Free Cash Flow and Butler

4141 Words Mar 2nd, 2008 17 Pages
Introduction

Butler Capital Partners (Butler) is an investment fund founded in 1990. Butler closed its first private equity fund, European Strategic Fund, in 1991. This first fund was mainly focusing on small family owned enterprises and on divisions of larger companies. Mainly of his first success he closed in 1998 his second fund, Private Equity II, and Butler became one of the largest independent funds in France. With his second fund he would focus on investments in France on a larger scale. On April 29, 1999, a new investment opportunity arose for Butler: Autodistribution (AD). AD is an entrepreneurial firm and has become the largest independent automotive parts wholesaler in France by the end of the 1990s.

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Butler found some important development opportunities for AD: (1) an increase in penetration rate of AD 's CBU among the affiliates by setting up an efficient IT system for purchasing, (2) external growth opportunities in France by integration of affiliates or acquisitions of independent wholesalers, (3) expansion opportunities in Europe provided by the fragmentation of the industry, (4) low competition on acquisitions because of the lack of players able to afford a dynamic build-up strategy, (5) strong growth potential of industrial supplies segment and (6) potential of development of fleet maintenance and agreements with insurance companies. These opportunities will result in an increase in gross margins through acquisition of independent wholesalers and integration of affiliated wholesalers. Furthermore, a reduction of operation costs can be the result, because of the IT system. With the existence of an efficient IT system, the margins can be improved or the prices can be cut and these effects are even stronger with consolidation / expanding in the European market. Besides these opportunities there is an opportunity for an e-business market. Butler stated this as ‘one edge over the competitors '. Thus by expanding the business (through e-business, acquisitions, integration) and making use of the new technology systems, AD could realize significant margin improvement. These high margin improvements are expected to increase from 32.3% in 1999 to
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