Chairman's message  

 

 

“2013 will be a year of ambition, growth and performance.”

 

 

Frédéric Sanchez,

Chairman of the Executive Board

 

      

2012 was marked by the celebration of our bicentennial. Created from the 19th century merger between the two century-old
businesses of Cail and Fives-Lille, and the subsequent acquisition of several more companies, each with a long history, Fives has always adapted successfully to the technological and organizational fluctuations that have characterized the industrial revolutions of recent centuries. Since the first steam locomotives in the 19th century through the prestigious structures such as the Alexandre III Bridge, the Gare d’Orsay train station, the elevators of the Eiffel Tower and the Tancarville Bridge, Fives has evolved to become a leading international reference in industrial engineering. Today, the Group is, among others, present in the automotive industry (in Europe, in Brazil, China, the USA and Russia), in steel (in China, India and Russia), in aluminium (in Canada, the Middle East and Russia), in glass (in Brazil and Turkey), in cement (in North Africa, Brazil, Mexico, the Middle
East and Southeast Asia), in logistics (in Europe, North America and Japan), and lastly in energy on every continent of the world. Throughout its history, the epic story of the Fives group is united with the major events in the world for industrial and economic development.

 

 

The history of Fives is also about 200 years of personal journeys. But no history of Fives could be complete without mentioning the men and women who built this inspiring company. In the souls of the engineers is an open-minded view of world and its diversity, having an entrepreneurial spirit that composes the body, with an ethical work sense for a job well done and team spirit, these men and women are the most important assets of our Group. Thanks to them and the individual
entrepreneurs of a remarkable fate, like Jean-François Cail, Fives has innovated successfully throughout its history and put in place the resources needed to become a world leading group of companies, without compromising the flexibility of a small business on a personal level.

 

 

2012 also brought with it a change in the Group’s shareholding structure, with the arrival of AXA Private Equity as the Fives’ principal, but minority, shareholder. This new capital structure will allow us to continue extracting the maximum benefit from our multi-sector and multi-technical expertise by building on our innovative talents, by harnessing the dynamic growth of the world’s most high-potential markets, and by accelerating our external growth strategy. With turnover breaking through the symbolic €1.5 billion barrier for the first time in its history (19% increase compared to 2011) and EBITDA, which also exceeded €100 million for the first time (€115 million reflecting a 16% increase compared to 2011), a strong balance sheet and record cash flow of €266 million at the end of 2012, Fives proudly celebrated its 200 years of history. With presence today in more than 30 countries through more than 80 Group companies, Fives sells its products in more than 100 countries,
employs 6,500 people worldwide, holds a portfolio of 1,500 active patents, and continues its tradition to put its energy and focus on the ideas of designing the industrial plants of the future.

 

 

Celebrating our 200th anniversary is also about looking to our future. 2013 will be another year of strong growth for our Group, driven by a full and profitable order backlog of more than €1.3 billion at the end of 2012. That trend is certain to continue in 2013 as a result of strong markets full of promise for the future. This growth will also be fueled by the planned acquisition of MAG Americas, the world’s leading player in large-scale machine tools and composite processing. In 2012, MAG Americas reported sales of nearly $400 million. Expected to be complete by midyear of 2013, this acquisition reflects the continued international development of Fives in innovative
technologies for high added-value industries. It also strengthens the Group’s presence in the United States, where it benefits from the country’s dynamic economy and industrial base, as well as establishing Fives as a world leader in the machine tools market.

 

 

The year 2013 will also see our Group accelerate the process of profound transformation undertaken in recent years. The strength of the Fives growth model comes primarily from the accountability of responsibility by everyone in the business and its ability to network its skills and energy… in short, from its decentralized organizational structure that leaves room for every individual to express his or her own entrepreneurial talents. Nevertheless, this consciously adopted organizational model is no obstacle to the implementation and exploitation of technical, commercial or financial synergies between Group entities, all of which generate additional value. Another source of strength behind this model is the ambition that drives us and the resources we put in place to ensure that we are the best-possible partner for our customers and all our stakeholders, because we are focused on ensuring the success of the projects we share.

 

The recently introduced process of simplifying our brand architecture should allow us to reconcile our decentralized organizational structure with the need for global efficiency. It also provides us with the opportunity to implement a Group wide corporate plan designed to strengthen the identity and values of Fives. This project will be delivered through four key initiatives sharing the same goals:


improving our level of professional excellence in a more open and diversified world where projects are becoming increasingly and inexorably broader and more complex;
continuing to develop the personal wealth of the Group through recruitment, training, the promotion of gender equality and diversity, and the ability to offer varied, international careers;
encouraging creativity at every level of the business;
making our customers true partners in ways that will allow us to be even more proactive and to anticipate their expectations even more accurately.

 

 

Despite the existing challenges of the economic environment, 2013 will therefore be another year of ambition, growth and performance.

 

Frédéric Sanchez, Chairman of the Executive Board

Fives © 2012