A JOURNEY OF PROVEN EXPERTISE
Innovation. Not improvisation.
Our ability to deliver solutions that work comes from experience and understanding. These handpicked stories are just a sample of the many scenarios we sailed through in more than two decades of pioneering in finance.
When US investor JH Partners, a specialist in retail businesses, told us of their interest in luxury linen retailer Frette, this company was part of a failing fashion group. To protect our client from bankruptcy clawback risk, we structured the acquisition as a lease of the business with an option to purchase the business and the brand at a later date. The acquisition structure was novel to our client (more familiar with chapter 11), but we managed to bridge the knowledge gap and the transaction was successfully completed in two stages (the second involving a financing) over the course of one year.
JH Partners confirmed its trust in AdviCorp by asking that we assist them in approaching luxury lingerie producer, La Perla whose owners had rejected several approaches by international institutional investors. We understood the problem was the family’s fear of damage to the brand. We helped to bridge the narrative and, following the acquisition, also advised the new shareholder on how to restructure the company's debt.
When CMC di Ravenna, the civil engineering cooperative, filed for bankruptcy protection, US banks and insurance companies withdrew all credit lines from Di Fazio Industries, a US civil engineering company in which CMC and Cooperare S.p.A. jointly owned a 67% interest. This action effectively prevented the company from bidding for new business. AdviCorp had originally advised CMC on the acquisition of this company.
John Di Fazio, the minority shareholder reached out to us to seek help to better understand the situation and find a solution. We advised him to re-acquire a majority interest in the company from CMC. This would enable him to convince local financial institutions that CMC would not be able to withdraw capital from the Company while at the same time allow CMC to preserve the value of its remaining minority position. Following a complex negotiation with the two majority shareholders, CMC’s advisers and the commissioners an agreement was reached and the Di Fazio family reacquired majority control.
When CMC di Ravenna approached us it was at a crossroads in its debt position management. A significant portion of the company’s debt had a short-term maturity and it was facing a delay in the collection of invoices caused by certain disputes with a number of its clients. Consequently, they needed to strengthen their balance sheet. After multiple failed attempts, the management team ran out of options and the lending banks were starting to feel nervous about the company’s solidity. That’s when AdviCorp was asked to step in.
Following a review of the company’s key financial indicators and business plan, it was our view that issuing a high-yield bond would be the most suitable solution for the company. At the time this was considered an unorthodox move by management as the company and its shareholders had no previous experience with capital markets. We provided a detailed plan and worked in every single aspect of the operation before launching it, including making sure that the most suitable book runners, legal advisers, and other professionals were involved in the transactions.
Our clients understood the value of such a pioneering solution and aligned with our strategy, and CMC di Ravenna became the first cooperative company in Italy to issue a high-yield bond. The operation was a success, and three years later we were retained to advise on two further bond issues.
During the 2008 financial crisis, many family businesses in Italy that worked with international markets were badly affected by the swing in certain commodity prices. When Gruppo Martini approached us the Gruppo was in financial distress. The family shareholders who were running the Gruppo knew that they urgently needed to review their business model and financial structure. They knew it was going to be painful, as we would need not only to review the company’s business model but also to challenge every decision that made the Gruppo vulnerable to market and financial risk; however, they also knew that they had to go through these processes if they wanted to remain in business.
They agreed to our proposal and, following a nine-month complex process, we obtained the agreement of all providers of finance to confirm their credit lines to the Gruppo. They became solid again with a reshaped financial structure and the management more aware of the risks involved in their decisions. The Gruppo was able to transition from a family company to one with a more conventional corporate governance whilst retaining the values and culture that made the business a success. Following that first transaction, we have advised the company on a number of new financings and M&A mandates. Today we still assist Gruppo Martini with both its relationships with financial institutions and assessing and executing organic and M&A growth strategies.
Following a capital injection by private equity investors, Cremonini controlled food service company MARR S.p.A. initiated a consolidation strategy within the fragmented Italian foodservice market. Following a number of successful transactions engineered by AdviCorp, Cremonini’s shareholders entrusted us to approach and evaluate over 40 targets, initially on a no-names basis to avoid raising sellers’ value expectations. After shortlisting ten targets we completed five transactions over eighteen months.