PMI: the French GENEO fund will invest in Italy in partnership with Brian and partners – The affaritaliani.it interview with Andrea Bricchi
The Brian and partners holding company, founded in 2019 on the initiative of the Piacenza manager Andrea Bricchi, continues its growth path, both on the equity front and on that of M&A operations (mergers & acquisitions, ed.), signing very important agreements with the French fund GENEO Capital Entrepreneurs, one of the most active and promising on the European financial scene.
In particular, the French are expanding in Italy and have found in Brian and partners the point of reference for ongoing operations. The two companies are following international acquisitions and mergers, right from the negotiation and due diligence phase, to then guide the new team to the widest possible growth over the medium term.
We asked Bricchi for some more details.
How do you see the Italian and European economic situation?
“In recovery. A U-shaped shot, I’d say. The global pandemic has turned the tables, creating countless problems and some opportunities. We cannot ignore the new boundary conditions and continue as if nothing had happened. You have to adapt, do your best with what you have. There are categories in great suffering, others that have even benefited from this drama. We must be attentive to jobs, which are sacred, just as we must try to support those in difficulty, while creating the conditions to restart in the best way in the long term. Economics is a bit like tennis. You can lose a couple of sets, but if you win the next three you get success. The important thing is not to give in “.
Brian and partners grows from year to year …
“Yes, we are always small, we were born recently, but we are growing beyond all expectations in all our fields of action. We have hired other resources and will continue to do so, focusing on young people and the female component, who are already the majority in the company today ”.
Lately you mainly follow M&A operations, then?
“Brian moves with ease on this terrain. Our vocation is to make companies grow at 360 degrees. I wouldn’t say we mostly follow M&A. We follow companies in their growth process, which also includes assistance in the event of mergers or acquisitions ”.
“We follow companies in a non-invasive way. We do not replace the direction, we support it. We work with them, not for them. And we try to identify areas for improvement to increase the value of companies without risk. Let me give you an example: ABC SpA, to say a random name, offers high quality products, but has been stuck on a hypothetical turnover of 10 million for some years. In all, it has six or seven important customers, but it does not acquire new ones and is unable to locate itself abroad. He believes he is using internal resources badly and continues to lose margins. What do we do? A growth plan shared with owners and management. We go to the company with them and follow them to the customers. Let’s try to understand where the mechanism jams, how to optimize industrial processes and human resources. So simple that it almost always works. Our added value is above all in the widespread network of professionals, customers, diplomats, institutions and players in the sector, both in Italy and abroad “.
What if it doesn’t work?
“We explore streets. If the first one doesn’t work, we’ll try another one, like Google Maps. You can also try to sell the company or go public. There is no single possible solution, rationality, preparation, study and imagination are needed. Our job is to find solutions ”.
How did you find out about GENEO?
“We met a few months ago. Some French officials had flagged us as potential strategic partners and contacted us. A feeling was born immediately. We are now working together on operations between France and Italy. In particular, a due diligence is underway, of which for obvious reasons I cannot disclose the details. For the purely financial part we use Arkios Italia, while for the legal part the team is completed with AMTF. They are all names of great importance on the Italian scene. I am very proud that Brian is part of such a high level team. I hope that more and more entrepreneurs will choose us to grow their companies ”.
Do you meet in Piacenza, Milan or Paris?
“We gather where it is needed. Online, in Piacenza, Milan, Paris, by customers… The last time on a golf course. A very profitable day, however. You have to love your job “.
Do you work only in France and Italy?
“With GENEO yes, while with Brian no. We are active on the international scene. This year, in particular, on Germany and the United States, which also represent our starting point, having immediately laid the foundations for collaborating with important New York boutique banks and investors ”.
Why New York?
“Because I studied there for some time and I kept some friends who then, over the years, have become customers and partners. The name actually comes from this. Lawyers, managers, investors. Most of them are in Manhattan, by the way. Before Covid I used to go at least once a year. I think we will be back within a few months and I will not be alone. I would like to organize a conference, a meeting point between Italians who want to export and Americans who can facilitate them. There is a lot of work ”.
And in Germany?
“We were chosen by the MiSE among the best innovative companies and we had the opportunity to interface with potential German customers. It will not be a short process, but we are also moving in that direction. Our vocation is certainly cosmopolitan ”.
What can Brian and partners do, in a nutshell?
“As mentioned, Brian helps his customers to grow, to optimize processes, to improve margins, to acquire new customers and new markets, to dialogue with credit institutions, to better manage the work team. And it does so by providing management assistance and bespoke software to automate processes. Often it acquires a minority share of its customers, and then resells it, earning on the growth margin “.
How many companies have you joined so far?
“Five. One has also already left. We only have the time needed to put the companies on track. Then we let them take off on their own ”.
And with credit institutions, what can you add that is not already inherent in the companies you follow?
“Knowledge. For example, we work a lot with Banca di Piacenza. It is a popular one, with a strong local vocation. And it is for this reason that he knows the productive fabric of the territory in a capillary way. It adapts to the specific needs of individuals with great flexibility, providing tailor-made solutions that can hardly be found in other industry giants. The fundamental element, also in this case, is the knowledge, the mutual relationship of trust that has been established over the years “.
What will be the driving sectors in the near future?
“All. There are no impossible sectors. The essential thing is to do things in the right way and without preconceptions. And above all to have trust, because without it nothing can be built ”.
Having to choose one?
“I would choose too many. I can say that the world of sustainable mobility fascinates me a lot. The theme of the environment and global warming will be central in the coming decades. We can no longer afford mistakes. And mobility will have to be a fundamental element, with electricity, hydrogen, all that is most efficient and least problematic that modern technologies offer us. We are making investments in this direction, with EasyCharge, of which we hold a substantial share, but also with Eco Circular. As well as in the world of digital communication and e-commerce, both with the newborn Andrei.shop and with partner companies, such as Blacklemon, which we have recently met and with which we are finding great affinities. But everything is possible, every idea has within itself the flame of opportunity. You have to know how to feed it in the right way “.
Aside from that, we recently saw her conducting an orchestra.
“Yes, the Farnesiana orchestra, in two concerts that are memorable for me, one in San Giovanni and one in Palazzo Farnese”.
How is the work of an entrepreneur reconciled with conducting?
“Like any other passion. I studied, I worked hard, in my free time and I got a splendid result, which I never would have thought possible. I intend to continue, because art, music, study, I am very passionate about. But it’s not my job, it’s just a wonderful way to distract myself from time to time ”.
Where do you find the time to do everything?
“Time exists, for everyone. It is the method that must be found. We need to organize ourselves in the right way “.