Penauille Polyservices SA

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Penauille Polyservices SA

6, Allee des Conquelicots
94478 Boissy Saint Léger Cedex
Telephone: (+33) 1-45-10-64-00
Fax: (+33) 1-45-10-64-10
Web site:

Public Company
1970 as Etablissements Penauille
Employees: 58,144
Sales: EUR 1.27 billion ($1.12 billion) (2001)
Stock Exchanges: Euronext Paris
Ticker Symbol: PPS
NAIC: 561720 Janitorial Services; 561790 Other Services to Buildings and Dwellings; 488119 Other Airport Operations; 561612 Security Guards and Patrol Services; 488190 Other Support Activities for Air Transportation

Fast-rising Penauille Polyservices SA is one of the worlds leading commercial services companies, operating through two primary divisions: Business Services, including cleaning, security, maintenance and engineering, call center and switchboard management, luxury printing and packaging, temporary personnel, and other services, and which accounts for about 46 percent of the companys annual revenues; and Airport Services, operated through subsidiaries Servisair and Globeground, which is the worlds leading provider of ground-handling services to major and mid-sized airports, which represented 54 percent of the companys sales of nearly EUR 1.27 billion in 2001. While Penauilles Business Services division remains highly focused on France, where it is market leader, its Airport Services component has made it an internationally operating company, with a presence in more than 200 airports in 40 countries worldwide, and providing services to some 850 airlines. Europe remains the companys single largest market, representing more than 85 percent of sales; the company has been building a presence in the United States, which contributed about 13 percent of sales. Penauilles positioning in Airport Servicesbuilt largely on the acquisitions of Servisair in 1999 and Globeground in 2001has given the company a strategic position in the upcoming deregulation of the European airline industry, slated for 2003. Penauille is led by founder and majority shareholder Jean-Claude Penauille and is quoted on the Euronext Paris stock exchange.

Cleaning Up France in the 1970s

Jean-Claude Penauille founded Etablissements Penauille in 1970 as a cleaning operation targeting the commercial business market. Penauilles company grew throughout the 1970s, remaining focused on the Paris region. Toward the end of the decade, however, Penauille sought to expand his business into other areas of France. At the same time, Penauille wanted to try out a number of management theories he had been developing, particularly that of building up a network of largely autonomous business units.

In 1979, Penauille made its first acquisition, purchasing another cleaning operation in the center of France. Penauille was later to make it a practice of leaving in place existing managers, who were given responsibility for the subsidiaries day-to-day decisions. In this way, Penauille was able to remain responsive to its growing number of local markets.

The companys success in integrating this first subsidiary encouraged it to expand its network, and in 1981 the company began opening a series of branch offices. Once again, local managers were given a great deal of independenceand responsibility. While Penauille expanded into new geographic markets, it also began looking to expand into new business areas. In 1985, the company added a new cleaning segment, that of the hospital market, when it acquired two companies, both based in the Paris region.

Penauille continued to develop its cleaning services operations through the end of the 1980s. Yet the company was already preparing to expand its base of operations and to redefine itself as a business services company. In 1989, Penauille took its first step toward achieving this expansion when it acquired a company that specialized in providing luxury printing and packaging services to the business market. At the same time, Penauille continued its geographic expansion, adding branch offices in Toulouse, Pau, and Lyons. Then, in 1990, the company launched a new subsidiary in Monaco.

Business Services Group in the 1990s

Penauille was to undergo a dramatic transformation during the 1990s, developing from a relatively minor cleaning company into one of the French markets largest business services providers, before leaping onto the world stage as a major player in the airport services sector. Geographic expansion played a primary role in the companys growth, as it continued to build up its French network with new branch office openings, including eight new offices created in 1991 and five more added in 1992.

Yet much of the companys growth during the period was fueled by a steady series of acquisitions. The first of these came in 1991, when Penauille acquired six smaller companies. These acquisitions also brought the company into a new business area, that of security services. The following year, Penauille continued its acquisition drive, buying up four new cleaning services companies, and adding a new security services company as well. In 1992, also, Penauille took its first step into a promising new market: airport services. Yet this sector was to remain a minor one for the company, in part because of the highly regulated airport industry, which had assured virtual monopoly control over the services segments of the countrys airports, barring Penauille from entry.

Penauille continued growing in 1993, adding a new company in the south of France. In that year, also, the company began preparing its public offering, rolling out a new IT system, adding its own training facility, redeveloping its maintenance operationsincluding building up an engineering componentwhile continuing to expand its national branch network with the opening of three new offices. The company also instituted a quality program.

The year 1994 represented a turning point for Penauille. The companys national network expanded again, into the Corrèze region, with the purchase of a cleaning services operation located there. Penauilles efforts to achieve higher quality levels were rewarded in 1994 by the granting of ISO 9002 certification to its Boissy-Saint-Léger branch facility. That certification was to become just the first in a series of ISO 9002 and other quality certifications.

By then, Penauille had grown to a company with more than 9,000 employees across a network of more than 60 branches and subsidiaries, which combined to post more than the equivalent of EUR 100 million in annual revenues, giving it the fifth place position in the French cleaning and business services sector. That market remained highly fragmented, with more than 9,000 companies, most of which were comprised of less than 50 employees, sharing a market that was already estimated at more than EUR 5 billion at the time.

Penauille recognized the opportunities to be had in consolidating the sector. At the same time, gaining in size was to help it attract a new class of large-scale corporations. The lingering recession of the early 1990s forced more and more companies to seek cost-cutting initiatives, and numbers of corporations now turned toward outsourcing many of the services, including cleaning and maintenance, that had formerly been handled in-house. For this reason, the services sector was to witness strong growth through the 1990s.

Penauille was committed to gaining a primary place in the business services market. The company took a big step toward achieving its growth objectives with the acquisition of cleaning services firm Groupe C in late 1994. Founded in 1975 and boasting annual revenues of more than EUR 30 million, Groupe C helped boost Penauille to within reach of its closest rivals, which at the time included GSF and Abilis.

Global Airport Services Leader in the New Century

In order to finance the Groupe C acquisition and to provide capital for future acquisitions, Penauille went public, selling 16 percent of its shares on the Paris Stock Exchanges secondary market in December 1994. Jean-Claude Penauille was the companys primary shareholder, while much of the remaining stock was held by a solid base of institutional investors. The public offering also led the company to change its name, to Penauille Polyservices, to highlight its diversified services offerings.

The company continued its acquisition drive in 1995, buying up four more companies, all of which were located beyond the companys Paris region headquarters. Penauille continued adding to its quality certifications as well, adding 14 new ISO 9002 certifications in that year, and 12 ISO 9002 certifications in the following year. In 1996, also, Penauille acquired two new cleaning services companies, once again located outside of its Paris home, strengthening the companys national reach. In that year, Penauille diversified into a new services sector, that of industrial services, acquiring a company named Peco.

The following year, Penauille extended its cleaning services operations with the purchase of Net Expansion, a company that specialized in offering cleaning services for nuclear energy facilities. The company also boosted its security component, opening three new branch offices for that operation. In 1998, Penauille acquired RMTI, which gave it climate control and electrical engineering capabilities, bringing Penauille closer to becoming a full-range provider of business services.

Company Perspectives

Since the beginning, our strategy has aimed at constantly increasing the depth and breadth of our offer by multiplying our capacities and strengthening our network through a vigorous acquisitions policy. Furthermore, sharing know-how between the two ranges of our services, now more equally balanced, is precisely the strategic path we intend to pursue.

Penauilles airport services wing had remained modest throughout the 1990s. That position began to change in 1998, however, when Penauille acquired GSA from French airline AOM. GSA operated ground services, including passenger services, and aircraft handling services, in airports throughout France. The addition of GSA gave Penauille operations in eight of Frances airports, including the countrys two largest airports, Roissy and Orly.

Penauille had been making strong growth gains, nearing EUR 200 million in 1996, topping EUR 300 million in 1997, and soaring past EUR 400 million in 1998. Yet airport services remained the smallest part of the companys operation, at about 25 percent of sales. Meanwhile, Penauille remained wholly focused on the French market, despite the increasing internationalization of its core businesses and its major clients. The decision by the European Community to deregulate the regions airports, which, for the most part remained monopoly controlled, also promised a new era of international competition.

In 1999, Penauille played the white knight to Englands Servisair Plc, which was fighting off a hostile takeover attempt by construction-turned-services group Amey Plc. Servisair accepted Penauilles buyout offer, which not only topped Ameys bid, but also promised to leave Servisairs management in place. Indeed, Servisair was quickly to become Penauilles international airport services brand.

Servisair had been founded in 1954 by the British and Commonwealth Shipping Company, taking on the name Servisair in 1967. Dedicated to ground handling and airport services such as passenger ticketing and check-in services from the start, Servisair benefited when the United Kingdom became one of the first European countries to abolish services monopolies in many of its airports. Servisair grew strongly, and by the 1990s had become the largest independent airport services group in the United Kingdom.

Servisair had not limited itself to the United Kingdom; the company had begun expanding internationally in the mid-1980s, acquiring operations in the Netherlands and establishing offices in Spain and Portugal, before expanding to the Republic of Ireland at the end of the decade. Servisair went public in 1994, listing on the London Stock Exchange, then continued its expansion, with operations in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

Penauilles £94 million offer transformed the company into an international operation and one of the largest airport services companies in Europe, with revenues of more than EUR 920 million by 2000. In that year, Penauille entered the U.S. market, acquiring two ground handling services businesses, Global, based in Cleveland, and Tri-Star Aviation, based in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Placed under its Servisair subsidiary, the acquisitions gave Penauille operations in airports in 18 cities in the United States. These acquisitions also helped complete the internationalization of Penauilles saleswith 50 percent of the companys revenues now coming from outside of France.

Penauilles operations were now more or less evenly divided between its airport services and business services divisions. If the former was to become the companys largest revenue generator, at 56 percent of 2001 sales, Penauille was not neglecting the latters growth. Already in 1999, the company had continued to strengthen its French presence, buying a company in Angers, which also gave it offices in the north of France. In that year, also, Penauille took its first steps in internationalizing its business services operation, launching subsidiaries in Italy and Portugal. Then, in 2000, Penauille brought its business services division into Spain, with the acquisition of that countrys Selmarsa, a cleaning company.

Penauille continued to build on its two divisions through 2001, notably with the acquisitions of Groupe Capricorne, which gave it cleaning services operations in the Brittany region, and GEC, which operated in the countrys southeastern region. At the same time, Penauille moved to expand its business services divisions on the international scene, acquiring Knights, based in the Republic of Ireland.

Key Dates

Company is founded by Jean-Claude Penauille as Etablissements Penauille, offering cleaning services to the Paris region.
Penauille makes its first acquisition, institutes policy of creating autonomous subsidiary and branch office operations.
Company enters hospital cleaning specialty through acquisition of two companies in Paris region.
Company enters security services; acquires a total of six companies during the year.
Penauille begins airports services operations.
Company acquires Groupe C and takes a listing on the Paris Stock Exchanges secondary market.
Company acquires Peco, adding industrial services capacity.
Company acquires Net Expansion, which specializes in cleaning services for nuclear facilities.
Penauille acquires AOM subsidiary GSA, an airport services provider; acquires RMTI, which adds electrical engineering services to the business services portfolio.
Company acquires Servisair, the leading airport services company in the United Kingdom.
Company acquires ICS, the leading U.K. airplane cleaning company; acquires Global and Tri-Star Aviation, both airport services providers in the United States.
Penauille purchases 51 percent of Globeground, the ground handling and airport services subsidiary of Lufthansa.
Penauille completes acquisition of Globeground, becoming the worlds leading airport services group.

Yet airport services remained the companys most dynamic division. In April 2000, Penauille acquired ICS, the leading airplane cleaning services provider in the United Kingdom, which operated in 17 airports in England and Ireland. Then, in May 2001, Penauille announced that it had reached an agreement with Germanys Lufthansa to acquire that companys airport services wing, Globeground. The purchase, which was to take place in a two-step process to be completed in July 2002 for a total cost of more than EUR 350 million, transformed Penauille into the worlds leading airport services company, adding operations in more than 115 airports worldwidebringing Penauilles operations to a total of 200 airports in 40 countries and on four continents, and pro forma revenues of more than EUR 1.5 billion.

The deregulation of Europes airports was slated for 2003, giving Penauille the prospect of large new markets for its future expansion. At the same time, the company was able to look forward to a continued boom in the business services sector, as the trend toward outsourcing was expected to remain strong in the new century. Penauille intended to remain a leading player, looking forward to the coming consolidation of the as yet highly fragmented business services market.

Principal Subsidiaries

Penauille: Globeground: Globeground Holding (Germany; 51%); Etablissements Penauille; Protecnet; Penauille Ingenierie; Sarema; Sam Sarema; Generale de Prestations; Nef Entreprises; Penauille Polysecurite; TAT; KMI; CVert; Miroir 2000; Rev; Aubnet; Polyurbaine; Trocme; Proclean; GEC; Capricorne Proprete; GES; Selmar (Spain); Penauille Italia; Safira (Portugal; 49%); Knights (Ireland; 75%); Polyassistance Aeroportuaire Servisair: Servisair Plc (U.K.); Servisair Holding BV (Netherlands); Servisair Greece; Servisair Asia Ltd (Hong Kong); Servisair Norge Ltd (Norway); Servisair Ireland Ltd; Servisair Denmark A/S; Servisair Deutschland GmbH; Servisair Itali Spa; Servisair Espana SA; Servisair Portugal Lda; Servisair France SA; Heathrow Cargo Handling Ltd (U.K.; 50%); Global Ground Services Inc. (U.S.A.); Servisair Inc. (U.S.A.).

Principal Divisions

Business Services; Airport Services.

Principal Competitors

ISS A/S; Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.; Rentokil Initial plc; ServiceMaster Co. (SVM); Grupo Ferrovial SA; Ecolab Inc.; All Star Maintenance Inc.; Societe dAmenagement Urbain et Rural; Toyo Construction Co Ltd.; ABM Industries Inc.; SOGEA; Kier Group plc; Sanitors Southwest Inc.; Vorwerk und Co.; P Dussmann GmbH und Co KG; Austin Industries Inc.; Covanta Energy Corp.; Spotless Group Ltd.; One Source; Tokyu Community Corp.; Sho-Bond Corp.; MITIE Group PLC; Asea Brown Boveri NV/SA; Pedus Services Inc.; O.C.S Group Ltd.; ISS France SA; Japan Maintenance Co Ltd.; VA TECH ELIN EGB GmbH; Unicco Service Co.; Eulen SA.

Further Reading

Cori, Nicholas, and Hubert Tassin, Un entretien avec Jean-Claude Penauille, Journal des Finances, August 23, 1999.

Fainsilber, Denis, Penauille devrait acquerir le britannique Servisair, Les Echos, March 15, 1999, p. 24.

Mason, Jeff, Lufthansa to Sell Ground Services to Penauille, Reuters, May 30, 2001.

Penauille Plans Share Sale to Finance Acquisition, Reuters, May 31, 2001.

Secondi, Jacques, Peanuaille soccupe de tout, Nouvel Economiste, May 3, 2002.

M. L. Cohen