“Investing to support Italian small and medium-sized enterprises through private capital. This is the business model adopted by WindeX Investment Club, structured in the form of a club deal, the union of a closed number of private entrepreneurs/investors pooling their resources and expertise to acquire companies. The promoters of this initiative are Chairman Rolando Benedick (Swiss entrepreneur and former chairman of Manor Group, Valora and member of the Board of several international companies such as Moulin family’s Galfa Group, which includes Galleries Lafayette and Carrefour, and the investment company Jacob Holding) and CEO Domenico Sibilio (entrepreneur and equity partner of the consulting group CDI Global, with extensive experience in extraordinary transactions gained in leading consulting firms such as EY and Deloitte, private equity funds and direct investments in SMEs, successfully managed and then sold to international Private Equity).

Have memberships to WindeX already started?
Yes, so far, a dozen of Swiss and Italian entrepreneurs has joined the promoters, underwriting an initial closing of about 30 million euros. The final goal is to reach 100 million euros with up to 30 entrepreneurs and investors. Equity investment tickets are around 15 million euros.

What are the criteria for selecting the companies you focus on?
There is a group of quality SMEs, leaders in their market niche, but with reduced access to medium-long term capital that needed to finance internationalization, development through investments, acquisitions, and shareholders reorganizations (family, succession plan, etc.). The high dependence of SMEs on bank credit, the resulting low capitalization and insufficient fundraising from the capital markets limit their development possibilities in today’s global market where size is increasingly a determining factor. WindeX operates with the objective of enhancing these companies, which are excellent in their reference sectors, with a strong propensity for growth, oriented to do business beyond national borders and with a desire to open up to the capital markets. We establish a virtuous circle that allows them to accelerate their growth in a sustainable way, supporting ownership and management through the provision of financial and managerial resources.

Do you have areas in which you specialize?
WindeX’s main focus is on the food sector (particularly food ingredients, beverage & pet nutrition), consumer goods, healthcare, fashion, manufacturing and services.

What is the focus of your investments in detail?
We target Italian companies with an annual turnover indicatively between 20 and 80 million euro, characterized by good profitability, capital strength, as well as ambitious development plans. We then prefer majority investments, but with active involvement of the partner entrepreneur in the management of the company.

What are your distinguishing characteristics?
WindeX is characterized by a high level of entrepreneurship and experience of all those involved in the initiative, from the management team to the investors, confirmed by an important track record in the middle market segment also at international level. To be underlined is the extremely flexible structure that allows the investment time horizon to be adapted to the needs of the target company without any predefined exit constraints. The structuring in the form of a club deal and the investors’ strong entrepreneurial background also favor an industrial rather than financial perspective. The team, which also includes Gianluca Papa (investment analyst) and Federica Petrucco (pr, marketing and communication specialist) is already working on the evaluation of some interesting investment opportunities and in parallel on further expanding the group of joining entrepreneurs. In addition, we can count on partners such as Helvetica Capital (among the leading Swiss club deals), which shares the deal flow and has the possibility to co-invest in some major dossiers, Tim Management (a leading Italian interim management company that will be able to provide its managers for further support of the team both in the industrial evaluation and in the management of the operations of the target companies) and CDI Global, an independent financial advisory middle market company, present in 40 countries, which will be able to contribute, as all the other middle market advisors, to the growth of the business.”

Author: Gianluigi Raimondi