How Scopelect’s buyer Var-based Circet became a global player thanks to external growth
The announcement of Scopelect’s takeover by Circet brings to an end one of the topics that has rocked the telecommunications world in recent months. But he also removes the group from Var in his usual decision, which won at the bar of the Lyon commercial court.
Circet is an adventure that started in 1993 under this name. In 2004, the first external growth operation was performed. It will then be a continuous rate of one purchase per year. By 2008, the Prothea group became the majority shareholder. Created in 2006, Prothea is run by five entrepreneurs born from the integration of telecommunications networks, Yves Vautrin, Pierre Henriey, Pascal Henne, Clément Arriau and Philippe Lamazou. It’s the last one driving today, Circet.
External growth, “native” leverage
Alma is an integral part of the group located in Solliès-Pont in the Var. It is an integral part of its history. Of course, external growth will be a lever for continued growth, with the takeover of SMEs specializing in the copper network for France Telecom at the time, followed by others for geographic reasons, particularly mobile network specialists towards the west of the country. France. But in 2017, one of the decisive turns came with not one, but three acquisitions, first the Sister group from the Southwest, and then Capcom, an expert in construction and maintenance. Networks located in Ile de France, in the center-east, before Reunion and Mayotte Capecom, an SME that allowed it to consolidate its positions in the Grand Est.
The acceleration of external growth is a race for critical mass, explains Philippe Lamazou. The issue of size is to continue to exist and give weight in the telecom universe. Circet president explains further “Since the arrival of Free, there has been a real break in terms of technical demand from operators. The trend today is to offer larger volumes and longer contracts in return for greater competitiveness and turnkey logic. “.
But if Circet can accelerate further, that means it has the funding to do so. Two years ago, a change in the capital structure with the arrival of CM-CIC Investissement as a reference shareholder allowed it to open up a field of opportunities. And in fact, the group is going international, first in Morocco, then in Germany, before Switzerland and Greece in 2018, with acquisitions continuing in the United Kingdom and especially in Spain.
ICG stands for (financial) grow
With the entry of ICG, a global player in private equity, at the end of 2021, a new acceleration phase will lead to a new change in the shareholding structure – now on a European scale. In fact, Circet continues to accelerate and the acquisitions marked by the November 2021 merger with KGPCo, a US-based telecommunications infrastructure and logistics services specialist, a combination that allows the French group to position itself in North America and already announces its color: the desire for strong organic growth but also external growth.
A year ago, on the other side of the Alps, in Italy, Circet acquired the Italian ETI CEIT (320 million euro turnover and 1,200 employees), giving birth to Circet Italia.
While the Scopelect takeover grabbed the headlines, Circet was very active in December 2022 as a new acquisition was completed with British home network installation and maintenance specialist Qube.
In short, external growth is not a new exercise for Circet, which knows how to combine skills, employees and experiences. It is an asset when you know that Circet is not the first choice or the only buyer of employees. The Var group, which employed 15,350 people at the end of 2021, achieved a turnover of 2.42 billion euros for the 2021 financial year, including 1.2 billion euros in France.