a gem so difficult to pass on

a gem so difficult to pass on

2023-09-21 15:47:49

Family transmission? “It’s a question of ambition, work, confidence,” enthuses Caroline Poissonnier. Five years ago, the thirty-year-old took over with her brother Baudelet Environnement, a waste collection, treatment and recovery company, created by their grandfather.

This general director committed to the ecological transition embodies a new generation of leaders, highlighted in the study “family businesses stand the test of generations” carried out by the public investment bank Bpifrance, in partnership with Family Business Network (FNB) and Transmission Lab.

Longer term vision

It emerges from this study, based on 2,233 company testimonials, that those where the family holds a significant share of the capital are more managed by women (at 14%, compared to 8% for non-family companies). The reins of the company are also more easily entrusted to young people, with 10% of managers being under 40 (compared to 5%).

Managers of family businesses also think longer term, with four in ten (40%) saying they plan for more than six years (compared to 31% for non-family businesses). The sustainability of the company and its financial independence are more important to them than growth “at all costs”. And nine in ten (87%) are ready to invest in the fight against climate change.

Assets to know how to pass on

Baudelet Environnement also symbolizes what the study calls businesses “open strategists”. They are distinguished by their family identity, their territorial roots, a capacity for innovation and adaptation to social or climatic issues.

“Having younger leaders, they can count on their understanding of what is happening in society”, notes Nicolas Dufourcq, general director of Bpifrance during a video presentation. He also recalls that the Dutreil pact, insufficiently known, has made it possible since 1999 to transfer shares with partial exemption.

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A transmission that is being prepared

However, a quarter of family business managers are over 60 years old (26%, compared to 21% of other businesses). And, the study reveals, 47% of 60-69 year olds and even 36% of those over 70 have not “no succession plan has yet been formalized”.

This lack of anticipation partly explains why only 22% of these companies succeed in their intra-family transfer, compared to 51% in Germany, 64% in Poland, 75% in Austria or 80% in Italy, according to figures from FNB.

“A transition is never simple neither in France nor in Italy. It is a human subject and the training of new generations is always difficult », Notes Caroline Mathieu, the general delegate for France of this international network which supports family businesses, particularly upstream of the transfer.

Be “supported from the age of 50”

“Our role is to make them aware of the time a transmission takes and all the stages, she explains. From the age of 50, a manager must seek support, interact with his peers, study all scenarios. He must then implement a transfer plan, which takes between seven and ten years, by identifying a successor who has the skills, desire and age. »

According to the study, 76% of these companies have no “family governance tool”that is to say of a “family charter” allowing stakeholders to come together to talk about the future of the company, or a “family council”, to discuss its values ​​and its direction. With, in sight, the development of a “transmission plan”.

Transmission also to employees

“If all the conditions are not met, the company can remain independent with the family’s capital, and its manager not be linked to the family”note Caroline Mathieu. “More and more transmissions are also being made to employees”notes Nicolas Dufourcq, from Bpifrance.

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