This is a page that is turning for Saint-Gobain. The building materials group is withdrawing from Lapeyre, the brand specializing in home improvement, which it had acquired in 1996 when it bought Poliet, owner of the Point.P stores in particular. He has entered into exclusive negotiations with the German investment fund Mutares, and the transaction should be quickly finalized.
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Saint-Gobain is in any case investing the resources therein, with a sale to “Negative price”, which is unusual. “We are leaving 245 million euros in the company which will be used to cover its losses until the recovery and to finance the investment plan », Explains Guillaume Texier, Deputy CEO of Saint-Gobain.
A brand with its stores and factories
After being profitable for a long time, Lapeyre has been losing money for ten years (- 34 million euros in 2019 for a turnover of 641 million, against 800 million at the highest). An industrial carpentry company, with its doors and windows, the brand created in 1931 has diversified over time, manufacturing kitchen and bathroom furniture. A sector where competition is rather fierce, with groups with significant resources such as Ikea, Leroy Merlin and Castorama.
The more so as Lapeyre, with its 3,500 employees, also displays a particularity compared to the others: the sign has ten factories in France which supply its 126 stores. A strength at a time when local production is presented as a commercial asset, but also a weakness, with higher costs than competitors who source mainly from abroad.
Saint-Gobain intends to sell only to professionals
After launching a recovery plan in 2016, the managers of Saint-Gobain therefore finally threw in the towel. Lapeyre was the only brand in the group aimed at individuals, everything else being sold directly to professionals. This required approaches, particularly marketing, which have never been in Saint-Gobain’s DNA. “Experience has shown us that we are not necessarily the best owners for Lapeyre”, says Guillaume Texier, who denies selling off the brand and writing a blank check.
The 245 million euros brought to Mutares will be housed in a specific structure, with a sequestration system, which will release the amounts as the plan progresses.