“I am optimistic about the coming years”
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Fives
“I am optimistic about the coming years”Frédéric Sanchez
Three major events stood out in 2018 for Fives:
First, the arrival of two new shareholders alongside management and Ardian: the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP). These two major Canadian pension fund managers are joining the great Fives adventure by committing to supporting its growth in the long-term and providing the necessary financial resources to accelerate its development.
2018 also demonstrated, for the second year running, our capacity to achieve over €2 billion in order intake, mainly in developed economies, whereas ten years ago Fives was essentially supporting the industrial development of emerging markets. Today it is in France, the United States, China and Japan - where the industrial players are very demanding - that Fives is recording the most business.
Finally, the financial year was unfortunately marred by a decrease in the Group’s gross operating profitability, which has fallen to a 15-year low in 2018, as a result of one-off difficulties in the implementation of some projects, leading to a deterioration of margins in three of our sectors of activity. We have already taken decisive action to re-establish sustainable and profitable growth, from 2019, by strengthening the acceptance criteria of our sales proposals, by modifying and renewing the Group’s organization, by consolidating internal processes, especially quotation processes, and by simplifying our directives to make them clearer.
In parallel, we have continued to build Fives’ future by maintaining our Research & Development efforts, to create innovative solutions in the field of processes and means of production. In this light, we have invested close to €80 million in 2 years in our joint company with Michelin, AddUp, to develop powerful 3D metal printing solutions.
Building the Group’s future, also involves supporting and growing the talents within it. Women and men whose expertise, loyalty and commitment represent Fives’ main asset.
Fives contributes to demonstrating that “Industry can do it” – this new company purpose was defined in Fall 2018. All these projects are an integral part of this great ambition.