By the end of October, SWELL a.s., the leading Czech provider of services in applied research and development for automotive industry, based in Hořice, Hradec Králové Region, will have changed its ownership. Genesis Private Equity Fund II (GPEF II), which was the owner of 96% stake, sold its share to the international group Altran. Together with GPEF II also the executive managers of SWELL sold their minority stake, and Altran becomes the sole owner of the company.
SWELL a.s., after more than a 20-year long history, has grown into a respected research and development partner for companies and suppliers in the European automotive industry. This distinct position and continuing strong growth, as well as expansion of its portfolio of services, were among the main reasons for acquisition by Altran, the world’s largest provider of high-tech engineering and construction services for a wide range of industries, including automotive and aerospace, headquartered in Paris.
Commenting on the acquisition, Dominique Cerutti, Chairman & CEO of the Altran Group, stated: “With the acquisitions of SWELL and BENTELER Engineering, announced earlier this month, we have rebuilt our capacity and capabilities in the region. SWELL also offers potential to be integrated to our Industrialized GlobalShore® network as a nearshoring platform, which will be a differentiator in providing our automotive clients around the globe with an integrated offer addressing the complete vehicle.”
Since its establishment in 1993, SWELL has developed into one of the leading providers of services in the field of applied research and development, construction and testing for automotive industry in the Czech Republic. The company has been recognized as a supplier and partner of several automotive brands and their suppliers. The company’s most important long-term customer has been Škoda Auto, to which Swell provides construction and CAD/CAE services, special development testing, as well as supply of prototype parts. The other important clients include Magna, Hella, Continental, Bosch, Honeywell, Iveco.
The entry of Genesis into Swell in 2014 represents another example of generation succession. The original founders intended to exit the company and Genesis fund acquired their stakes. The company continued its development with SWELL’s existing management team, strengthened by a new chairwoman of the board of directors with extensive experience in the field of automotive industry.
“After the entry of Genesis and with the strengthened executive management, SWELL has further accelerated its development not only by growing its sales volumes, but also by the expansion of the services offered and building of new capacities,” says Jan Tauber, Managing Partner of Genesis Capital, which provides advisory to Genesis private equity funds. It is the experienced and competent management team that Genesis Capital considers one of the most important factors determining potential investment into a company.
Lucie Baleková, the current chairwoman of SWELL’s board, adds: “Under the ownership of Genesis we set a new development strategy and considerably accelerated the development of the company. As a prerequisite for further growth we strengthened processes, internal organization and infrastructure of the company in order to facilitate its strong growth. We also started and currently are finalizing the third phase of the construction of the Development Services Centre, which will significantly expand the capacity of offered services.”
The number of employees, highly qualified experts, has grown in the last years to the total over 160. Petr Havlík, managing director and member of the board of directors of SWELL, explains: “In order to provide development services of the highest quality, it is necessary to employ experienced industry experts. Such employees work in SWELL and their integration into the activities of Altran will provide mutual synergies.”
“We are pleased that the new owner of SWELL is the global leader in the industry, which will be able to utilize the strong foundations and potential in SWELL for further development in Hořice, in the Czech Republic, and in the broader region. I consider the investment role of Genesis in SWELL as very successful,” evaluates the transaction Jan Tauber.