and AXA for their confidence in helping us reach this new milestone in the development of Astek. Our ambitions for 2024 and beyond are very strong, with a target of one billion euros in turnover. They demonstrate the relevance of our unique positioning in attractive markets. Based on the skills and commitment of our teams, we plan to keep up the momentum, driven by our ability to innovate and support our customers in their digitalisation efforts,” said Julien Gavaldon, Chief Executive Officer of Astek.
“Astek has grown significantly in recent years, including in 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis. Today, Astek is well positioned in a market with strong growth prospects, driven by an increasing need for digitalization among businesses and a fragmented market that continues to consolidate. We are excited to contribute to the future success of this group with our tailored financing,”
“We are very pleased to support Astek, which is most likely the last independent digital and IT services company of this size in France. Over the last few years, Astek has benefitted from significant growth based on solid market fundamentals in both France and internationally, a clear roadmap and a high-quality management team. We are thrilled to support Astek in this new chapter of its development and thereby contribute to the continuation of its ambitious growth plan,” said Charles Bourgeois, Principal, H.I.G. WhiteHorse Europe.
(*) Overview of recent acquisitions made by Astek
In February 2021, Astek expanded into Belgium and the Netherlands through the acquisition of Immune-IT, an IT services, testing and digital transformation specialist.
In December 2020, Astek acquired the Ineat group, present in France, China and Canada, specialized in digital transformation, user experience and e-commerce.
In November 2020, the merger with Meritek, one of the leaders in IT and digital transformation in the banking, insurance and transportation sectors in Quebec, allowed Astek to become a major player in Canada with more than 500 consultants.
Previously, in December 2019, Astek acquired Prosoft Lab and Core Services, bringing together more than 200 consultants specializing in IT, particularly in the banking sector, thus strengthening its leading position in the Polish market.
In July 2019, the merger with Intitek, a group of more than 800 people present in France, Canada, Spain and Poland, in the digital transformation, outsourced R&D and connected objects markets, enabled Astek to cross the €210 million turnover mark.
List of participating councils
Vulcain (M&A): Gauthier Baijot (Partner), Thierry Falque-Pierrotin (Partner), François-Emmanuel Hébert (Vice- President), Théo Dahan (Analyst), Quentin Passel (Analyst)
Indefi (VDD Strategy): David Toledano (Partner)
Eight Advisory (VDD Finance): Mathieu Morisot (Partner), Julie Vuarchex (Manager)
JP Weber (VDD social/fiscal Poland): Tomasz Bartoszek (Associate Partner), Tomasz Sadurski (Associate Partner)
Edge Avocats (legal advice): Claire Baufine-Ducrocq (Partner), Alison Dargon (Jurist)
Keels Avocats (fiscal advice): Laurent Partouche (Partner), Adélie Louvigné (Lawyer), Claire Jondot (Jurist)
Nabarro Béraud Avocats (legal advice on financing): Jonathan Nabarro (Partner), Marie Santunione (Lawyer)
For H.I.G. WhiteHorse and AXA IM Alts
H.I.G. WhiteHorse: Pascal Meysson, Charles Bourgeois, Romain Hernot
AXA IM Alts: Thierry Martet, Isabelle Landes, Ruben Oudjman
McDermott Will & Emery (legal advisor on financing): Pierre-Arnoux Mayoly (Partner), Shirin Deyhim (Lawyer)
Founded in France in 1988, Astek is a global player in engineering and technology consulting, present on five continents. With its expertise in many industrial and tertiary sectors, it supports its international clients in the intelligent deployment of their products and services, and in the implementation of their digital transformation.
Since its creation, the Group has based its development on a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, and on the support and skills development of its 5,000 employees who are committed every day to promoting a combination of digital technologies and complex systems engineering. Pro-forma of acquisitions, the Group plans to achieve a turnover of €360 million in 2021.