We interviewed Gianluca Henny, the new Merger & Acquisition Manager at SAPA. He is an important figure for the company’s growth and someone who can have an impact on you as well, which is why…
While I’m writing this article to introduce you to SAPA’s new manager, a slow smile works its way across my face.
That’s because a new highly skilled person joined SAPA, which makes me proud, and also, I can’t help thinking how it all started.
It’s like I can relive the whole company life: when my father founded it, the obstacles he had to overcome and how despite this, the company has grown even more.
Growth: this is the keyword in recent years. You hear it everywhere, don’t you?
Well, it’s a fundamental word for me and for all of us.
SAPA’s growth has had important milestones: the most recent has been the acquisition of Brigoni group in July 2017.
Nowadays, having a manager focusing on growth is another tangible display of our intentions.
Specializing more and more in all-in-one processes, in our One-Shot method that reduces component’s weight and cost.
Moreover, whenever a new figure becomes part of SAPA, I cannot help but think of my father’s words…
“A company is a social good, and it’s man who makes the difference”
With these words committed to memory, I meet in his office Gianluca Henny – new Merger & Acquisition manager at SAPA – the person I want to introduce you today.
An important person for us, but for you as well.
The growth of an industrial reality closely affects customers and investors, who can increasingly count on stable realities, with foundations well anchored in the ground and ready to soar ever higher.
Growth and continuous improvement are a journey to be made together.
Here is the interview carried out for you by our communication team.
Who are you and which are your education and career records so far?
“Gianluca Henny, born in 1984, classical high school and Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Bocconi University, with a focus on general management.
As part of my studies, I did some in-depth exams on mergers and acquisitions, as well as on family business strategy. The course was held by Guido Corbetta, one of the international leading experts in the family business field.
After five years at Bocconi, I took a curricular internship at Milano Finanza, where I was involved in financial journalism. Among the various articles with my byline, there was one about Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
After this experience, which allowed me to follow up on the humanistic path of my high school years, but limited in time, I sent out my resume around. The specific period wasn’t that great; it took me a while to find something that I liked. I found a good opportunity at a Swiss business bank; I was hired in the corporate finance division.
In the years 2008 – 2009, at the beginning of the crisis, corporate finance mainly consisted of mergers and acquisitions. Later, following the intensification of the crisis, “corporate finance” started including all extraordinary financial transactions affecting the corporate life: mergers, acquisitions, debt restructuring, scissions, etc.
During the first 4 years of my professional career, I dealt with Italian and foreign companies, small and mid-cap, from 10 to 300 million in turnover. For the most part, I have assisted industrial groups. Only occasionally, my clients would be in financial services and real estate.
Following the experience in Banca Arner, I moved to Global Strategy, a company founded in early 2006 as a purely strategic firm. It was indeed a strategic consulting boutique. Over the years, Global Strategy wanted to expand its range of services by offering assistance in the corporate finance field as well, and therefore recruited specialized resources, including me.
I joined the company as Senior Analyst, and later I became Manager, then Project Manager. From 2013 to September 2017 I handled all types of projects (M & A, Debt Restructuring, etc.). In particular, we have assisted, and Global Strategy continues to assist, both private equity funds and industrial family companies with their M & A operations.
From October 2017 I joined SAPA, as an “M & A Manager”.
Why did you decide to work for a company like SAPA?
“The transition from consulting to working for a company as a direct employee was something that interested and intrigued me. Up to that point, I had always been a consultant (for over 9 years).
Being a consultant is fascinating and challenging because one gets to follow several ambitious projects simultaneously, on different sectors. What I probably lacked though was the opportunity to see and “enjoy” success, for example of an acquisition, even after the closure of the operation.
When consulting, that rarely happens: once an operation is closed, you move on to another project and a different customer.
At this stage of my career, I am interested in fully managing acquisitions and therefore dealing also with the post-acquisition integration phase. When the opportunity to do it with SAPA arisen, I caught it on the fly.
The company is growing rapidly, poses interesting challenges and its objectives are consistent with my professional goals. The fact that is based near Naples, and I’m Neapolitan, is the icing on the cake.
They unknowingly made me come back home. When I applied for the position of M & A Manager the location was undisclosed. I did not know I was applying for a job for a company based in the province of Naples. “
What does a M & A Manager do?
“A M & A Manager looks for potential companies to “buy” and then manages the whole acquisition process.
Specifically, his duty is to study the automotive market, analyse which / how many players are operating and what are their characteristics and business models. He has to understand the competition and look for potential allies in order to set up a bigger and stronger group, who can step forward on the market in an ever more structured way.
The M & A Manager in SAPA has a somewhat larger role because it is a fast-growing family business and requires support for everything that concerns its extraordinary finance.
I consider myself a kind of Corporate Finance Manager, beyond the objective of mergers and acquisitions at SAPA, in fact I am in charge of evaluating all the possible extraordinary operations affecting the company, such as joint ventures, foreign branches launch, potential third-party investments.
My role is not obvious in companies like SAPA, especially in Italy where the corporate fabric is mainly composed by small and medium-sized companies. It is an innovation in terms of financial vision.
To date, the M & A Manager function is not common in the sector in which SAPA operates.
SAPA took up the challenge of internalising it, investing, dedicating time and resources to complete its acquisitions in the best way possible. A similar function is typically present in the context of large multinational companies (the so-called multibillion companies) which can be defined as “serial acquirers” in the M & A field”.
What will your tasks be in the near future?
“My personal goal is to strengthen SAPA’s presence abroad by the end of 2018 in order to diversify customer and country risks. I am interested in expanding the customer base and the export turnover quota.
We will evaluate the potential for acquisitions in Europe.
Why Europe and not USA? Because it is easier to manage a geographically close acquisition first, and then look overseas. Let us not forget that Europe, in terms of car production, has nothing to envy to the rest of the world. “
What are the prospects for SAPA in M & A over the coming years?
“The idea is to replicate the strategy carried out by our current/prospective customers: over the years car makers have become increasingly global, they set up an increasing number of plants all over the world and for this reason they need to rely on accountable, and above all, more and more global suppliers.
How does one become global? Either growing organically, by opening plants around the world, or inorganically, by making acquisitions.
SAPA has grown organically in Poland, by opening a production plant, but in the future, it could also grow inorganically by making acquisitions.
In the short term, the target is Europe and in particular Germany, France and Spain.
In the medium to long-term, overseas acquisitions and joint ventures will be considered (… one step at a time). United States and Asia. We will have to see how the downstream market will evolve, whether there will be further concentration activities among the international carmakers. “
Why and in what way are you a key figure for our customers?
“SAPA has decided to invest in a resource who is dedicated to acquisitions. This indicates that the company wants to grow further, and wants to do it on a coordinated and on-going basis. Growth is always a challenge, adding know-how and bringing a wealth of new experiences on board; this should translate into a continuous improvement of the firm structure.
By making acquisitions we will be able to better serve our current and future customers in other countries, thanks to the improvement of our geographical presence and the widening of our product range.
Customer needs global suppliers. It is important that the supply quality is guaranteed and that the supplier is able to follow the customer development.
The market of large car manufacturers over time has been concentrating, through various acquisitions and mergers. The same must happen to T1 suppliers. In order to strategically supply giants with hundreds of billions of turnover, a company must opt for dimensional jumps.
SAPA wants to expand its geographical diversification, in terms of turnover and production footprint as well. The acquisitions/joint ventures will lead to new customers, but also allow cross-selling activities. They will enhance supplies by serving current customers’ foreign plants (including non-EU), so far served on a local/geographical proximity level.
An in-house M & A Manager can take advantage of opportunities that may happen, but also strategically design an action plan in order to identify the best acquisitions to be achieved. “