April 5, 2022
Fifty Years of M&A Excellence
Five decades ago, Dr Roland Schucht started a mid-market corporate financial advisory services firm. His aim from day one was to grow and go global. Thus, in 1972, Translink had its humble beginnings. From inception, it was one of the first ‘small-to-mid-cap’ M&A firms to go cross-border. This pioneering spirit has continued to be a guiding star, along with a long-standing commitment to sharing – investments and expertise. That’s led Translink to be the world-leading, global group it is today, 50 years on.
The man, the myth, the legend
Roland, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, was the legend behind the legacy. A man with a marketing background and an innate sense of what sells. Described as ‘tough’, he was also renowned for his language fluency (he spoke four languages), and teaching abilities. José Maria Banús, a managing partner at Translink in Spain and one of the early ‘joiners’, described Translink as the ‘school of M&A’. A place where someone could learn the ‘ins and outs’ of successful dealmaking seamlessly and fast.
Roland brought a best practice approach to the mid-market, elevating service delivery with an unprecedented focus on quality. He embodied a spirit of entrepreneurship and understood the psychology and complexities of family-run firms.
His greatest legacy may have been his ability to bring his team together with a common culture, shared values, and a united vision. He had a way of pushing people to aspire to a greater purpose. This spirit lives on, deeply embedded in the Translink DNA.
Worldwide before the web
From day one, Roland and the team were aiming to ‘grow global’ fast. Dealmaking in the 70s was an entirely different ballgame. Back in those days, the fax machine hadn’t even been invented. The team had to order international calls to connect with overseas clients – hard to imagine in the current world of pervasive video calls.
Later, Roland also spent a lot of time on Concorde (until it was grounded in 2003) as Translink was one of just a handful of companies doing Europe-US deals at the time.
The founding philosophy
Translink has always been owner-managed, which means the team is committed for the long term. People stay. Sometimes for the entirety of their careers. It also means the business was run as one company from the start. That’s entrenched collaboration as a key part of the culture. The team believes that this is the secret to surviving and thriving for 50 years. The group is also built on a bottom-up structure. The teams on the ground are responsible for driving business.
Importantly, Roland built the business to focus on the buy- and sell-side right from the start. Today, Translink has world-leading competence in both domains. Roland’s vision was to bolster the buy-side capability by having exceptional on-the-ground, deep cultural understanding in myriad local territories. This strategy paid off. Translink’s local market knowledge has been a game-changer in its buy-side business dealings ever since.
Today Translink International AG, the coordinating central entity based in Switzerland, is co-owned by each Translink country’s offices. This unique ownership model distinguishes Translink from its competitors.
Translink around the world
Translink now operates in 35+ countries across 6 continents. It’s the group’s extensive footprint that gives it its edge. It has strong, personal relationships in nearly every territory.
Translink’s global expansion over the decades:
- 3rd decade: France and Spain offices joined Translink.
- 4th decade: Germany, Denmark, Finland, Latam, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, and UK-IMA offices joined Translink.
- 5th decade: Italy, Australia, Belgium, China, Japan, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, UK-BHP and the US-Dinan offices joined Translink.
We get the deal done
Since the beginning, Translink aimed high. In 1999, Roland made EUR 10 million in commission off the EUR one billion sale of Spar to Intermarché – the group’s biggest deal to date.
Translink has closed deals across the globe in a multitude of sectors. Some of these include:
- 2006: Denmark / Germany offices: Pepperl+Fuchs acquired OJ electronics.
- 2010: France/ Switzerland offices: Paprec acquired Lottner.
- 2011: The Netherlands / UK offices: Barentz (Netherlands) acquisition of Forum Products (UK). Translink gained important ground in the local UK market.
- 2012: Germany/ Brazil offices: Otto Group acquired Posthaus.
- 2014: Sweden office: Acquisition of Lusomedicamenta Sociedade Técnica Farmacêutica by Recipharm. Deal worth nearly EUR 140 million.
- 2014: Italy/ South Korea offices: Facilitated the 100% acquisition of Inox Tech Spa by to SeAH Steel. Deal worth EUR 100 million.
- 2018: Norway office: Facilitated AF Gruppen in acquiring 70% of shares in Helgesen Tekniske Bygg AS (HTB). Deal worth EUR 40 million.
- 2018: Poland office: Facilitated the sale of Unitop to Bounty Brands.
- 2018: Netherlands / Turkey offices: Sale of Turkey’s number one tea brand Ofcay to JDE Coffee. Deal worth more than EUR 50 million.
- 2018: South African office: Facilitated the acquisition of Oro Agri SECZ by Omnia Ltd. Deal worth $100 million.
- 2019: Belgium/ South Africa offices: Advised sale by Energipole Group of DCLM to Veolia. Deal worth: EUR 24 million.
- 2019: China office: Assisted Kiwa to acquire 70% controlling interest in BCC. (Translink then helped Kiwa acquire the remaining interest in 2022).
- 2020: Germany / Spain offices: Faciliated Fielmann AG in acquiring 80% stake in Óptica del Penedés (Óptica Universitaria). Deal worth EUR 250 million.
- 2020: US Dinan office: Facilitated the acquisition of Superior Pump by Pedrollo Group.
- 2021: China office: Advised Texpo on its 100% sale to Allmed Medical Products. Deal worth EUR 22.5 million.
- 2021: Denmark / UK offices: Advised Diploma PLC in the 100% acquisition of Simonsen & Weel.
- 2021: Denmark office: Advised Niras in the acquisition of AlfaNordic, with the final price amounting to 30% higher than its first offer.
- 2021: UK-BHP office: The sale of The Label Makers to Printeos.
- 2022: France office: Acquisition of UNIPEX by Barentz. This is Translink France’s largest cross-border transaction to date.
The secret to lasting five decades
– Tero Nummenpää, chairman of Translink International and managing partner, Translink Finland: “Our organisation has been fine-tuned to do cross-border mid-market deals. Few other organisations get that right.”
– David Strempel, vice chairman of Translink International and managing partner, Translink Italy: “The team meets daily. It’s the frequency of dealing with each other that makes everything feel easy. The whole group meets at least once a year.”
– Andreas Hüchting, board member of Translink International and managing partner, Translink Germany: “We have simple and strict rules that are based on trust and integrity. We always work together. In terms of our approach to close partnerships, nothing has changed over the years.”
The next 50 years
David Strempel: “Our ‘secret sauce’ for international M&A will live on with the people we entrust it to. The teams we’ve built have the right quality and calibre to continue the Translink legacy.”
The Translink team act as stewards that oversee every aspect of the deal, including navigating the complex emotions that can often accompany players in the process.
Translink Corporate Finance gets the deal done by building connections that stand the test of time.