Ardian is an independent private investment company covering a full range of asset classes, including fund of funds, private debt, direct funds, infrastructure, real estate and mandate solutions. The company began life as the AXA Group’s private equity division, set up by Dominique Senequier in 1996. It gained its independence – and rebranded as Ardian – in 2013. In the space of 20 years, Ardian has gone on to become continental Europe’s number-one private investment company, with €71 billion in assets managed and/or advised in 2018.
An international platform
Ardian’s platform is organised around 470 employees, including 180 investment professionals, with teams dedicated to different business areas located at 12 offices worldwide, from Europe and the Americas to Asia.
The firm’s international strategy is based around its global network of investment professionals, whose expertise and local relationships enable customers to leverage synergies and growth opportunities on markets where Ardian does business.
Ardian’s main international goals are to:
– Be positioned as a major middle market player in the United States by growing its North America Direct Buyouts business
– Get into the American infrastructure market
– Become the leader on the European commercial real estate market
– Consolidate its position as a leading investor in Europe
A core principle: gains should be shared
In 2016, Ardian published its responsible investment policy.
What make Ardian unusual is that the company belongs to its employees: 80% of employees are shareholders and own 55% of the capital.
Ardian makes a point of sharing capital gains with:
– Employees of companies following disposal: Ardian undertakes to share up to 5% of capital gains on exits from portfolio companies with the employees of those companies.
> €21 million has been paid to 9,000 employees from 18 different companies since 2008.
– Its entire workforce. In 2016, the profit-sharing and incentive plan for France was extended to all subsidiaries.
CSR policy: showing the link between extra-financial drivers and financial performance
Ardian has publically set out its ESG commitments by:
– Adopting an Internal Charter on sharing capital gains in 2008
– Signing the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in 2009
– Publishing its responsible investment policy in 2016
Ardian’s priority is to be pragmatic in its approach. The company wants to provide tangible evidence of the positive impact of extra-financial initiatives on the financial performance of portfolio companies, and conducts impact measurements to this end.
> In 2015 Ardian prepared a first detailed demonstration of the correlation between extra-financial drivers and financial performance (revenue and EBITDA gains) through an audit of its Novacap and Fives investments (see the CSR report for results).