Member of the LACROIX Group Board of Directors since 2008, Pierre Tiers has been involved in developing companies and their financing since very early on. After having managed three private equity structures, he is now pursuing his activities by managing companies. He gives us his view on the transformation of LACROIX Group over the last 5 years.
PRO.POSITIONS Managing Director, President of NOVAPLUS and Member of the LACROIX Group Board of Directors
LACROIX Group’s identity can be traced to two concepts: “mid-size company” and “family-owned”.
“Mid-size company” because LACROIX Group has grown to a significant size, joining the community of mid-size companies – called “ETI” in France. Today, the company is a solid, diversified structure and a leader in certain markets.
“Family-owned” because the share capital is held by the Bedouin family. Vincent and Nicolas Bedouin are very respectful of this characteristic and seek to maintain this special character, which has the merit for me of giving a long-term vision to the Group’s management choices: choices that are certainly bold but always marked by realism and prudence, in order to respect the Group’s autonomy and independence.
LACROIX Group was organised around 3 business lines… which each kept to itself! Each one privileged its autonomy and followed its own path in its respective field of expertise: remote management for LACROIX Environment, signalling for LACROIX City and electronics which was the “big piece”. Besides the absence of links between the lines, the tempos were also very different: electronics had strong growth, while signalling was suffering extensively due to a disorganised market and remote management, while offering good profitability, was not yet experiencing growth strictly speaking, being positioned only on the water market and in France for the most part.
But the strength of LACROIX Group at that time lay in the dynamic created by Vincent and Nicolas Bedouin: balancing audacity and realism, they were able to breathe new life into the Group. For example, the pertinent choice to buy new companies, often start-ups which “rocked the boat” at LACROIX Group, brought a dynamic and innovative approach to developing products and services.
It’s a complex question! The Group’s strength was further enhanced by the innovative acquisitions that were made, through the takeover of companies in various fields: the acquisition of SAE-IT Systems enabled LACROIX Environment to consolidate its offer with heating in addition to water, for example. The acquisition of Smartnodes for LACROIX City has enabled the company to address the international market with a high level of expertise. More recently, the acquisition of eSoftThings has clearly strengthened LACROIX Group’s positioning in the IoT field.
Today, the intimate collaboration that the three business units manage to achieve together is a strength for the company. Thus, LACROIX Electronics can enrich LACROIX Environment, while the latter can be a service advisor for LACROIX City etc.
For me, LACROIX Group will be a mid-size company of the future if it keeps its identity as a family business because it is a characteristic that is not at all outdated, especially at this time of health and economic crisis. In fact, we realise that the companies doing the best in terms of coping with these major difficulties are those that have significant equity capital and have made reasonable choices, which does not detract from the ambition for development. Incidentally, LACROIX Group is proof that it is possible to be both sensible and ambitious!
LACROIX Group’s international vision, along with participation in the electronics industry ecosystem, is a strength for the company: SYMBIOSE is a perfect illustration of this success. Collaboration with multiple players, from Bpifrance to Microsoft and the region, has made it possible to transform a growth investment into a standard-bearer for the entire industry.
Great challenges await LACROIX Group over the next five to ten years: development on the American continent is one of them, as well as the Smart City, via embedded electronics for the city and mobility. In this respect, LACROIX Group making good progress on its vision: early significant advances have already been made.