The new CEO is pursuing the turnaround plan, with an IPO in his sights.
Philippe Germond wants to continue transforming Europcar and open it up to other mobility services. In an interview with
"Echos", the new CEO of Europe's leading car rental company, who took over from the PMU at the beginning of October, affirms his optimism in the sector's growth, and gives some details of his future strategy.
According to Philippe Germond, "the car rental market has a bright future ahead of it". driven by the growing trend in urban areas to prefer car use to car ownership. Europcar is well placed to take advantage of this trend, according to the CEO: "We have a larger number of city-center branches than our competitors, which allows us to be closer to our urban customers. In fact, we're going to open a number of new branches in Paris this year.
Europcar will be able to take advantage of this buoyant market, says Philippe Germond, based on the 2014 results. published yesterday evening.
yesterday evening. At 1.97 billion euros, sales were up again (+3.4%), with growth accelerating during the year to 7.1% in the fourth quarter. The operating margin was up 2.5 points to 10.8%, thanks to actions taken as part of the turnaround plan launched in 2012. "In particular, we are working hard to optimize fleet management," emphasizes Philippe Germond. The transformation plan is a success, but it's not yet complete. We're halfway there. Nevertheless, the company posted a net loss of 112 million euros due to non-recurring items", according to the group's press release, such as restructuring costs linked to the regrouping of certain support services in Portugal (which implies job cuts elsewhere) and "provisions [...] linked to ongoing litigation". Without these items, earnings would have been €25 million, according to the press release. These provisions no doubt pave the way for the IPO that Eurazeo, the investment company that owns 87% of Europcar, is targeting for the first half of 2015. Philippe Germond refuses to give a precise timetable, but points out that "an IPO may provide additional resources for diversification, even if the positive cash flow already gives us the means to invest".
In the medium term, the CEO's ambition is to "create an ecosystem of mobility services around the Europcar leader, with car rental at its heart". Car-sharing, car rental between private individuals... The short-distance mobility market is teeming with initiatives and new uses. Philippe Germond intends to position himself in these new markets, which will reinforce Europcar's core business.
Europcar's core business. One example is the takeover at the beginning of the year of Ubeeqo , a start-up specializing in car-sharing for the corporate market, i.e. fleet management optimization. "Ubeeqo brings us an innovative tool, and we have a large customer file," explains Philippe Germond (46% of Europcar customers are professionals). Our activities will clearly reinforce each other,
without any risk of cannibalization.
Source: Les Echos - March 17, 2015 - N°21899 - L.S.