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Data, Tech & Disease

The Device Managers

The Neuro Architects

NeuroTransData's mission to defeat diseases with data

A look at how Radix makes managing digital devices easy

What does neuroscience have to do with architecture? SpAce Arquitectura!

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WINTER 2020

INSTANT TRADE With traditional banks unable to meet up with the demand for instant cross-border payments, Euro Exim Bank has taken a bold approach to global trade, and it is paying off

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Editor's Notes WINTER 2020

Were our world economies in hibernation during 2019? Certainly, that’s what it feels like when figures revealed recently by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show a decrease in industrial activity and trade for the past 12 months. This was particularly evident when it came to machinery and equipment. But then, the sale of durable goods to households all fell too (especially cars).

Editor’s Notes

GLOBAL GROWTH: IS THE ONLY WAY REALLY UP?

Fingers point to the slowdown of advanced economies and China. But they weren’t the only ones; emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil also suffered. The geopolitical tensions between Iran and the US don’t particularly bode well for the beginning of 2020 either. On the plus side though, the European Central Bank (ECB) and other big national banks in emerging markets cut interest rates. This, along with easier financial conditions for businesses helped ease commercial troubles. At the same time, the continued purchase of non-durable goods by manufacturing and other sectors meant rising wages and further job creation. As expected, this has buoyed confidence and encouraged household spending. The spending wasn’t enough though to help the retail sector, with several large UK stores suffering, including Mothercare, Bonmarche, luxury jeweller Links of London, Debenhams, Coast and Karen Millen. The US economy is expected to fall slightly in 2020, with GDP coming in at 2 per cent (compared to 2.2 per cent last year). Inflation across the pond is expected to average 1.9 per cent for this year. According to the World Bank growth in Europe and Japan is expected to come in at 1.4 per cent this year (down from 1.6 per cent last year). China is expected to drop from 6.1 per cent to 5.9 per cent, mainly thanks to that ongoing tariffs row with America. Only Russia’s economy is looking up, but then the Soviet powerhouse did have a bad year in 2019. Surely, from here on in, the only way is up… ALAN GOLDMAN EDITOR

EDITOR Alan Goldman EDITORIAL Jill Stevenson Sam Harrington

James Abbott Helen Smith

PRODUCTION MANAGER Steven Owen ART DIRECTOR Alistair Brown DESIGNER Alison Parsons

CONTRIBUTORS Juan Carlos Baumgartner Nadav Avni

Stephen C. Glover Martin Bellin Carlo Izzo

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Vincent Klyn David Jones Alan Silver Robert Fitzpatrick

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WINTER 2020 | 5


Contents WINTER 2020

14 18 24 38

Inside

WINTER 2020

NEWS GLOBAL BUSINESS A round-up of the big business stories hitting the headlines

9

OPINION Has the world economy reached peak growth? 14 Financial markets Iran' delusion

16

A data revolution for all

18

M&A REVIEW Global Review 2020

20

COVER STORY Euro Exim Bank and the power of disruption 6 | WINTER 2020

24


Contents WINTER 2020

40 49 54 58

20 MOST INNOVATIVE

GLOBAL CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARDS

COMPANIES TO WATCH

Recognising and rewarding the best performing

A celebration of the trailblazing organisations that

companies and their C-suite level executives across

are changing the game in their respective industries

global industry

52

BELLIN

54

The Kolbe Hotel Rome

58

and altering the corporate landscape

28

SpAce Arquitectura

30

Radix Technologies

34

ZyVersa Therapeutics

38

NeuroTransData

40

BOOK REVIEW The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

FEATURES 10 Biggest mistakes of management buyouts

by Shoshona Zuboff

62

42

DEAL DIARY Reporting on the latest transactional deals from across global industry

49 WINTER 2020 | 7


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News GLOBAL BUSINESS

Xerox secures financing for its proposed HP acquisition Xerox Holdings Corp has announced to the board of HP that it has secured $24 billion in financing for its proposed acquisition of the computer manufacturer. This was another audacious move by Xerox in its hostile takeover attempt of HP, following months of rejection. Xerox made an offer in November to purchase its much larger rival at $22 a share, valuing HP at $33.5 billion. The offer was rejected unanimously by HP’s board, as they said it undervalued the company. Besides the low-price offer, the pc maker was concerned that Xerox could not afford to pull off such an acquisition, even though it saw the value of a merger. To prove its ability and to jolt HP’s shareholders into action, Xerox secured the funding it needed from large banks including Citi, Mizuho and Bank of

America. The chief executive officer of Xerox John Visentin made this known via an open letter to the board of HP. “It also became clear from our dialogue with your shareholders that you and your advisors have been questioning our ability to raise the capital necessary to finance our proposal. … In order to remove any doubt, we have obtained binding financing commitments,” Visentin wrote in the open letter to HP’s board. “My offer stands to meet with you in per-

son, with or without your advisors, to begin negotiating this transaction.” Visentin has been speaking to HP’s shareholders, with the hope of forcing the board to make a deal. With the printing industry rapidly declining, Xerox is anxious for a deal. However, HP released its own statement saying, “Your letter dated January 6, 2020 regarding financing does not address the key issue – that Xerox’s proposal significantly undervalues HP – and is not a basis for discussion.”

Capgemini determined to outbid Elliott for Altran

China’s Outbound M&A slows down in 2019 due mainly to trade tensions China’s outbound M&A activity was the lowest it has been in a decade, due to the trade wars and its declining economy. Chinese companies were also hurt by US legislation that prohibited or otherwise hindered deal making. Refinitiv revealed that the Asian powerhouse

only announced deals worth $41 billion in 2019, which is the lowest it has been since the financial crisis. Outbound deals to the US were only $2 billion. Besides international pressures, local regulation has made it tougher to access loans and settle offshore debt.

French consulting and IT services provider Capgemini has made a final offer for smaller rival Altran Technologies, as it seeks to edge out American activist fund Elliott. Capgemini raised its initial offer of 14 euros per stock to 14.5 euros, reflecting a valuation of roughly 3.8 billion euros, after a six-month battel with Elliott. Capgemini’s CEO Paul Hermelin had said his firm would not budge from its initial offer, which was a 22% premium at the time. He has declared that this will be the final improvement for at least 18 months.

WINTER 2020 | 9


News GLOBAL BUSINESS

Avon Products CEO resigns amidst takeover

Fiat Chrysler Eyes Electric Car Market in China

The CEO of Avon Products, Jan Zijderveld, has resigned from his post, following the acquisition of the US beauty company by Brazilian competitor Natura & Co. Jan Zijderveld who was very excited about the deal when it was announced nearly a year ago, seems to be one of the merger’s first victims. Following the announcement, Natura & Co, who paid $2 billion for the acquisition, said its Executive Chairman Roberto Marques would be taking over the position. However, shortly afterwards, Angela Cretu was announced as the new CEO of Avon products. Jan Zijderveld had been CEO since February 2018, after he joined Avon from Unilever, where he enjoyed a 30-year career. At the time of the acquisition announcement, Zijderveld said “With the support of Natura, we will continue to invest in cutting-edge technology to enhance our digital capabilities and productivity for our representatives.” It appeared Zijderveld was looking forward to being a part of the fourth-largest pureplay beauty group in the world. The new company has a network of over 200 million customers, and Natura will benefit from Avon’s 6.4 million representatives worldwide. Cretu has been with Avon for 20 years and was the group vice president and general manager of Central Europe before the promotion. She has also been a strong advocate for Avon’s women’s economic empowerment initiatives. “Avon is on a transformation journey, and I’m greatly looking forward to working with its talented teams to deliver the next era of growth, while also driving the international expansion of Natura and furthering our combined purposes of promoting economic empowerment for women around the world,” said Cretu in a statement. “Like our new family Natura &Co, we’re purpose-driven at heart, and together we will build the best beauty company for the world.”

Following its successful merger with PSA, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) is ready for its next big move, which is the electric car market in China. The American automaker is looking to enter a joint venture with Hon Hai, the parent company of iPhone assembler Foxconn, to build electric cars and internet connected vehicles in China. Traditional car makers have been struggling to stay profitable in the midst of stricter regulations around Co2 emissions. FCA merged with France’s PSA in a $50 billion tie-up to create the fourth-largest automaker in the world as a means to stay competitive. FCA will be launching the Fiat 500e this year, its first full electric car. Its expansion into China via a partnership with Hon Hai will enable it get into the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) business. Hon Hai first released a statement to that effect, before FCA confirmed that it was looking into a 50-50 joint venture with the Taiwanese company. The deal “would enable the parties to bring together the capabilities of two established global leaders across the spectrum of automobile design, engineering and manufacturing and mobile software technology to focus on the growing battery electric vehicle market,” FCA said in its statement. The deal is still in its early stages, with FCA expecting an agreement in the next few months, by which time its merger with PSA should be complete. FCA would need to move quickly as it isn’t the only foreign company eager to invest in China. Germany’s Volkswagen is looking to acquire a 20% stake in Chinese lithium battery supplier Guoxuan High-tech Co. FCA already has a mild presence in China, via its joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), though this deal does not involve the production of electric vehicles.

10 | WINTER 2020


News GLOBAL BUSINESS

Caltex Australia signs confidentiality deal to attract a better offer from Canadian Suitor Caltex Australia has agreed a confidentiality deal with Alimentation CoucheTard with the hope of attracting a higher offer from its Canadian suitor. The agreement comes after months of back and forth, and as Caltex begins to garner attention from new buyers such as EG Group. Alimentation Couche-Tard’s offer of USD 5.9 billion back in November was rejected by Australia’s largest retail fuel and convenience chain for undervaluing the company. This is the most expensive proposed acquisition in Couche-Tard’s history. Despite ongoing negotiations, the Canadian multinational convenience store operator has refused to increase its price. However, Caltex’s share price has since gone beyond the A$34.50 per share Couche-Tard was offering in the first place. Following the announcement of the confidentiality agreement, Caltex’s shares rose by 0.3% to A$35.65. Caltex said that while they hoped the agreement would yield a better price, they said

it was not a guarantee Prior to this, Couche-Tard’s CEO Brian Hannasch said the current offer “fully values Caltex and is compelling for Caltex shareholders.” Couche-Tard sees the expansion into Australia as a step towards doubling its size in the next five years. “Alimentation Couche-Tard’s management team has been looking into the Asia-Pacific region for several years as a potential market for our continued growth and we see many opportunities,” Hannasch said at the beginning of the negotiations. He added, “With Caltex, we see a potential opportunity to leverage our leading global position in the convenience retail market, and we would seek to bring all our operating expertise to bear to help support and grow the Caltex business.” The deal is subject to approval by both the boards of Couche-Tard and Caltex. It will also undergo an audit and will need regulatory approval.

Telecom Italia’s Big Broadband Merger is Looking Less Likely Telecom Italia (TIM) is having a hard time trying to create a national broadband provider with Open Fiber. The Italian telecoms giant has been attempting to convince Enel and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to merge their fiber broadband services. Whilst CDP, a major stakeholder in Open Fiber, is open to the deal, complications over the sharing structure have caused negotiations to stall. TIM hoped that getting infrastructure funds to back the plan would convince its competitors, but its insistence on maintaining control is proving to be the stumbling block.

Amgen CEO is ready to bet big on Asia The Chief Executive Officer of American biotech firm Amgen, Robert Bradway, has made a bold declaration that Asia will be responsible for a quarter of the company’s growth by 2030. Bradway made this known during an interview with Reuters. Amgen has relied mainly on the US industry but is now looking to take advantage of the growing market in China, and the ageing population in Japan. Last year, Amgen spent $2.7 billion to acquire a 20.5% stake in Beijing-based BeiGene Ltd, as improvements in Chinese regulations have made foreign investments easier. WINTER 2020 | 11


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News GLOBAL BUSINESS

Takeaway set to complete $8 billion acquisition of Just Eat Takeaway.com has triumphed in its quest to merge with British food delivery company Just Eat. The Dutch delivery giant had to go through an intense battle with South Africa’s Naspers, via its Dutch based investment vehicle Prosus, to complete its all share offer for Just Eat. The merger will create one of the largest food delivery companies in the world that will rival Uber Eats and dwarf GrubHub and Delivery Hero. Takeaway’s CEO and founder Jitse Groen revealed the news in a statement. “Just Eat Takeaway.com is a dream combination and I am very much looking forward to leading the company for many years to come,” he said, after the intense bidding war. Back in July 2019, the boards of Just Eat and Takeaway had agreed to the merger but were then surprised by an unsolicited offer from Prosus. Prosus offered cash of 710 pence per share, which was lower than Takeaway’s stock offer of

735 pence per share. Just Eat rejected Prosus’ intial offer, saying it undervalued the company. “[The] board of Just Eat continues to believe the Prosus offer fails to reflect appropriately the quality of Just Eat and its attractive assets and prospects, the benefits of first-mover advantage in a consolidating sector, and, on the basis of its own analysis, the future upside available to Just Eat shareholders through remaining invested in Just Eat and the Takeaway. com combination.” Both suitors eventually increased their bids before a final vote by Just Eat’s shareholders. Prosus’ final offer was 800 pence per share, whilst Takeaway’s was 906 pence. Though a cash offer is usually preferred in M&A transactions, 80.4% of Just Eat’s shareholders opted to stick with Takeaway, willing to bet that their new company will be more profitable.

EU approves AbbVies’s $63 billion takeover of Allergan with one condition The European Commission announced its approval of US drugmaker Abbvie’s $63 billion acquisition of Dublin-based Allergan, with one major condition. The regulatory board requires that Allergan divests a product under development that will treat inflammatory bowel diseases. “Our decision makes sure that the merger between AbbVie and Allergan will not disrupt the development of a promising innovative treatment for these diseases,” said Margrethe Vestager, commissioner in charge of competition. AbbVie has agreed to sell the product, which would’ve been in competition with Allergan’s own drug.

Visa to Acquire FinTech Startup Plaid for $5.3 billion Visa Inc has announced plans to acquire fintech startup Plaid Inc for $5.3 billion. The deal will enable Visa to gain a stronger foothold in the growing digital payments industry. Visa and rival Mastercard invested in Plaid’s Series C round in December 2018, when the company was valued at half the price. Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly said “Plaid is a leader in the fast growing fintech world. The acquisition, combined with our many fintech efforts already underway, will position Visa to deliver even more value for developers, financial institutions and consumers.” WINTER 2020 | 13


Opinion HAS THE WORLD ECONOMY REACHED PEAK GROWTH?

Has the World Economy Reached Peak Growth? Whether or not the 2010s were a "lost decade," one thing is clear: many countries fell short of their potential, possibly squandering their last best shot of registering strong GDP growth. In the decade ahead, demographic realities will catch up to China and the West, and the world will need a productivity miracle to offset the effects. At the start of a new decade, many commentators are understandably focused on the health of the global economy. GDP growth this decade most likely will be lower than during the teens, barring a notable improvement in productivity in the West and China, or a sustained acceleration in India and the largest African economies. Until we have final fourth-quarter data for 2019, we won’t be able to calculate global GDP growth for the 2010-2019 decade. Still, it is likely to be around 3.5% per year, which is similar to the growth rate for the 2000s, and higher than the 3.3% growth of the 1980s and 1990s. That slightly stronger performance over the past two decades is due almost entirely to China, with India playing a modestly expanding role. Average annual growth 14 | WINTER 2020

of 3.5% for 2010-2019 means that many countries fell short of their potential. In principle, global GDP could have increased by more than 4%, judging by the two key drivers of growth: the size of the workforce and productivity. In fact, the 2010s could have been the strongest decade of the first half of this century. But it didn’t turn out that way. The European Union endured a disappointing period of weakness, and Brazil and Russia each grew by much less than in the previous decade. The prospects for the coming decades are not as strong. China’s labor-force growth is now peaking, and the populations of Japan, Germany, Italy, and other key countries are aging and in decline. True, some countries and regions that underperformed in the teens could now catch up; but

much will depend on the realization of several positive developments. For example, given the EU’s demographics, it would take a significant improvement in productivity to boost the rate of GDP growth. More expansionary fiscal policies in many countries – including, possibly, Germany – could produce a temporary acceleration this year and perhaps through 2021. But it is hard to see how a stimulus-driven expansion could be sustained much beyond that point. Europeans can talk all they want about “structural reform.” But without effective productivity-enhancing measures, the EU’s growth potential will remain in decline. As for Brazil and Russia, it would be highly disappointing if both countries were to register the same weak growth of the past decade.

Yet, to get from around 1% annual growth to 3.5-4% annual growth would probably require another commodity-price boom, in addition to major productivity enhancements. Given that both countries tend to eschew reform whenever commodity prices are booming – a classic symptom of the “commodities curse” – it is doubtful that either will reach its potential this decade (though, if one had to bet, Brazil has a better chance than Russia). In China, a further deceleration in trend GDP growth is highly likely, owing to demographic realities. When I offered my earlier assessment of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) at the start of this century, it was already clear that by the end of the 2010s, China would be feeling the growth-constraining effects of a peaking workforce.


Opinion HAS THE WORLD ECONOMY REACHED PEAK GROWTH?

Accordingly, I estimated that its real (inflation-adjusted) annual GDP growth in the 2020s would be around 4.5-5.5%. To achieve growth above that range would require a significant increase in productivity. In light of China’s investments in technology and shift to more domestic consumption, productivity certainly could improve. But whether that will be enough to overcome China’s other well-known challenges remains to be seen. For its part, the United Kingdom could achieve stronger growth this decade, but it could also suffer a slowdown, depending on how it deals with Brexit and its aftermath. In any case, the country’s influence on global GDP is likely to be modest. Then there is the United States, where annual growth potential appears to be just

over 2%. Without more fiscal stimulus and an indefinite continuation of ultra-easy monetary policies, it is difficult to see how the US could exceed this rate. Moreover, it has been more than a decade since the US experienced a recession. Were that to happen in the months or years ahead, the US would have an even smaller chance of reaching its growth potential for the 2020s. Last but not least are the still-smaller economies with enormous growth potential. While countries such as Indonesia (and perhaps Mexico and Turkey) are becoming more relevant in an assessment of global GDP, it is India that promises to have the largest influence in the 2020s and beyond. The country’s demographics will remain in an economic sweet spot for at least another decade.

Were the Indian government to adopt the right mix of growth-enhancing reforms, it could easily achieve annual growth in the range of 8-10%. And, because India is already close to being the world’s fifth-largest economy, that would have a significant influence on global GDP growth. The problem, of course, is that the current government has shown no indication that it will pursue positive reforms. On the contrary, it has launched a debilitating new culture war.

That leaves Africa. As matters stand, no African economy is large enough to influence global GDP on its own. But, as a region, Africa’s GDP is close to that of India, which means that if enough of its major economies can achieve strong growth, the effects will be felt more broadly. The rise of Africa seems both desirable and inevitable to me. Whether the continent can drive global GDP growth will be a key question for the coming decade.

JIM O’NEILL FORMER UK TREASURY MINISTER CHAIR OF CHATHAM HOUSE. SOURCE: WWW.PROJECT-SYNDICATE.ORG

WINTER 2020 | 15


Opinion FINANCIAL MARKETS’ IRAN DELUSION

Financial Markets’ Iran Delusion A restrained reprisal by Iran following the assassination of its top military commander has led markets to conclude that the latest threat to the global economy has been removed. But just because Iran and the United States have so far avoided a full-scale war does not mean that markets are out of the woods. Following the United States’ assassination of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani and Iran’s initial retaliation against two Iraqi bases housing US troops, financial markets moved into risk-off mode: oil prices spiked by 10%, US and global equities dropped by a few percentage points, and safe-haven bond yields fell. In short order, though, despite the continuing risks of a USIran conflict and the implications that it would have for markets, the view that both sides would eschew further escalation calmed investors and reversed these price movements, with equities even approaching new highs. That turnabout reflects two assumptions. First, markets are banking on the fact that neither Iran nor the US wants a full-scale war, which would threaten both the Iranian regime and US President Donald Trump’s re-election prospects. Second, investors seem to believe that the economic impact of a conflict 16 | WINTER 2020

would be modest. After all, oil’s importance as an input in production and consumption has fallen sharply since past oil-shock episodes, such as the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Moreover, the US itself is now a major energy producer, inflation expectations are much lower than in past decades, and there is little risk of central banks hiking interest rates following an oilprice shock. Both assumptions are clearly flawed. Even if the risk of a full-scale war may seem low, there is no reason to believe that US-Iranian relations will return to the status quo ante. The idea that a zero-casualty strike on two Iraqi bases has satisfied Iran’s need to retaliate is simply naive. Those Iranian rockets were merely the first salvo in a response that will build up as November’s US presidential election approaches. The conflict will continue to feature aggression by regional proxies (including

attacks against Israel), direct military confrontations that fall short of all-out war, efforts to sabotage Saudi and other Gulf oil facilities, impeded Gulf navigation, international terrorism, cyber attacks, nuclear proliferation, and more. Any of these could lead to an unintentional escalation of the conflict. Moreover, the Iranian regime’s survival – its leaders' top priority – is more threatened by an internal revolution than by a full-scale war. Because an invasion of Iran is unlikely, the regime could survive a war (despite a very damaging aerial bombing campaign) – and even benefit as Iranians rally around the regime, as they briefly did in response to the killing of Suleimani. Conversely, a full-scale war and the ensuing spike in oil prices and global recession would lead to regime change in the US, which Iran badly desires. So, Iran not only can afford to escalate, but it has all the incentives to do so, initially through prox-

ies and asymmetric warfare, to avoid provoking an immediate US reaction. The assumption about what a conflict would mean for markets is equally mistaken. Though the US is less dependent on foreign oil than in the past, even a modest price spike could trigger a broader downturn or recession, as happened in 1990. While an oil-price shock would boost US energy producers’ profits, the benefits would be outweighed by the costs to US oil consumers (both households and firms). Overall, US private spending and growth would slow, as would growth in all of the major net-oil-importing economies, including Japan, China, India, South Korea, Turkey, and most European countries. Finally, although central banks would


Opinion FINANCIAL MARKETS’ IRAN DELUSION

not hike interest rates following an oil-price shock, nor do they have much space left to loosen monetary policies further. According to an estimate by JPMorgan, a conflict that blocks the Strait of Hormuz for six months could drive up oil prices by 126%, to more than $150 per barrel, setting the stage for a severe global recession. And even a more limited disruption – such as a one-month blockade – could push the price up to $80 per barrel. But even these estimates do not fully capture the role that oil prices play in the global economy. The price of oil can spike much more than a basic supply-demand model would suggest, because many oil-dependent sectors and countries will engage in precaution-

ary stockpiling. The risk that Iran could attack oil production facilities or disrupt major shipping routes creates a “fear premium.” Hence, even a modest oil-price increase to $80 per barrel would lead to a sustained risk-off episode, with US and global equities falling by at least 10%, in turn, hurting investor, business, and consumer confidence. It is worth remembering that global corporate capital spending was already severely dampened last year, owing to worries about an escalation in the US-China trade and technology war and the possibility of a “hard” Brexit. Just as these risks – that is, the “option value of waiting” – were receding, a new one has emerged. Leaving aside the direct negative impact of higher energy prices, fears of

an escalating US-Iran conflict could lead to more precautionary household saving and lower capital spending by firms, further weakening demand and growth. Moreover, even before that risk emerged, some analysts (including me) warned that growth this year might be as tepid as growth in 2019. Markets and investors had been looking forward to a period of easier monetary policies and an end to the tail risks asso-

ciated with the trade war and Brexit. Many market watchers were hoping that the synchronized global slowdown of 2019 (when growth fell to 3%, compared to 3.8% in 2017) would end, with growth approaching 3.4% this year. But this outlook ignored many remaining fragilities. Now, despite Wall Street’s optimism, even a mild resumption of US-Iran tensions could push global growth below the mediocre level of 2019. A more severe conflict that falls short of war could increase oil prices to well above $80 per barrel, possibly pushing equities into bear territory (a decrease of 20%) and leading to a global growth stall. Finally, a full-scale war could drive the price of oil above $150 per barrel, ushering in a severe global recession and a fall of over 30% for equities markets. While the probability of a full-scale war remains low for now (no more than 20%, in my view), the chances of simply returning to the pre-assassination status quo are even lower (say, 5%). The most likely scenario is that the situation escalates into a new grey area (indirect conflict and direct clashes falling short of war) that would drive up the risk of a full-scale war. At that new baseline, the market’s current complacency will look not just naive, but utterly delusional. The risk of a growth stall or even a global recession is now much higher and rising.

NOURIEL ROUBINI PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY'S STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS SOURCE: WWW.PROJECT-SYNDICATE.ORG

WINTER 2020 | 17


Opinion A DATA REVOLUTION FOR ALL

A Data Revolution for All It has now been almost two decades since the original launch of DATA, a platform that marshaled $100 billion in debt forgiveness for poor countries, and another $50 billion in contributions for health and development. In a world with more data and data-science expertise than ever, it's time to revive that innovative spirit. Science has revolutionized medicine and agriculture over the last 100 years, particularly for the poorest of the poor. Achievements ranging from the treatment of hookworm to the green revolution attest to its power. Looking ahead, data science has even greater potential to revolutionize everything from how we treat disease to how we build more inclusive economies. History shows us that when the power of science and technology is brought to bear on society’s greatest challenges, millions of lives can be improved. Pick any problem you see around the world: the raging wildfires that are devastating Australia; the opioid epidemic that is ravaging poor communities in the United States; the world’s worst refugee crisis since World War II. Confronting these problems and others – from poverty and inequality to conservation and climate change – requires the responsible application of 18 | WINTER 2020

data, and the insights drawn from them. Yet, while there have been great advances in data science in the private sector, many social-sector and civic organizations are lagging behind. With proper support, they can leverage data analytics to make their work go further and faster, ultimately helping more people. Just last year, our two organizations – Mastercard and The Rockefeller Foundation – committed to addressing this gap. By becoming more data-science driven, all organizations can achieve their full potential. Fortunately, innovators in the field are already performing some of this work. The volunteer-based organization DataKind, for example, has connected non-profits with private-sector data scientists to solve issues facing community health workers. Community Solutions, a non-profit working in more than 80 US cities and counties, is using data science to tackle home-

lessness. And Benefits Data Trust, a Philadelphia-based national non-profit, leverages the power of artificial intelligence to help millions of low-income American families access the social benefits available to help them. Data-driven insights have also been used to help mayors across the US pursue strategies of inclusive economic growth, and to help government officials in Africa predict the locations and causes of at-risk pregnancies in rural communities. And yet, these

efforts represent merely the starting point, not the final destination. There is still so much more work to do. Transforming the role of data in addressing major social and economic issues is not a job for any one person or organization. We must build on the successes of those who have come before. In 2002, a group of innovative social entrepreneurs, together with anti-poverty advocates and the Irish rock musician and philanthropist Bono, launched DATA, a nonprofit committed


Opinion A DATA REVOLUTION FOR ALL

to alleviating debt, fighting AIDS, and reducing trade inequalities in Africa. In what ultimately became the ONE Campaign, they galvanized support for poverty alleviation by focusing on real-world data, and by advocating evidence-based approaches to development. At the time, these efforts broke new ground by recognizing the power of data to address society’s greatest challenges. In partnership with millions of activists around the world, the coali-

tion behind DATA facilitated the cancellation of $100 billion of debt owed by poor countries, marshaled $50 billion in contributions for health and development aid, and pushed for trade deals that helped millions of vulnerable families. But, although data are ubiquitous, and the opportunities offered by the data revolution are even larger, not everyone is poised to gain from it equally. Once again, we need a bold effort to bridge the gap and ensure that the most vulnera-

ble are not left behind. With that challenge in mind, and with the support of DATA’s original founders, The Rockefeller Foundation and Mastercard are relaunching DATA.org to serve as a

platform for partnerships to expand further the field of data science for social impact, and to ensure that non-profit and civic organizations are well positioned to take advantage of the data revolution. By relaunching the platform, we hope to use data to tackle homelessness, improve access to social benefits, and support community health workers worldwide. Those on the front lines of efforts to improve public health, fight poverty, and solve many other problems will have improved access to data scientists who can help them maximize their impact. Most important, this will be done in a way that brings more people and organizations together to effect positive social change, all while adhering to principles of responsible data use. Expanding the field of data science for social impact is a shared global effort. It will take collaboration from all sectors to ensure that the nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being produced every day have a positive social impact. Just as DATA demonstrated the promise of evidence-driven policies for development 18 years ago, the relaunch of the platform this month will create new momentum for tackling the world’s biggest challenges. The data revolution must benefit all. Together, we can make 2020 the year that partnerships began to extend the promise of a data-driven economy to everyone, everywhere.

RAJIV SHAH PRESIDENT THE ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION. SOURCE: WWW.PROJECT-SYNDICATE.ORG

WINTER 2020 | 19


M&A Review GLOBAL 2019

M&A Review Global 2019 This summary of events of global M&A activity for 2019 is based on research by Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau Van Dijk. There was a decline in global volume and value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2019 compared to 2018. The 98,181 deals recorded in the period had a combined value of USD 4,589,597 million, down from 111,182 deals worth USD 5,519,863 million in 2018. This was the lowest volume and value recorded since 2013, when a total value of USD 3,707,383 million was realised from 93,267 deals. Despite how low the figures seem, they only pale due to the recent boom in M&A activity over the past few years. 2019 actually has the sixth-highest year ever recorded in terms of volume and the seventh-highest in terms of value. Another memorable feature of 2019 was the high number of large deals. The five biggest deals were worth more than USD 50,000 million, whilst all of the top 20 deals exceeded USD 10,000 million.

M&A Activity by Country Once again, the United States topped the charts for both volume and value of deals. There were 20,338 deals that targeted companies in the country worth an aggregate of USD 1,478,571 million. China came second on both accounts with 16,804 deals worth USD 659,516 million and the UK third with 7,013 deals and USD 287,617 million. The UK was the only country to see positive movement in any metric, as it recorded more deals in 2019 than in 2018, though the value was much lower than the previous year. The US maintained its dominance thanks to it having 15 out of the top 20 deals in 2019, including the largest deal of the year, which was the USD 74,000 million acquisition of biopharmaceuticals giant Celgene by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. The second largest deal of the year came close, and from a surprising source. Saudi Arabian Oil Company purchased a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corporation for USD 69,100 million. Saudi Arabia’s deal total for the year came to USD 72,368 million, nearly seven times more than the USD 10,506 million recorded in 2018, which itself was twice as much as the previous year. AbbVie Inc was responsible for the third-largest deal of the year, as it acquired Irish pharmaceuticals company Allergan plc for USD 63,533 million. The next largest deal that did not target an American company was the acquisition of Refinitiv Ltd for USD 27,000 million by London Stock Exchange Group plc. 20 | WINTER 2020

Global deals by volume and value No of deals

Announced date

Total deal value (mil USD)

2019

98,181

4,589,597

2018

111,182

5,519,863

2017

109,429

4,802,600

2016

114,877

4,925,669

2015

119,287

6,036,628

2014

103,695

4,817,549

Target sector by volume - global deals Target sector

2017

2018

2019

Computer Software

18,653

18,298

16,752

Business Services

12,022

12,967

11,809

Banking, Insurance & Financial Services

10,509

10,357

9,157

Industrial, Electric & Electronic Machinery

8,541

9,536

8,019

Construction

6,160

6,724

6,126

Chemicals, Petroleum, Rubber & Plastic

5,480

5,478

5,084

Mining & Extraction

5,326

4,567

4,261

Property Services

3,911

3,929

3,573

Biotechnology & Life Sciences

3,685

3,843

3,499

Wholesale

4,072

4,179

3,375

Travel, Personal & Leisure

3,647

3,629

3,081

Retail

3,697

3,588

2,999

Public Administration, Education, Health Social Services

3,209

3,142

2,777

Transport, Freight & Storage

2,862

2,704

2,232

Food & Tobacco Manufacturing

2,544

2,420

2,080

Utilities

2,198

2,347

2,024

Metals & Metal Products

2,311

2,507

1,975

Communications

1,975

1,779

1,648

Transport Manufacturing

1,671

1,976

1,619

Media & Broadcasting

1,455

1,416

1,211


M&A Review GLOBAL 2019

Top 20 global deals by value Deal value Deal Type (mil USD)

Target

Target country

Acquiror

Acquiror country

Announcement date

1.

74,000 Acquisition 100%

Celgene Corporation

US

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

US

03/01/2019

2.

Basic Industries 69,100 Acquisition 70% Saudi Corporation SJSC

SA

Saudi Arabian Oil Company

SA

27/07/2019

3.

63,533 Acquisition 100%

Allergan plc

IE

AbbVie Inc, via acquisition vehicle Venice US Subsidiary LLC

25/06/2019

4.

55,000 Acquisition 100%

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

US

Occidental Petroleum Corporation

US

09/05/2019

5.

54,031 Acquisition 100%

Raytheon Company

US

United Technologies Corporation

US

09/06/2019

6.

43,000 Acquisition 100%

Worldpay Inc.

US

Fidelity National Information Services Inc.

US

18/03/2019

7.

39,000 Acquisition 100%

First Data Corporation

US

Fiserve Inc.

US

16/01/2019

8.

28,085 Acquisition 100%

SunTrust Banks Inc.

US

Truist Financial Corporation

US

07/02/2019

9.

27,000 Acquisition 100%

Refinitiv Ltd

GB

London Stock Exchange Group plc

GB

01/08/2019

10.

26,200 Acquisition 100%

Nutrition & Biosciences Inc.

US

International Flavours & Fragrances Inc.

US

15/12/2019

11.

26,000 Acquisition 100%

TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

US

The Charles Schwab Corporation, via acquisition vehicle Americano Acquisition Corporation

US

25/11/2019

12.

22,500 Acquisition 100%

Mylan NV

NL

Pfizer Inc., via acquisition vehicle Upjohn Inc.

US

29/07/2019

13.

21,500 Acquisition 100%

Total System Services Inc. US

Global Payments Inc.

US

28/05/2019

14.

21,400 Acquisition 100%

General Electric Company's BioPharma business

US

Danaher Corporation

US

25/02/2019

15.

Acquisition 20,727 increased to 100%

Shenzhen Qianhai Shekou Trade Investment Development Co., Ltd

CN

Shenzhen Qianhai Development Investment Holdings Co., Ltd; Shenzhen Merchants Qianhai Industrial Development Co., Ltd

CN; CN

09/12/2019

16.

18,700 IBO 100%

GLP Pte Ltd's US urban, infill logistics assets

US

Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc.; The Blackstone Group Inc.

US; US

02/06/2019

17.

17,300 Acquisition 100%

WellCare Health Plans Inc.

US

Centene Corporation, via acquisition vehicle Wellington Merger Sub II Inc.

US

27/03/2019

18.

17,300 Acquisition 100%

Caesars Entertainment Group

US

Eldorado Resorts Inc.

US

24/05/2019

19.

16,740 Acquisition 100%

Tiffany & Co

US

LVMH Moet Hennessy - Louis Vuitton SE

FR

25/11/2019

20.

15,700 Acquisition 100%

Tableau Software Inc.

US

Salesforce.com Inc.

US

10/06/2019

PE and VC Activity The volume and value of private equity and venture capital (PE and VC) deals performed much like M&A, as both were down compared to 2018. The total number of deals recorded in the period was 26,470 and they were worth a combined USD 845,561 million, compared to the 27,123 deals in 2018 worth USD 905,995 million. However, both of these figures were higher than those recorded in 2017, when USD 811,298

million was realized from 25,742 deals. The value of PE and VC deals in 2019 is also the third-highest on record. Much like global M&A, a number of sizeable deals helped propel the total value. The five largest deals were each worth more than USD 10,000 million, whilst the top 12 deals were all in excess of USD 5,000 million. The largest PE and VC deal also targeted a US company, as Blackstone Group spent USD 18,700 million to acquire the US urban, infill logistics assets of GLP. Next up was the purchase of Zayo Group Holdings by WINTER 2020 | 21


M&A Review GLOBAL 2019

Top 20 global private equity deals by value Deal value Deal Type (mil USD)

Target

Target country

Fund Manager / General Partner

Announcement date

1.

18,700 IBO 100%

GLP Pte Ltd's US urban, infill logistics assets

US

The Blackstone Group Inc.

02/06/2019

2.

14,300 IBO 100%

Zayo Group Holdings Inc.

US

Devonshire Investors LLC; EQT AB; Digital Colony Management LLC

08/05/2019

3.

11,000 IBO 100%

Ultimate Software Group Inc.

US

Hellman & Friedman LLC; The Blackstone Group LP; JMI Management Inc.; Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

04/02/2019

4.

10,300 IBO 100%

Buckeye Partners LP

US

IFM Investors Pty Ltd

10/05/2019

5.

10,270 Acquisition 100%

Nestle Skin Health SA

CH

EQT Partners AB

16/07/2019

6.

8,662 Acquisition 100%

Transportadora Associada de Gas SA

BR

La Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec

05/04/2019

7.

8,400 IBO 100%

Genesee & Wyoming Inc.

USD

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP

01/07/2019

8.

majority 8,000 IBO stake

LemonTech SA

CL

Accel-KKR Company LLC

28/06/2019

9.

stake 5,918 Minority 15%

Gree Electyric Appliances, Inc. of Zhuhai

CN

Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd

03/12/2019

10.

5,900 IBO 100%

Colony Capital Inc.'s industrial real estate assets and industrial operating platform

US

The Blackstone Group Inc.

30/09/2019

11.

30% Merlin Entertainments plc 5,378 Acquisition to 100%

GB

Kirkbi Invest A/S

18/06/2019

12.

5,000 Minority stake

Longsing Properties Group Ltd

HK

13.

4,994 IBO 100%

Cobham plc

GB

Advent International Corporation; GSO Capital Partners LP; Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Advisors LLC; The Blackstone Group Inc.

25/07/2019

14.

4,684 IBO 100%

Dream Global Real Estate Investment Trust

CA

The Blackstone Group Inc.

15/09/2019

15.

stake 4,411 Minority 37%

Compania Espanola de Petroleos SA

ES

Carlyle Group LP

08/04/2019

16.

4,360 Minority stake

China Southern Air Holding Co., Ltd

CN

Guangdong Hengjian Investment Holding Co., Ltd; Shenzhen Kunpeng Zhanyi Equity Investment Management Co., Ltd

22/07/2019

17.

4,300 IBO 100%

LogMeln Inc.

US

Francisco Partners Management LP; Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation 17/12/2019

18.

4,300 IBO 100%

El Paso Electric Company Inc.

US

JP Morgan Investment Management Inc.

01/06/2019

19.

3,948 IBO 100%

Sophos Group plc

GB

Thoma Bravo LLC

14/10/2019

DE

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe) Ltd

06/08/2019

20.

3,928 IBO 100%

Currenta Geschaftsfuhrungs-GmbH

Devonshire Investors, EQT and Digital Colony Management for USD 14,300 million. Unlike global M&A, only nine of the top 20 deals targeted North American companies. Six of the deals targeted companies in Europe, a couple in South America and three in Asia.

M&A Activity by Target Sector Computer Software remained the most active industry, as there were 16,752 recorded deals targeting the sector. This was much higher than the second-placed Business Services industry, which had 11,809 deals. In terms of value however, Banking, Insurance & Financial Services maintained its number one spot with USD 721,321 million, followed by Chemicals, Petroleum, Rubber & Plastic with USD559,207 million, 22 | WINTER 2020

21/11/2019

which only slightly edged out Computer Software by less than USD 7,000 million.

M&A Advisers JP Morgan advised on the largest number of deals (282), number with consideration (246) and total deal value (USD 799,080 million). KPMG came second in terms of volume with 259, while Goldman Sachs was second in terms of value with USD 713,714 million. Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz LLP might not have had a very busy year, having advised on only 46 deals, but the deals were valued at USD 402,860 million, to lead the industry. The 358 deals Kirkland & Ellis worked on were worth USD 259,830 million.


Superior talent, innovative ideas Peter J. Solomon Company (PJSC) is a leading independent investment banking firm headquartered in New York, City. Founded in 1989, the Firm has successfully completed more than 500 strategic and financial advisory assignments on behalf of industry leaders across media, tech and retail in the form of mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, financings, recapitalizations and restructurings, fairness opinions and activism defense. Our goal is to bring the partnership’s collective wisdom and knowledge of negotiation to reach the optimum value of a transaction for our clients and to create an enduring advisory relationship.

1345 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10105 pjsc.com | @PJSCtweets


Cover Story EURO EXIM BANK & THE POWER OF DISRUPTION

EURO EXIM BANK & THE POWER OF DISRUPTION Global payment transactions have traditionally been seen as costly and time consuming, yet disruptive technologies now provide instant, safe and secure alternatives. Graham Bright, Head of Compliance at Euro Exim Bank gives us a fascinating insight into innovative industry developments. Founded in 2015, Euro Exim Bank is an innovative global financial institution headquartered in St Lucia, West Indies, with a strong representative office in London. The organisation serves both corporate clients and import businesses through its ‘Class A’ international banking licence, which enables it to conduct business with third parties across industries and geographies. Other offices are scheduled to open in Singapore, Chennai and Dubai in 2020. The implementation of efficient and timely authenticated trade finance services and instructions plays a strategic role in today’s rapidly growing international trading environments. Euro Exim Bank are market specialists, providing a range of trade finance services – Letters of Credit, Express Letters of Credit, Standby Letters of Credit, Bank Guarantees, etc – and in conjunction with its corporate banking saving accounts, pre-paid master cards and payment platform, this dynamic, forward thinking financial organisation offers an exciting 24 | WINTER 2020

array of trading facilities to SMEs, specifically designed to connect corporates to a wealth of new global trading opportunities. Here, Graham Bright, Head of Compliance & Operations at Euro Exim Bank, gives an insight into the role of this forward-thinking financial institution and international trade facilitator and how new technology assists in revolutionising the challenging world of cross border trading.

Trade financing and the process of transferring money across the world involves a range of contributing elements – protocols, licences, anti-fraud and money laundering measures, etc. Can you tell us how technology has improved efficiency within this industry and Euro Exim Bank’s function within this landscape? Technological innovation has enabled the banking industry to adapt to changing markets, efficiently adhere to legisla-

tive and regulatory obligations as well as respond to the growing demands of reliability, speed and security. The global payments industry is anticipated to be valued at approximately £2 trillion by next year, and with it the cross-border payments market is expected to increase by 75% by 2025. The complex challenges associated with this volume and growth would be overwhelming if not tackled via fast, easy-to-use, transparent, trading technology. Euro Exim Bank differs from traditional banks involved in funds, payments, securities or travellers cheques, by its concentration on trade finance and partnership with Ripple – the digi-


Cover Story EURO EXIM BANK & THE POWER OF DISRUPTION

tal, real time payment system enabling money to be transferred globally through advanced blockchain technology. Transactions are settled within fractions of a second, eliminating the traditional need for money to be held in foreign accounts, providing clients with a frictionless, financial trading experience.

Would it be accurate to describe this partnership with its advanced technology as the dawning of a new financial era? It’s certainly a unique experience for Euro Exim Bank as the world’s first reg-

ulated bank to adopt Ripple’s ODL, an on-demand liquidity solution for cross border money remittance, and xCurrent, a payment processing solution. We’re delighted to partner with Ripple as an ongoing collaboration exploring and unlocking the undoubted advantages for our customers in terms of speed, reach, reliability, cost reduction and security. It remains to be seen how fast other financial institutions will follow our lead in implementing Ripple’s blockchain enabled solutions, but it’s clear that such disruptive technologies will continue to have a dramatic positive effect on the cross-border trading environment.

Bitcoin and Ethereum have dominated the cryptocurrency headlines, but obviously Ripple is rather more complicated in its structure. Can you briefly explain how it differs from these two players, how it works in the payments space and its benefits to your clients? The major difference is that Ripple is an established network and technology company, and the owner and custodian of the XRP cryptocurrency. This provides a digital asset, payment network and protocol complementing SWIFT, the traWINTER 2020 | 25


Cover Story EURO EXIM BANK & THE POWER OF DISRUPTION

ditional money transfer system deployed by banks and financial institutions. Ripple offers an innovative accessible platform supporting unserved markets and facilitating payments in often complex, costly markets. RippleNet, the blockchain network operated by Ripple, is designed to facilitate fast, convenient transactions through a unique mechanism of network servers as opposed to traditional blockchain methods where users search for tokens. From a user perspective, Ripple’s key differentiators are its speed, low cost and security aspects. Gone are the days of transactions taking days to settle; Ripple’s technology with its inbuilt vetting capacity detects and weeds out dubious transactions and facilitates instant verification, thus bringing convenient new opportunities and processing efficiency for moving money across borders. Faster and more reliable money transfers are just the beginning. Its decentralised mechanism while eliminating the need for other authorities to direct the transaction journey, makes Ripple the blockchain network of choice for us, and we firmly believe that it will open banking doors to many who currently rely on cash to buy goods and services. It’s potential is powerful. As an organisation, Ripple’s financial value gives it a firm trading advantage revolutionising the money transfer and foreign exchange sectors, disrupting traditional transaction methods, supporting and promoting greater financial inclusion.

What’s next for Euro Exim Bank in terms of borderless trade? Trade finance remains a complex, paper-based business generally with restrictive, costly and time-consuming barriers to entry for smaller buyers. As new markets and manufacturing industries 26 | WINTER 2020

emerge, reliable dedicated technology is enabling easier creation and movement of digitised documents with lower handling costs, standards, and interoperability. Our IT development teams at Euro Exim Bank have incorporated blockchain capabilities for document verification,

curity and compliance. Euro Exim Bank appreciates the impact of this technology and will continue to automate and improve our platform capabilities – creating sophisticated mobile apps and building a crypto exchange – all to enhance customer experience. A new decade is upon us and our trading environment will continue to evolve as 2020 and beyond undoubtedly heralds exciting opportunities. As major banks continue aggressive de-risking policy which is disadvantaging many smaller companies and hindering international trade, the trend towards digital will strengthen, greater use of artificial intelligence will be used to identity, mitigate and reduce risk and costs, and the provision of appropriate and relevant financial services for expanding African and Asia Pacific markets will be key. Underpinned by blockchain technology we see growth, a more competition, new sources of supply forced by US-China sanctions, and abundant opportunities. By listening and responding to the needs and demands of our clients, we, at Euro GRAHAM BRIGHT Exim Bank are well posiHEAD OF COMPLIANCE tioned and fully intend to AND OPERATIONS play a pivotal role within EURO EXIM BANK the future banking and financial trading space.

immutability and digitisation – not only for initial drafts and remittances, but handling real time settlements via connectivity across multiple payment channels. Customer expectation drives demand and we envisage blockchain enabled technology will become commonplace in trade finance, firstly addressing the bureaucratic and burdensome issues of data integrity in identity assurance, se-

Further details on products and services offered by Euro Exim Bank, together with comprehensive information regarding developments in borderless trade, its partnership with Ripple’s blockchain technology and how this accelerates trading opportunities can be found at www.euroeximbank.com


Subscribe to the Leading Source of Business and Dealmaker Intelligence Worldwide www.bwmonline.com/subscription


Celebrating Business Worldwide Magazine's Brand New

20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch Awards Business Worldwide Magazine is delighted to introduce this new Award programme – it’s annual 20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch. And you can read the impressive winners of the 2019 Awards on the following pages. First though, what does winning our Most Innovative Companies to Watch Award entail? Well, there are a whole set of criteria that our judging panel was looking out for. This included peer recognition as companies proving to be a ‘disrupter’ in their industry. Other big pointers for the judges included producing innovative products or services, running via forward thinking and highly successful modern business structures and being able to drive scalable business models. The Awards are regarded as a celebration of trailblazing organizations which are going on to alter the framework of their respective industries. In doing so, they are changing and developing the corporate landscape for ever. These are the type of businesses which not only change their own industries, but often have an effect on how the world itself operates in future years to come. We have already witnessed this sort of change through the advances of Silicon Valley and the IT giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft. Our 20 Innovative companies for 2019 have been big influencers in their own sector and making a sizeable mark on the global scene.

28 | WINTER 2020

Countries represented in the 20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch Awards 2019 included European destinations such as Germany, Spain and the UK, as well as international players in the Americas. Scandinavian countries also made an appearance. Companies and individuals were also representative of many different sectors and industries. Pharmaceuticals, IT and Healthcare in general were well-placed in the long and short lists, while manufacturing, eco-businesses and Fintech also made their mark as far as our judging panel was concerned. The real judges in these Awards though are you the readers of this magazine and the public in general since without acknowledgement of what these companies are achieving, they wouldn’t have come before our eyes in the first place. And that acknowledgement is made by our voting public buying those products and services in the first place. To enter the 20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch Awards 2020 simply look out for news of the nominations process in a later edition of Business Worldwide Magazine.


THE WINNERS 20 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES TO WATCH 2019 AXGIO

NEVERMORE SECURITIES

GLOBALIZATION PARTNERS, INC

NEUROTRANSDATA GMBH

GROGURU

ONPEX

GSR SERVICES

RADIX TECHNOLOGIES

H/CELL ENERGY CORPORATION

RECALL CAPITAL

INMOTION VR

SPACE ARQUITECTURA

KOOLMILL SYSTEMS

UTILITIES SERVICES, INC

MEDI-IMMUNE

WINDBOUYY AG

MOBILE INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS A/S

ZINNOVATE INTERNATIONAL

NESPLORA

ZYVERSA THERAPEUTICS, INC.

WINTER 2020 | 29


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch SPACE ARQUITECTURA

CREATING HAPPINESS & WELLBEING THROUGH DESIGN Are our work environments impacting our moods and behaviour? Mexico City based SpAce Arquitectura have researched behavioural and wellbeing links to incorporate neuro architecture into corporate spaces. Juan Carlos Baumgartner, Founder and CEO gives us a fascinating insight into this concept. Borne out of a passion for design and architecture, SpAce Arquitectura, an architectural and interior design organisation in Chicago, USA was founded in 1999. Nearly twenty-three years later, this award-winning enterprise, now operating out of Mexico City, is recognised as a forerunner in the Latin American interior design space, achieving success with projects spanning more than 20 countries. Research shows that our environment can have fundamental effects on our health and behaviour, and with an estimated 80 per cent of our time spent indoors – our personal living spaces, educational and corporate environments, healthcare establishments spaces and commercial outlets – SpAce Arquitectura recognises that the build environment has the capacity to transform people’s 30 | WINTER 2020

lives in meaningful ways. It sees beyond the traditional focus on trending fabrics, colours, tones and textures and uses technology and expertise to incorporate these into a revolutionary concept known as neuro architecture. Jean Carlos Baumgartner, founder and CEO of SpAce Arquitectura tells us more about the changing power of architecture, the strategy behind his unique organisation and how it plays a fundamental role in improving the lives of many across the world.

How does SpAce Arquitectura sets itself apart from its competitors? Firstly, we spend time evaluating the emotional profiles of our customers. It’s important to us to be able to firmly establish the type of experience they wish their clients to resonate with, the psy-

chology of decision making. In addition, neuroscience and the impact that buildings have on our brain, our behaviour or our emotional wellbeing, is always foremost in our design approach.

This is closely related to your company ethos and slogan ‘Design for Happiness.’ Can you elaborate further on this link? Shaping our physical workspaces ultimately modifies our culture. Far too often we hear the phrase, “you’re here to work, not to socialise.’ However, studies show that this type of corporate approach has negative consequences on our health and wellbeing. Emotional solutions need to be functional, relevant and appropriate to all user needs, therefore we should be designing light, airy, spacious work environments which encourage interaction


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch SPACE ARQUITECTURA

and ultimately leads to greater participation, engagement and productivity. Evidence-based design delivers on mental and physical wellbeing as well as having ethical sustainability benefits. Architects have a responsibility to design buildings which focus on careful consideration on how their work can change lives and communities. ‘Design for Happiness’ is reflected in all SpAce Arquitectura projects.

So incorporating research from neuroscience into architecture? Yes, this is a concept we call Neuro Architecture. Whilst architecture has been influenced by new construction techniques through advanced technology, 3-D printing for example, it has become increasingly evident that the practice of teaching architecture must evolve to

keep pace with the demands of society as well as resolving new challenges. One of the greatest challenges arises from advancements in neuroscience and the role of architecture in understanding the correlation between physical spaces and human behaviour. For instance, we know that natural light influences work performance but does it help students to learn more effectively? Does a soft floor surface generate a space to calm preschool children? Geometry, shape and flow of movement may improve sensory perception. The addition of plants and foliage can reduce stress and improve concentration as well as providing a lovely natural vibe.

Could you give us any case studies where SpAce has worked

with corporates to enhance their brand experience? We’re delighted to have been approached to work with many global corporates. One which stands out is being commissioned to design a showroom for Calvin Klein’s Mexican Headquarters. We wanted our design to be sleek, sophisticated and modern, yet remaining warm and simple and in keeping with the brand’s luxury image and heritage. We used natural materials, neutral colours, straight lines, rustic detailing and custom-made lighting to create a warm, homely environment reminiscent of a New York loft space. We also worked closely with Calvin Klein with the corporate roll out of our prototype scene, educating designers about the value of emotional design in Latin American markets WINTER 2020 | 31


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch SPACE ARQUITECTURA

JUAN CARLOS BAUMGARTNER FOUNDER AND CEO SPACE ARQUITECTURA

and how uniquely designed retail environments contributes to higher sales. We’ve worked with an extensive client base across Mexico, notably in the education environment where we’ve created safe play areas for nurseries with an emphasis on fun, vibrant educational play, as well as modern study areas for schools and colleges. We’ve also carried out major refurbishments in the hospital and healthcare sector where we believe 32 | WINTER 2020

focused attention on the emotional side of design elements, neuro architecture, plays an important role in contributing to the wellbeing of patients and quicker discharge times. Regardless of whether we’re designing a small space, large building, campus, shop our housing complex, our philosophy is always the same – to seek sustainable solutions which respect the environment and improve habitats.

You also mentioned benefits associated with sustainability, an integral feature inbuilt within your design processes. Could you tell us about the ‘Green Scale’ methodology implemented into each of your projects? The inclusion of wellness and sustainability elements is important to us at SpAce, as we have a responsibility to both our clients and neighbourhoods to be economical with resources as well as adopting environmentally friendly practices. We are proud of our achievements in this field, adding recognition in sustainability to our increasing portfolio of awards. Our ‘Green Scale’ methodology reflects the level to which each project has the potential to be sustainable. This consists of three levels: Light Green – Project includes energy saving techniques and a rational use of resources. Medium Green – In addition to the measures adopted under ‘Light Green’ this category also includes extra eco specifications and technology investments to increase energy savings. Dark Green - Fulfilling projects with LEED (international standard for the design, construction and maintenance of environmentally sustainable buildings and infrastructure) certification. A high level of ecological awareness and commitment. SpAce Arquitectura are indeed a visionary enterprise, constantly working to educate architects via university research on the benefits of neuro architecture for our homes, education and workplaces and using modern technological techniques to incorporate emotionally designed concepts into community environments.

Further information, images of projects the organisation has carried out throughout Mexico and beyond, together with up to the date industry news, services, and contact details, can be found on the company website: - https://spacemex.com


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch RADIX TECHNOLOGIES

Taking Device Management to the Next Level With digital devices being vital for an ever-increasing number of business and educational processes, here is a company that empowers organizations with state-of-the-art management tools to unlock the real potential of their device fleets, keeping them healthy, secure and optimally tuned to their mission. We have Radix with us who began as an IT integration company in the field of training and education and over the years shifted its focus to software development specifically on device management solutions. The firm proudly asserts, “We identified the digital transformation potential of Android based single-purpose devices, with a fast-growing number of digital devices used by organizations, require smarter and effective lockdown, administrative and support tools.” In dialogue with Nadav Avni, Marketing Director

What is your company’s value proposition? Our mission is to redefine device management and consolidate all devices, processes and stakeholders into one easy-to-use platform. Our cloud-based device management solutions, known as VISO, provide effective administrative and instructional capabilities to all stakeholders in the organization, seamless operation of all type of devices operating anywhere, with a rich set of relevant tools and unique user interface, and enable seamless group learning in a heterogenic environment. 34 | WINTER 2020

How are your products and services different from the competitors? Our device management solutions are unique because they are: Modular and flexible and can be customized Offering a rich set of relevant tools and unique user interface Cloud-based or on-premise supporting many work environments Offering an end-to-end solution, taking in mind and providing effective administrative and instructional capabilities to all stakeholders in the organization Platform agnostic, supporting all major operating systems: Android, Chrome, Windows and Apple Trusted and integrated by leading global device manufacturers and vendors Supporting many types of devices including interactive touchscreens and VR devices, which are very popular in today’s training and education environment Enabling group management and collaboration

• • • • • • • •

Does your product offering encourage innovation for the customer through versatility, usability, and efficiency? Our device management solutions enable users to increase administrative and instructional effectiveness, reduce operational complexity, and save time and money, making device management smarter and more focused.

What is your appetite for risk? Our experience taught us that even a small and innovative technology company like Radix has a fair chance to make a difference and pave the road to industry giants. We just need to be aware of our customers’ needs and look to the future. Having said that, we always had to think out of the box and not to be afraid to dare or take risks.


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch RADIX TECHNOLOGIES

“

Our solutions are implemented in millions of devices worldwide, helping to increase performance and stability while minimizing downtime, serving a wide range of clients

Radix has worked with several industries of different sizes. Can you provide us with one or two case studies describing the challenges that your clients were facing and how did your solutions help them to overcome those challenges?

In addition, the XR industry is booming, and with it aroused a new need to manage VR devices. We have foreseen this coming and we equipped our device management solu-

tion with a unique set of tools to manage VR devices, enabling centralized IT management, group management, collaboration across the VR device fleet, and above all taking coordination and learn-

Our solutions are implemented in millions of devices worldwide, helping to increase performance and stability while minimizing downtime, serving a wide range of clients: SMBs, enterprises, governmental organizations, security services, financial institutions, universities and education centers. We realized that firmware update for multiple remote Android devices was vital for our clients and a dream of many IT professionals, and recently we released a new module answering that need. WINTER 2020 | 35


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch RADIX TECHNOLOGIES

ing/training to the next level by creating immersive experiences. Our device management solution with its VR Command Center provides an end-to-end solution to many of our clients and device manufacturers and vendors partners.

NADAV AVNI MARKETING DIRECTOR RADIX TECHNOLOGIES

If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?

Innovation – we deliver cutting-edge •solutions capital – talented and rich •withHuman experience pushing us forward – we quickly adapt ourselves •to Agility the changing environment – we always try to excel •andExcellency make things perfect Reputation – our name proceeds us, •today we are an established company, known for our high-quality solutions and excellent customer service.

Is your organization pursuing growth and new business/market development with as much passion as it does operational efficiency? We are a pure B2B and B2B2C technology company, working with OEMs and vendors that will integrate our solutions in their firmware and with integrators and resellers that will offer our solutions as a stand-alone or as part of a comprehensive solution. We are constantly growing and planning to stay in the technological forefront, expand our offering and continue working on increasing our market share by partnering with leading global device manufacturers and vendors, that will see our solutions as an industry-standard in device management.

How powerful is your company’s strategic vision? We have been repeatedly chosen by leading global manufacturers and vendors as their preferred device management solution. Our partners and their customers understand the great added value we provide. Our solutions are embedded in their firmware as well as promoted to other devices used by their customers. 36 | WINTER 2020

We understand that in Q1 2020 Radix will be exhibiting at MWC. Can you tell us more about that? MWC is the largest trade show for the mobile industry. As a leading provider of device management solutions it is important for us to be there and meet with customers, partners and prospects. At MWC we will be showcasing our enterprise solutions, among them is our new tailor-made solution for telcos and operators, Android TV device management & MDM, letting them stay on top of

their device fleet, wherever their employees and customers are and whatever the use-case may be.

For more information about Radix and its offering please visit www.radix-int.com Or contact: Nadav Avni, Marketing Director nadav@radix-int.com


Cutting-edge device management solutions

Visit us at MWC, Barcelona Feb 24-27 2020 Hall 5, E61

We offer end-to-end device management solutions, consolidating all devices, processes and stakeholders into one easy-to-use platform. Our cloud-based device management solutions, known as VISO, enable users to increase administrative and instructional effectiveness, reduce operational complexity, and save time and money, making device management smarter and more focused.

VISO corporate use cases:

MDM/EMM

Single-Purpose Device Management

VR Command Center & MDM

Android TV Device Management & MDM

VISO benefits:

Modular and flexible

Supports many devices and OS

Serves all stakeholders

Cloud-based or on-premise solution

Managers

Project Managers

Integrated by leading device manufacturers

Tailored for single-purpose devices

Trainers

VR Coordinators

Our platform empowers:

IT Administrators

Centrally manage, monitor and secure your entire fleet

Tech support

Support your customers remotely in real-time

Analyze and optimize device usage

+1-833-9606350 (US Toll Free)

Make fact-based decisions based on reports

Easily manage the training on COSU or BYOD devices

info@radix-int.com

Control and guide immersive VR experiences

www.radix-int.com


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch ZYVERSA THERAPEUTICS

STEPHEN C. GLOVER CEO ZYVERSA THERAPEUTICS

Changing Lives Through the Power of Technology Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, ZyVersa Therapeutics, is working toward changing the treatment paradigm for treatment of chronic renal diseases and chronic inflammatory conditions. CEO, President and Co-Founder Stephen C. Glover explains how. Kidney disease directly affects 14% of the population of the United States, not only significantly reducing quality of life but also accounting for 18% of the Medicare/Medicaid budget. Despite the far reaching social and economic impact of kidney disease, there are still no approved disease-modifying drugs to treat it. Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, many of which are associated with pain, progressive disability, and inability to work, affect over 23 million Americans. Direct health care costs are in the range of $100 billion. Although great strides have been made in the treatment of inflammatory diseases with availability of biologics, they are not always effective long-term, and multiple and serious complications are common. ZyVersa is hoping to make a difference in treating these devastating diseases with their forward-thinking approaches. Originally named Variant Pharmaceuticals, the innovative firm has made great strides in its young life. Since its formation just under five years ago, ZyVersa is gaining recognition for its novel 38 | WINTER 2020

approaches to fulfilling unmet medical needs, in the $60+ billion anti-inflammatory drug market and the $13+ billion renal drug market. ZyVersa is led by a highly experienced and passionate team with extensive experience in all disciplines of the biopharmaceutical industry. The company has two novel, wholly owned product platforms – one focused on mediating cholesterol efflux and the other focused on mediating the innate immune response. Each platform has potential to develop and commercialize products for numerous indications. Here we look more closely about why these platforms represent potential breakthroughs in modern medicine. VAR 200 is a first-in-class cholesterol efflux mediator for the treatment of an orphan kidney disease known as FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.) FSGS presents a range of symptoms including fluid retention and swelling, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and progressive loss of protein in the urine, which commonly leads to kidney failure and need for dialysis or kidney

transplant. Preclinical data demonstrate that VAR 200 significantly reduces loss of protein in the urine, with potential to delay progression to renal failure and the need for dialysis and kidney transplant. In addition to FSGS, VAR 200 has potential to treat other chronic kidney diseases, such as diabetic kidney disease and Alport Syndrome. ZyVersa’s anti-inflammatory program also takes a novel approach to the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases by targeting the innate immune system. IC 100 is an inflammasome inhibitor targeting the adaptor ASC component. Preclinical data indicate that IC 100 blocks initiation of the inflammatory cascade and prevents perpetuation of damaging chronic inflammation. What makes IC 100 so unique from other industry approaches to inflammation? By targeting adaptor ASC, IC 100


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch ZYVERSA THERAPEUTICS

inhibits multiple types of inflammasomes. Other products in development, which target the sensor molecule component of inflammasomes, only inhibit one type of inflammasome, such as NLRP3. As numerous inflammatory diseases are associated with activation of more than one type of inflammasome, IC 100 has potential to target a broad range of inflammatory diseases. ZyVersa is initially targeting inflammatory conditions such as, lupus nephritis, diabetic kidney disease, NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis), and multiple sclerosis, but there is potential to treat a wide range of other serious inflammatory diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, atherosclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease. ZyVersa’s focus on inflammasomes comes at a prudent time. Inflammation is a hot topic within the pharmaceutical industry, and IC 100’s unique mechanism of action is gaining interest.

Like VAR 200, IC 100 has been developed by leading experts at the University of Miami. By joining forces with the University, ZyVersa has obtained an exclusive worldwide license for the technology and will be taking the product into clinical trials within the next eighteen months. ZyVersa’s CEO, Stephen C Glover, is an expert in the biopharmaceutical industry, with more than thirty years’ experience. During his early career he worked at Amgen and Roche, focusing on renal diseases and inflammatory diseases respectively. He has always kept a keen eye on these areas, noticing the lack of progress and dedicating the latter part of his career to developing unique treatments that can be effectively commercialized. In addition to his expertise and knowledge, Stephen is a highly regarded businessman with a clear entrepreneurial spirit and

aptitude for forging successful partnerships. Through his work with the University of Miami’s Innovation Group, Stephen licensed proprietary technology for both of the company’s current product platforms. Speaking to Stephen, it’s clear that although ZyVersa has the potential to penetrate two very lucrative therapeutic areas, at the heart of the company lies a dedication to helping people live better, healthier lives. He and his team are focused on developing therapies that are highly effective and fulfill significant unmet needs for those affected by devastating chronic kidney and inflammatory diseases.

To find out more about the ZyVersa and its innovative technologies, visit https://www.zyversa.com/ WINTER 2020 | 39


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch NEUROTRANSDATA

Revolutionising Healthcare Through Big Data Can big data be effectively deployed to manage disease? We look at NTD, a network of physicians who have pioneered the digitalisation of personalised healthcare. It all began in 2003. A group of 12 neurologists and psychiatrists decided they would meet several times per year and exchange ideas, experiences and ‘best practice’ strategies. A few years later, these 12 physicians decided to extend the notion of cross-practice cooperation and coordination to a larger group of like-minded neurologists and psychiatrists. In 2008, they founded NeuroTransData (NTD). At the first shareholders’ meeting, NTD had already encompassed 50 practices with 100 doctors. This number has steadily grown to more than 70 sites with 180 doctors and 650 nurses and assistants, treating about 600,000 patients per year in the neurological and psychiatric field. In only a decade, NTD has covered almost all regions of Germany. It has reached a size which makes the network a valued partner in epidemiological and pharmacological research, as well as the development of new and innovative treatments and digital tools.

DIGITALISATION AND PERSONALISATION NTD’s objective is a high standard of individual treatment for patients through the use of modern technology and treatment methods. It is a pioneer in the digitalisation of personalised healthcare, and 40 | WINTER 2020

since 2008 has managed a database compiling data on bipolar disorders, dementia, epilepsy, migraines, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease and motor disorders, and schizophrenia. The main focus is the MS database, in which 22,000 MS patients are currently being recorded over an average observation period of five years. What resulted was the comprehensive digital platform, DESTINY® - a database-assisted therapy decision support system – which is a pioneering concept for the outpatient neurological sector via the inclusion of various IT components. Through the active involvement of physicians and patients in DESTINY®, the individualised treatment of patients with the assistance of personalised healthcare at practices in the NeuroTransData network is already a reality. DESTINY® is unique in that it offers physicians and patients an integrated system that promotes networking and communication between both parties as partners, with the patient actively involved in the treatment process. It helps to achieve significant improvement and acceleration of treatment outcomes and optimises adherence and compliance. In turn, this can lead to substantial cost reductions - fewer hospital admissions, physician visits and days of incapacity for work, lower medical costs.

"This patient portal is like a direct channel between doctor and patient. I can see my patient's status at first glance, and so does the patient. This is a really valuable tool for visits and discussions with the patient,” says Dr Andreas Peikert, neurologist at Neurologicum Bremen. The accumulation of data, in turn, can enable a better understanding of the disease and its effects.

PHREND IS YOUR FRIEND One of the key modules in DESTINY® is the predictive model PHREND – short for ‘predictive healthcare with real-world evidence for neurological disorders’ - for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). PHREND makes it possible to locate the most suitable MS medication for an individual patient and predict disease progression under a specific treatment. Working with an experienced team of mathematicians and statisticians from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) AG, Switzerland, a unique algorithm was developed that can use past data from the NTD database to calculate how, in all likelihood, the disease will develop in a specific patient under the influence of various treatments. To obtain this type of prognosis, the physician first enters the patient data, such as gender, month and year of birth, date of MS diagnosis, current treat-


20 Most Innovative Companies to Watch NEUROTRANSDATA

ment, any previous treatments, current EDSS value, date of the last relapse and the number of relapses in the previous twelve months. The software uses the data to create a graphic, showing the degree of probability of the patient remaining relapse- and progression-free under a particular medication for a set period of two to four years. Physician and patient, therefore, receive an independent qualified second opinion that they can discuss together. In addition to the clinical data, important factors and preferences for the individual patient are taken into consideration in the treatment decision-making process. Ideally, there will be up to two or three treatment options from which doctor and patient can choose. The physician also has the option of printing out the result or emailing it to the patient so that they can think about again quietly at home. The system makes it possible for a genuine partnership to be enabled. It not only improves the relationship between physician and patient but also has an impact on the success of the chosen treatment by increasing treatment compliance. As Prof. Dr Stefan Braune, neurologist at Neurozentrum Prien and professor for neurology at the Technical University of Munich, says: “The name says it all.

PHREND is a friend and helper for the doctor and patient, taking shared-decision making to a new level.”

THE FUTURE OF MEDICAL PRACTICE The existing healthcare market is a crowded field of digital experiments. However, most are limited to single areas of use. A real patient management system containing the complete patient journey in an outpatient setting does not exist in the market. As a result of its innovative features, DESTINY® enters an open field in the outpatient sector and provides a unique solution that doctors cannot find elsewhere. In contrast to other solutions, DESTINY® also has high usability and practicability and can be easily integrated into the day-to-day work of doctors. It also offers high-quality medical content because of the knowledge pool and expertise of the medical professionals contributing to the system’s development. NTD has set an ambitious goal of providing high-quality, individualised treatment for patients using modern technologies and treatment methods. Its technological innovations mean it will cement its reputation for excellence in the field of neurology and digital healthcare solutions and also create an entirely new model of patient care.

"As a treating physician, I am always up-to-date as regards my patients. The patients, in turn, are much more involved in their treatment; they can adhere to therapy plans much easier and control their success. This way, patient care is significantly improved and optimised," Dr Monika Körwer, neurologist and psychiatrist at NeuroCentrum Grevenbroich, explains. Physicians often talk about patient partnerships, but reality often falls short. DESTINY® provides the platform for real patient participation in their treatment, increasing compliance, personal control and ensuring better treatment outcomes. And the innovation does not stop there – due to its modular construction, the system can easily be extended to cover other indications and areas of application. DESTINY® is also suited for integration into healthcare systems of other countries. In a digitalised healthcare environment, all stakeholders will be connected via systems like DESTINY®, from relatives and caregivers to pharmacies and hospitals. New models like value-based payment, individual therapy management and teleconsultations will mark the new standard of care. NTD ambition is to be on the forefront of this digital healthcare revolution. WINTER 2020 | 41


HEADING Feature SUBHEADING BUYOUTS MANAGEMENT

10 BIGGEST

MISTAKES

OF MANAGEMENT BUYOUTS 42 | WINTER 2020


HEADING Feature SUBHEADING MANAGEMENT BUYOUTS

For many managers, a Management Buyout (MBO) is their first venture as an entrepreneur. It takes courage to leave the relative security and comfort of a management position to face the challenges of ownership and independent accountability. However, on reflection, most managers find that the personal satisfaction of controlling their own destiny is one of the biggest rewards from a Management Buyout. Buying a company through a Management Buyout can be a shortcut to financial success. The risk is lower, the financing is easier to obtain, and the waiting period for a return on investment is shorter than starting a business from scratch. But pursuing a Management Buyout is extremely demanding. The pressures on managers, their colleagues, family and friends can be severe. And this is just to complete the deal. Once you’ve bought your company, the difficulties and challenges are unlikely to abate. The risks can be significant, even for a well-managed and successful business. Managers can largely reduce the stress by understanding the lessons learned by managers and advisors who have been through the process before them. This article highlights some of the biggest mistakes we see during Management Buyouts. WINTER 2020 | 43


HEADING Feature SUBHEADING BUYOUTS MANAGEMENT

1 NOT HAVING A LEADER AND CONFUSING “OWNERSHIP” & “EMPLOYMENT” You and your MBO team might all invest the same amount of money, so some of you might think that you should all have the same say in running the business. This won’t work. It’s absolutely essential that you understand that you are an employee first, and a shareholder second. No organization can operate without a leader – someone has to have the final say and make the tough decisions. While MBO companies typically have better corporate cultures than non MBOs, they still require the presence a strong capable leader. Once you’ve completed your Management Buyout you will no doubt feel better about expressing your views on the business, but you’ll still have a boss! And being a shareholder doesn’t change this. Being a shareholder means you directly benefit from the success of your business and the efforts of you and your team – it doesn’t mean that you now have an equal say on how the business is run.

44 | WINTER 2020

2 GETTING GREEDY – THE WRONG MIX OF FINANCING

There are various sources of financing that may be available to complete your deal – banks, term lenders, subordinated debt providers, private equity, vendor financing – all of which have different costs and attributes. Banks are your cheapest form of financing but they have strict rules that you need to live with while private equity is very expensive but also very patient. You may well be tempted to go for the cheapest financing and the one that allows you to keep the most equity for yourselves. This may not be the best approach. Why? Because the financing that you get to buy your company must also allow you to grow the company and weather the bumps along the road that you will inevitably experience. Once you’ve run some financial “what if” scenarios, you may decide that, for your long term success, you would be better off having a smaller piece of a much more successful and stable pie. This means financing your MBO with more equity type money and less bank debt.


HEADING Feature SUBHEADING MANAGEMENT BUYOUTS

3 NOT UNDERSTANDING YOUR FINANCIAL PARTNERS

Each of the sources of financing noted above has their unique rules of engagement and it’s very important that you understand these rules. Banks are not your equity partners and, if you bring on a private equity investor, you’ll soon discover that private equity partners are very different from your banker. Obviously you need to treat all your financial partners with openness, honesty and full disclosure. But one of the keys to successfully growing your business is to understand what each of your financial partners will and won’t do.

4 NOT SPENDING ENOUGH TIME ON THE SHAREHOLDERS AGREEMENT

There is probably not a more critical document for you and your managers in the Management Buyout than the Shareholders Agreement and it can also be one of the most difficult to craft properly. A well drafted Shareholders Agreement has to address all those difficult “what if” questions such as what happens if someone gets sick, dies, is fired (with or without cause) and what are the issues going forward that require a majority consent from the shareholders. How a shareholder exits the business and how, and at what value, do they sell their shares is a key topic that needs to be spelled out in the Shareholders Agreement. While many of these topics can result in fairly emotional discussions, getting these important issues on the table before you close the deal will allow you to avoid massive headaches and disruption down the road. Don’t kid yourselves – these issues will arise, so take care of them now.

5 NOT BEING CANDID AND HONEST ABOUT KEY ISSUES The best candidate for a Management Buyout is a business (or business unit) that can assume debt and is stagnating because management is being prevented from unlocking upside revenue opportunities by the current owners. In order to unlock the revenue potential, the MBO plan often calls for increased investment in product development, new equipment, staff training, marketing, and in the case of “carve outs” of non-strategic assets, a new accounting system. The management must operate as a team that can adapt to the new environment and unlock the upside revenue and accomplish other key objectives. If there are fault lines within management, they will be exposed. The sooner these issues are dealt with candidly and honestly, the greater the are chances of success of the Management Buyout.

6 DEAL FEVER: TAKING YOUR EYES OFF THE BALL The Management Buyout process is seldom straight forward or smooth. Negotiations often get derailed. Managers are tempted to focus more on the deal than the business and if the business results start to deteriorate it can scare off financial backers or raise the suspicion of the business owner / seller that management is deliberately impacting the results to help build the case to lower the price. Provided that the management team is well advised, it is usually possible to ensure that management is not exposed, or “left holding the baby,” if the deal fails to complete. One of the key benefits of dealing with a good advisor is that they ensure that you are not swamped by trying to do a deal, allowing you to remain focused on your company’s operations. WINTER 2020 | 45


HEADING Feature SUBHEADING BUYOUTS MANAGEMENT

7 NOT ANTICIPATING POTENTIAL “DEAL BREAKER” ISSUES

Some of the surprises that arise during a Management Buyout that threaten to derail the process include: Landlords who are not willing to let the seller off the hook on leases. Unexpected deal costs (including legal fees) that make it difficult to close the deal with the arranged financing. Financial backers changing the terms of their deal once they have completed their due diligence. An inability of your financial partners to agree on the terms of how they will deal with each other (covered in an Inter Lenders’ Agreement). Managers getting cold feet and opting out of the MBO An experienced advisor will have seen most of these issues before and will take steps to address them early in the process so as to minimize their risk to the deal.

• • • • •

10 NOT HAVING AN ADVISOR

8 NOT TAKING THE TOUGH DECISIONS

Once you’ve completed your MBO, your fate, to a large degree, rests in your hands. You may now be faced with difficult decisions that need to be made in order to successfully grow your business. And these decisions are made even more difficult if they involve managers who have participated in the MBO. Sometimes downsizing is required. Sometimes (more often than you would think) someone on your MBO team figures that, now that they are an owner, the rules don’t apply to them anymore. Most leaders who are faced with these tough decisions and who delay making it land up regretting not taking action sooner. And while it’s hard to fire someone who helped you buy the company, you owe it to your other partners to make the right decisions and move on.

9 NOT APPRECIATING THAT YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL

Most MBO companies do better than their non MBO peers. It’s not surprising to see companies excel post MBO (studies have actually tracked this phenomenon). And as owners, you and your team may be keen to start seeing a return on your invested capital. Since you have probably taken on a significant amount of debt to finance your Management Buyout, it’s important that your “financial” focus be on paying down this debt as quickly as possible. You need to go into an MBO with your eyes open – most of your financial partners expect to be paid out before you see any money (and while most bankers will consider allowing dividends at year end, its best to assume that they will say no). A good rule of thumb is that you should consider that your money is locked in for at least 5 years, assuming that you remain with the company. Provisions obviously need to be made to allow you to get your money out should you land up leaving the company.

Advisors and financial backers can help make or break a deal. For a manager, a Management Buyout is a life-changing experience and so it is important to pick an advisor that your managers can really trust and who will take the time to “educate” you on the risks of what potentially awaits you and not just talk about the upside. A Management Buyout advisor, like the golf pro, can help with selecting the right financial backers to get the MBO done while management can focus on running the business. There is no shortage of accountants, legal firms, bankers, and private equity firms that have an appetite for a good deal. However, it is important for the management team to feel very comfortable with their advisors and backers, as it is a bumpy ride and the managers may not be able to grasp all the ramifications as the process unfolds! Conclusion Management Buyouts present significant opportunities for business owners, financial sponsors and entrepreneurial management. For the business owner it is often a chance to retire and unlock their wealth in the business. For corporate parents, these transactions provide an opportunity to divest non-core operations and raise cash. From the perspective of management, Management Buyouts provide an opportunity to gain direct equity ownership of their business and create an entrepreneurial environment. And a Management Buyout is likely to be the best way that you and your team can build significant personal wealth. A final thought… take time to enjoy the journey. When you look back it may be the most rewarding time of your business career.

46 | WINTER 2020


DEAL DIARY Each issue, Business Worldwide Magazine will report on the latest transactional VC intervention, M&As, buyouts, refinancing and privatisations deals from across the globe to keep you fully informed.


Deal Diary WINTER 2020

STORA ENSO COMPLETES THE DIVESTMENT OF ITS STAKE IN THE DAWANG PAPER MILL Stora Enso completed the divestment – which was announced on 25 July 2019 - of its 60% equity stake in the Dawang Mill in China to its joint venture partner, Shandong Huatai Paper. The transaction will not have any material impact on Stora Enso’s operational EBIT. Following the transaction, Stora Enso’s net debt will decrease by approximately EUR 22 million and annual sales by approximately EUR 60 million. After this transaction, Stora Enso will have no paper production in China.

LEGAL ADVISOR TO STORA ENSO:

FINANCIAL ADVISOR TO STORA ENSO:

HR ADVISOR TO STORA ENSO:

CHINA YANGTZE POWER INTERNATIONAL’S $3.6 BILLION ACQUISITION OF 83% STAKE IN LUZ DEL SUR

LEGAL ADVISERS TO CHNA YANGTZE POWER STATION:

Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) entered into an agreement to sell its equity interests in its Peruvian businesses. Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) entered into an agreement to sell its equity interests in its Peruvian businesses; this included selling its 83.6% stake in Luz del Sur S.A.A. (Luz del Sur), to China Yangtze Power International (Hongkong) Co., Limited CYP for USD 3.59 billion in cash, (subject to closing adjustments for working capital and net indebtedness). Even though Luz del Sur (LDS) is the largest listed power company in Peru, this sale will also include Sempra Energy’s interest in Tecsur S.A., which provides electric construction and infrastructure services to Luz del Sur and third parties, and Inland Energy S.A.C., Luz del Sur’s generation business. The sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the Peruvian anti-trust authority and the Bermuda Monetary Tian Yuan Law Firm, Baker McKenzie, Muñiz, Olaya, Meléndez, Castro, Ono & Herrera, White & Case and Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano advised on the deal.

50 | WINTER 2020

LEGAL ADVISERS TO SEMPRA ENENRGY:


Deal Diary WINTER 2020

EUROXX SECURITIES ATHEX LISTING Machas & Partners represented Euroxx Securities S.A., acting as adviser to EUROXX Securities S.A., a Greek company active in the software business with respect to the delisting of the company’s shares from the Alternative Market of the Athens Stock Exchange and the listing of its shares on the Main Market of the Athens Stock Exchange. The Machas & Partners team included Partners Lydia Tsapara and Maria Antoniadou, Senior Associates Sofia Sventzouri and Konstantinos Thomopoulos, Associate Sissy Nakachtsi, and Legal Trainee Mary Achladianaki.

LEGAL ADVISER TO EUROXX SECURITIES S.A.:

SHAPES & SCULPTURES COMPLETES ROUND TABLE OF EUR 7.3 MILLION Piotraut Gine Lawyers, CJA Lawyers, Nerval Atem Lawyers, Cornet Vincent Ségurel Lawyers and Rozant & Cohen advised in the course of the operation. Shapes & Sculptures has just added CM-CIC Investissement to its capital to the value of EUR 7.3 million. Founded in 1985 by Jacques Tenenhaus and now headed by his son Mathias Tenenhaus, the independent group has a turnover of EUR 35 million and employs 150 people. Shapes & Sculptures’ clients are essentially actors in the cosmetics, perfume and luxury industry. In order to meet new market expectations, the SME has also developed integrated CSR practices that take into account the product life cycle from design, manufacturing, installation, to recycling. Thanks to the acquisition of CM-CIC Investissement, Shapes & Sculptures wants to accelerate its international development, in particular through external growth operations and to involve the main executives in order to prepare the company for advancement. Mathias Tenenhaus, President of Shapes & Sculptures, said: “We want to change scale by strengthening our international presence and expanding our business to the watch and jewellery and glasses markets.

LEGAL ADVISERS TO SHAPES & SCULPTURES:

LEGAL ADVISERS TO CMCIC INVESTISSEMENT:

WINTER 2020 | 51


Business Insight CONSULTANCY

Introducing the Business Worldwide Magazine's

Global Corporate Excellence Awards Winners 2019

Business Worldwide Magazine (BWM) rewards deserving, leading, companies and individuals annually in their highly competitive Global Corporate Excellence Awards. And 2019 was no different. The year’s entrants were as impressive as ever, leading the judging panels to an even tougher decision-making process than previously. Nominations for the sixth BWM Global Corporate Excellence Awards 2019 had a range of criteria to satisfy in order to be considered for the magazine’s initial longlist. Further judging then led to a corresponding shortlist of just five from an initial 40-plus entrants.

A CHECKLIST OF CRITERIA TO SATISFY IN NOMINATIONS PROCESS

“The 2019 Global Corporate Excellence Awards seek to identify and honour the most respected companies and their C-level executives,” explained a spokesman for BWM. “This means we are setting out to reward such achievements as outstanding performance, innovation and ethics right across international business and finance communities. “The sheer scale of the communities themselves meant that there was plenty of outstanding companies from which to choose. Colleagues, customers and CEO’s themselves had them to get in touch with ourselves and then fill in the nomination form in order to be considered by the judging panel.

In order to be considered for the awards in the first place, companies and individuals has to satisfy a number of criteria. This included ticking of a checklist of attributes and achievements which ranged from displaying innovation and creativity, vision and inspiration to corporate social responsibility and technical product excellence. Other criteria the judges looked at was how the company or individual had overcome recent challenges, what their sustainability record was like and what their future growth plans entailed. Being able to show customer satisfaction was also high on the judges list, as was staff engagement.

BIGGEST TURN-OUT FOR THE AWARDS IN ITS HISTORY

In other words, even the application process itself was pretty tough, never mind making the longlist and eventual shortlist.

To enter the BWM Global Corporate Excellence Awards 2020 look out for the nomination news in a future copy of the magazine.

52 | WINTER 2020

“We’re happy to say we had even more entrants this year than in previous competitions, so are delighted by the respect our magazine elicits by those very people we are encouraging to enter the Awards. “It just leaves us now to thank everyone who applied and to congratulate the eventual winners – who we are sure will go on to achieve even greater business accomplishments and rewards in the years to come.”


Business Insight CONSULTANCY

THE WINNERS GLOBAL CORPORATE EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2019 Amanda Fisher aka The Cash Flow Queen

Global PFI Limited/ Dr MKO Balogun

BEST CFO IN THE CASH FLOW EDUCATION INDUSTRY

BEST REAL ESTATE SERVICES COMPANY - AFRICA

Ameritus LLC

BEST CEO | FACILITIES MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY NIGERIA

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT & SERVICES FIRM OF THE YEAR - USA

Jumeirah Emirates Towers BEST BUSINESS HOTEL - DUBAI

AppDetex

Karin Finsterbusch Relocation Service

BEST FULL-SERVICE ONLINE BRAND PROTECTION COMPANY - GLOBAL

BEST CORPORATE RELOCATION BOUTIQUE - GERMANY

Areej Mohsin Darwish, Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC

BEST LUXURY BUSINESS HOTEL - ROME

FEMALE BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR - OMAN

Kolbe Hotel Rome Manuela Beil-Peter, Analytik Jena

EMPLOYEE-FOCUSED CHAIRPERSON OF THE YEAR - OMAN

MOST INNOVATIVE FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR - GERMANY

BELLIN, tm5

Novotel Brussels City Centre Hotel

BEST TREASURY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

BEST BUSINESS HOTEL - BELGIUM

Bridport & Cie SA

BEST EMPLOYMENT & LABOUR LAW FIRM - FRANCE

WEALTH MANAGEMENT FIRM OF THE YEAR- SWITZERLAND

Petrel & Associés Rihm Attorneys at Law

Dennis Monner, Secucloud Network GmbH

BEST INSOLVENCY & RESTRUCTURING LAW FIRM - SWITZERLAND

MOST INNOVATIVE CYBER SECURITY PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR

Serafim Sotiriadis and Associates

Digital Alchemist Consulting Services International BEST CONSULTING FIRM FOR IT STRATEGY AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Dorsett Singapore BEST BUSINESS HOTEL - SINGAPORE

Eidesvik Offshore GROWTH STRATEGY MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR - NORWAY

Express Corporate Housing BEST CORPORATE HOUSING SOLUTIONS PROVIDER - NORTH AMERICA

BEST INSOLVENCY AND RESTRUCTURING LAW FIRM - GREECE

Sheraton Santiago Hotel & Convention Centre BEST CONVENTION CENTRE - LATAM

Syncore Biotechnology BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANY OF THE YEAR - ASIA

Richard Teng, ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority FINANCIAL SERVICES CEO OF THE YEAR - UAE

Rosinger Group PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM OF THE YEAR - CENTRAL EUROPE

Graham Bright, Euro Exim Bank

Whitestar Asset Solutions

MOST INNOVATIVE EXECUTIVE IN THE TRADE FINANCE INDUSTRY

MOST INNOVATIVE FIRM | WEALTH MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY PORTUGAL

WINTER 2020 | 53


Global Corporate Excellence Awards BELLIN

SWIFT Transforming Cross-border Corporate Payments Global economies should mean faster global corporate payments. But progress has been slow and fragmented – until now. We look at what SWIFT for Corporates (g4C) is delivering for corporate clients. Globalisation and digitalisation together fuels demand from consumers and corporates when it comes to services. Everything seems to be moving faster, from online shopping to food delivery apps. People can execute instant payments to each other using e-Wallets and other apps. The demand for instantaneousness is beginning to bleed into corporate payment processing too. But it’s a demand which has been contentious. Fragmented and underdeveloped, global corporate payments have lagged behind other sectors. But now, the situation has changed, says Martin Bellin, CEO of BELLIN, a global leader in technology for corporate banking: “The corporate payments process has innately required a higher element of caution and protocol to execute safely. Simply put, businesses tend to be reluctant to introduce any solutions that may hinder security. The saving grace seems to have emerged in the form of SWIFT’s new corporate offering: SWIFT gpi for Corporates.” 54 | WINTER 2020

CORPORATE CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS MATTER A report by McKinsey and SWIFT in 2018 says: "International payments revenues total up to $200 billion globally, split roughly evenly between transaction fees and foreign exchange (FX) revenues. This equates to 27 per cent of global transaction revenues and is increasing by six per cent annually." "Although estimated revenue per cross-border transaction remains healthy at more than $20, evidence of changing dynamics and increasing pressure in the most established segments (such as B2B and remittances) is growing and becoming increasingly commonplace across the value chain. " So cross-border transactions can lead to potentially expensive and redundant spending from transaction fees and foreign exchange revenues. As a consequence, there is increased pressure in sectors like B2B payments to pivot. Says Bellin: “Many corporations feel the 27% glob-

al yield in global transaction revenues is negligent. But with a 6% average annual increase, those same companies may be singing a different tune very quickly. Again, the issue of maintaining ample security while introducing an effective technological solution will become increasingly important to those corporations.” The need for faster payment solutions has been driving the development of new technology worldwide. Terms such as instant payments, faster payments and real-time payments are used interchangeably. In practice, three distinct official regional systems have been established: Instant Payments for the SEPA area, Fast-


Global Corporate Excellence Awards BELLIN

er Payments for the UK and Real-Time Payments in the US. Something had to change to take global corporate payments to the next level.

REAL-TIME PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS While they all contain characteristics suited to their region, what all of these payment solutions have in common is a dedicated clearing system with multiple connected financial institutions. This system requires all participants to be connected for the structure to work. Each of these clearing networks is limited to its own infrastructure, and they end where the system stops. So none of these systems is really suited to the pay-

ments needs of global businesses who frequently make cross-border transfers. So innovators have tried to find a solution to connectivity. This dilemma is where SWIFT for Corporates (g4C) comes in. In early 2018, 22 banks and corporates piloted SWIFT gpi for Corporates (g4C), which is, says SWIFT, a “standard that enables corporates to initiate and track gpi payments, to and from multiple banks, directly from their ERP and treasury management systems.”

WHAT SOLUTIONS DO GLOBALLY ACTIVE BUSINESSES NEED? Instant payments for the SEPA area, Faster Payments for the UK and Re-

al-time Payments in the US all offer fast payment processing options but are limited to the reach of their network. There is still a small gap in which one solution can provide a quick and transparent solution for all cross-border payments. With network restrictions in mind, the potential answer is an innovation that focuses on creating a network as vast as possible. With most global banks now connected and companies already onboarding the new SWIFT g4C solution, the SWIFT network of banks is quickly becoming a vast ocean of global connectivity and a remarkable choice for cross-border payments for corporations. “What’s so special about this new techWINTER 2020 | 55


Global Corporate Excellence Awards BELLIN

MARTIN BELLIN

FOUNDER & CEO BELLIN

We are leading the market in leveraging SWIFT’s connectivity reach, and we intend to make full use of emerging technology which transforms global corporate payments for the benefit of our clients

nology,” says Bellin, “is the continuous end-to-end tracking by way of a gpi reference - the Unique End-to-End Transaction Reference (UETR). “You can compare the UETR to the tracking number of a parcel. The UETR represents a unique and unalterable reference for every gpi payment. “Thanks to this reference, every payment order is not only fully digitised and therefore extremely fast, but you also have a means of tracing the bank where a payment is currently located. SWIFT gpi enables speed and transparency for both cross-border payment status and fees.”

THE FUTURE IS GLOBAL While clearing systems such as Instant Payments, Faster Payments or Real-Time Payments present new opportunities for consumers and E-commerce, they are non-integrated solutions. They may not support cross-system and cross-border payments. The SWIFT g4C project does offer real potential for corporate treasury and payments, making cross-border pay56 | WINTER 2020

ments fast, traceable and transparent. But does the innovation end with the SWIFT system? Bellin thinks not: “As corporates continue to select different connectivity options, we will continue to see where the industry is heading and what solutions offer the functionality that is needed. “SWIFT has slotted itself in as a critical player in the connectivity arena with their considerable global reach and bank-

ing relationships. At the same time, other emerging technology providers are using interesting concepts like blockchain, which is opening many innovative bridges with cross-border payments. “Here at BELLIN, we are leading the market in leveraging SWIFT’s connectivity reach, and we intend to make full use of emerging technology which transforms global corporate payments for the benefit of our clients.”


B E L L I N tm5

Collaborative and Strategic Treasury Management Soft ware BELLIN reimagines corporate treasury with industry-leading treasury technology infused with strategic vision and global expertise. We offer a web-based and dynamically-integrated platform that excels in ensuring global visibility, user

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Global Corporate Excellence Awards THE KOLBE HOTEL ROME

CARLO IZZO CEO THE KOLBE HOTEL ROME

Kolbe Hotel Rome Where Ancient Civilisation Blends with Modern Luxury The hotel industry offers escapes from the ordinary. Carlo Izzo, CEO, The Kolbe Hotel Rome, describes a unique destination where ancient civilisation and modern trends combine, creating a luxurious retreat. Situated at the foot of Palatine Hill close to the River Tiber, with stunning views overlooking the Roman Forum and dating back to 1625, The Kolbe Hotel effortlessly combines timeless, traditional Roman architecture with contemporary elegance, tranquility and calmness. Beautiful inner courtyard gardens provide a peaceful haven to relax, yet the bustling metropolis of a thriving capital city and the remains of Roman civilisation – The Imperial Roman Forum, Circus Maximus and the world famous Coliseum - are merely a stone’s throw away. Carlo Izzo, CEO, provides us with interesting insights into Kolbe Hotel’s journey through time, its standing within the travel and hospitality sector and his vision for its future.

Could you explain the significance of the ‘Kolbe’ name and tell us about its origins? The hotel takes its name from a former resident, Father Maximillian Kolbe, 58 | WINTER 2020

(1891-1941) who studied and lived in this building. Kolbe was a man of deep faith, integrity and courage, as after having been arrested for hiding Jews and subsequently being deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, he volunteered to take the place of a prisoner who the Nazi guards had selected to starve to death as a punishment. Imprisoned in an underground cell, Kolbe and nine fellow prisoners suffered as a result of barbaric treatment. However, despite this, Kolbe did not complain about his conditions, but encouraged his fellow prisoners to stay strong and hope for release. Two weeks later, most had died of dehydration and starvation. Kolbe and the remaining survivors were then executed by means of a lethal injection as the guards wanted the cell emptied. The bravery and courage of Father Kolbe spread around the Auschwitz prisoners and his reputation eventually earned him the reward of a sainthood. Canonised as a martyr by Pope John Paul II in 1982, the name of Maximilian Kolbe has become synonymous with coura-

geous dignity. As a tribute to Father Kolbe, a chapel and small museum within the hotel are dedicated to his memory. The atmosphere, and in particular the silence of the garden, is reminiscent of a convent, bearing testament to the early life of Father Kolbe when resident here. In addition, through retaining ‘Kolbe’ in the title of our hotel, we ensure the name of this heroic volunteer is not forgotten.

In your opinion, how does The Kolbe Hotel stand out from its competitors? The hotel’s strategic location within close proximity to classic historic landmarks such as the Forum and the Coliseum makes it an attractive venue for tourists, holidaymakers, business travellers and event planners. It’s true to say that the hotel’s unique location and architecture effortlessly combines Rome’s past and present traditions. With its elegant suites, panoramic terrace and serene garden courtyard, The Kolbe Hotel is a spectacular, yet tasteful, mix of ancient and modern styles. Ad-


Global Corporate Excellence Awards THE KOLBE HOTEL ROME

WINTER 2020 | 59


Global Corporate Excellence Awards THE KOLBE HOTEL ROME

ditionally, we’re ideally placed for exploring the traditional sights of the city on foot, while also being conveniently located close to the subway system for wider travel. Proof of our popularity is borne out by an ever-increasing database of clients who regularly stay with us. I believe this is as a result of our idyllic surroundings, value for money, attention to detail and excellent customer service.

Where do most of your clients come from and does The Kolbe Hotel solely cater for the leisure and tourism industry? As with any capital city hotel, The Kolbe Hotel attracts clients from all over the world. The majority are actually from the USA, closely followed by visitors from Europe and Asia in roughly a 75:25 split between leisure and business. By no means do we only cater for leisure and tourism. Our meeting and 60 | WINTER 2020

conference room facilities have been the preferred venue for many political and corporate events and as a prestigious luxury hotel we were thrilled to receive the ‘Best Hotel and Conference Centre 2015’ award. Meeting rooms can be configured to individual specification and are suitable for dinners, training courses, seminars presentations and board meetings with spaces for up to 200 guests. The Kolbe Hotel is also extremely popular as a wedding venue. Adjacent to the church of San Giorgio in Velabro, the apse of the church lies within our garden, creating a romantic, peaceful atmosphere to celebrate such a special occasion. Our picturesque ‘Al Palatino’ Garden Restaurant on the sun terrace also forms the perfect setting for summer wedding receptions. We offer a wide selection of packages to suit all budgets and preferences, including gourmet menus, fine wines and champagnes, floral centerpieces and place cards, wedding cake and use of our Honeymoon Suite.

We have a total of 72 rooms, ranging from junior, double, deluxe and family rooms, all of which enable our guests to share common amenities and take advantage of a comprehensive array of facilities. So, whether our clients are large corporates hosting annual meetings or holiday making families from across Europe, all are guaranteed Kolbe’s dedicated personal services. Leading such a prestigious hotel is clearly a demanding role. Are you able to share any secrets for your success? I see my role as CEO as two-fold. Naturally my responsibilities encompass the day to day general management of the hotel, but my leadership must also include effective interaction with staff. I like to promote a strong teamwork ethic, and it is important to inspire and encourage all personnel to not only achieve their best, but to always be approachable, friendly and understand the needs of both our clients and other employees. How do you envisage the future for


Global Corporate Excellence Awards THE KOLBE HOTEL ROME

The Kolbe Hotel panning out? I see the future of The Kolbe Hotel as a positive and exciting one with potential for growth and development. We are fortunate in being based in the Italian capital of art and cultural tourism, thus benefiting from a rich archeological heritage. The area is home to numerous embassies and consulates and headquarters major multi-national organisations, and as a spiritual and religious destination, annual pilgrimages, sabbaticals and trips are commonplace. This all points to a favourable future. I do have a clear picture of how life will be for The Kolbe Hotel in one, three and five years’ time, and my ultimate aim is to communicate and share this with my team. In due course I see this having total buy in, such that everyone will see the vision as belonging to them too. An overview of The Kolbe Hotel’s history, location and facilities together with a photographic gallery of the rooms and suites offered can be found at the company website at www.hotelkolberome.com

WINTER 2020 | 61


Book Review THE AGE OF SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM BY SHOSHONA ZUBOFF

Book Review The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power By Shoshona Zuboff "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" by Shoshana Zuboff is a considerable book which contains themes of inequities in the unequal distribution of knowledge and power. These inequities produce threats to human autonomy. There are struggles between individual and group dominance including the infamous groupthink. The concept of groupthink subverts the pri- the more advanced knowledge based economacy and freedom of the individual.The author mies of communities west of the Urals versus also places a premium on the privacy and indi- the diverse peoples living east of the Urals. viduality of consumers. This aspect of the disChina had great challenges in replicating cussion is proper. the economic and educational successes in the There is too much emphasis on economic log- coastal areas with inland communities like the ic over the need to produce true value for con- yurts. In addition, great flooding and earthsumers. Great products sell based upon what quakes posed cataclysmic living disruptions. people truly need. For this reason, basic staple Overall, "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" products sold best in the worst of times like the by Shoshana Zuboff dissects some of the most Great Depression. When times are bad, people still need shaving equipment, soap, toothpaste criticized aspects of capitalism over the centuand a whole host of goods related to everyday ries in favor of promoting the common good in global commerce. living. REVIEW BY JENNIFER PETERSON Many economic systems have some form of negation(s). For instance, Gosplan struggled with State planning quotas which tended to be too bureaucratic and burdened with politics and structural inefficiencies. In addition, the Ural Mountains were a natural divide between

62 | WINTER 2020

SOSHONA ZUBOFF AUTHOR THE AGE OF SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM


Profile for Business Worldwide

Business Worldwide Magazine Spring 2020 issue  

1st issue of 2020

Business Worldwide Magazine Spring 2020 issue  

1st issue of 2020

Profile for bwhk2013
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