Recent Submissions

  • Is destiny worth the distance? On private equity in emerging markets

    Darolles, Serge; Ain Tommar, Sara; Jurczenko, Emmanuel (2018)
    We study the performance determinants of private equity investing in emerging markets (EM) compared to developed markets (DM) using a novel dataset. Using a multilevel linear model specification, our results suggest that performance in emerging markets in highly dependent on geographical and cultural proximity. The effect is significantly higher for GPs investing in both markets compared to pure DM- and EM-players respectively. Cross-cultural and geographical effects are enhanced when the GP investment teams are also culturally close using different measures. Our results also show that the realized returns are highly dependent on the investment period, the investment style and the GP’s experience on each market.
  • On the performance of listed private equity

    Ain Tommar, Sara (2018)
    Listed private equity (LPE) refers to publicly-traded investment companies whose activity is to invest in privately-held companies or in traditional private equity funds. The recent years have witnessed a slew of such listings and many investors were offered exposure to traditional private equity investments (TPE) through LPE. While listed private equity and traditional private equity have the same investment universe, we argue that the performance of the latter does not pertain to LPE. We build a representative dataset of the LPE universe and compare their performance to TPE. We examine whether belonging to indices and having minimum liquidity requirements is linked to performance. Our results suggest that listing significantly deteriorates absolute performance measures but is positively and significantly related to better investment multiples.
  • Energy Storage. Our take on business model and regulation

    Broeckx, Saskia; Ramos, Ariana; Fernandez, Luisa; Meeus, Leonardo (2019)
    The electricity landscape is in a state of flux, not least due to the increasing integration of renewable energy sources and distributed generation. This has sparked growing interest in energy storage, arguably an important part of the renewable energy mix. How can energy storage be used and integrated into existing power systems, in both residential and industrial environments? This is the key question the STORY project aims to address. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, STORY is a five-year research project analysing new energy storage technologies and their benefits. It features six demonstration case studies and involves 18 partner institutions in seven European countries. One of these partner institutions is Vlerick Business School. In a context where several different actors can use storage assets, it is essential to identify business models and regulation that will make energy storage sustainable, which is exactly where our expertise lies. We have taken the lead on the business cases supporting the rollout of electricity storage at the distribution level of the grid; more specifically, on those business cases revolving around the challenges of storage deployment and the interaction between the business models and the enabling market and regulatory context.
  • Risk and peformance: Embedding risk management

    Ashby, Simon; Bryce, Cormac; Ring, Patrick (ACCA, 2019)
    A new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) uncovers how board-level risk management activities vary in organisations as a result of internal and external factors. The report, Risk and performance: Embedding risk management, highlights common challenges and good practices to overcome risk management difficulties. The research was conducted by Professor Simon Ashby (Vlerick Business School), Professor Cormac Bryce (Cass Business School) and Professor Patrick Ring (Glasgow Caledonian University). The study combines findings from four in-depth case studies including interviews as well as a review of current academic literature. The insights were consolidated to create the ‘risk gearbox’, a conceptual model for embedding risk management in organisations. It shows how formal and informal risk management mechanisms combine to create ‘strategic thrust’ to support the board decisions on strategic risk taking and control. There are also a number of recommendations for organisations looking to improve the effectiveness of their risk management arrangements.
  • Resource-constrained project scheduling with activity splitting and setup times

    Vanhoucke, Mario; Coelho, José; Vanhoucke, Mario; Coelho, José (Elsevier, 2019)
    This paper presents a new solution algorithm to solve the resource-constrained project scheduling problem with activity splitting and setup times. The option of splitting activities, known as activity preemption, has been studied in literature from various angles, and an overview of the main contributions will be given. The solution algorithm makes use of a meta-heuristic search for the resource-constrained project scheduling problem (RCPSP) using network transformations to split activities in subparts. More precisely, the project network is split up such that all possible preemptive parts are incorporated into an extended network as so-called activity segments, and setup times are incorporated between the different activity segments. Due to the inherent complexity to solve the problem for such huge project networks, a solution approach is proposed that selects the appropriate activity segments and ignores the remaining segments using a boolean satisfiability problem solver, and afterwards schedules these projects to near-optimality with the renewable resource constraints. The algorithm has been tested using a large computational experiment with five types of setup times. Moreover, an extension to the problem with overlaps between preemptive parts of activities has been proposed and it is shown that our algorithm can easily cope with this extension without changing it. Computational experiments show that activity preemption sometimes leads to makespan reductions without requiring a lot of splits in the activities. Moreover, is shown that the degree of these makespan reductions depends on the network and resource indicators of the project instance.
  • Adaptive leadership: Shape your path through turbulence

    De Stobbeleir, Katleen; Peeters, Carine; Pfisterer, Matthias; Muylle, Steve (2019)
    The findings of the study are described in the white paper ‘Adaptive Leadership: shape your path through turbulence’. With the aim of providing practical relevance, the white paper also offers concrete examples from the corporate world to help other organisations and their leaders reflect on how to boost adaptiveness. One of the elements is a checklist that gives leaders recommendations on how to strengthen their adaptive leadership behaviour.
  • Entrepreneurial Buyout Monitor. A clear view on investment results 2014 - outlook 2015

    Meuleman, Miguel; De Geeter, Kenny (Vlerick Business School, 2015)
    Welcome to the second edition of the Entrepreneurial Buyout Monitor – a snapshot of the trends and challenges involved in management buyouts and buy-ins of SMEs in Belgium from a practitioner’s perspective. We captured the opinions of 169 buyout experts in Belgium – including bankers, private equity investors, mezzanine players, family offices, lawyers, brokers and M&A advisers. Overall, the results indicate the investment climate has considerably improved – as expected from last year’s edition. The outlook for 2015 remains positive. The key insights from the survey are: 1) DEAL FLOW IS INCREASING – however, with higher levels of competition and more favourable lending conditions, we’ve also seen higher multiples – especially for medium sized and larger deals. It’s tougher to achieve attractive returns, so the deal origination process is critical. 2) MORE FAVOURABLE DEBT MARKETS – overall debt multiples increased and the cost of lending significantly dropped. This was true for medium sized and larger deals. However, lending conditions continue to be challenging for smaller deals – so they may need more creative deal structures. 3) ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS BECOME MORE PROMINENT – both family offices and mezzanine investors become more active in smaller MBO/MBI transactions. 4) PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTORS NEED A CLEAR STRATEGY – they need a more focussed approach to finding opportunities for growth while cutting costs. And so they must gain a deeper understanding – and further insights into the sectors they’re targeting.
  • 2016 M&A Monitor: Shedding light on M&A in Belgium

    Luypaert, Mathieu (Vlerick Business School, 2016)
    In these times of globally booming M&A activity, I am pleased to present the first M&A Monitor of the Centre for Mergers, Acquisitions and Buyouts of Vlerick Business School. This Monitor supersedes the annual Entrepreneurial Buy-out Monitor that Vlerick has conducted over the past years. The scope has been expanded to consider all types of mergers and acquisitions. By capturing the opinions of 142 M&A experts in Belgium – including bankers, private equity investors, advisors, brokers, lawyers, family offices and mezzanine players – we provide a comprehensive overview of current trends and challenges in the domain of M&A in Belgium. The findings presented in this report are of great interest to all professionals active in the Belgian M&A market, as well as to decision-makers on both the selling and the buying sides. The results strongly indicate that Belgian M&A activity is surging − with 2 out of 3 respondents observing an increase in the number of M&A transactions. Competition amongst buyers has intensified, as the current market is clearly demanddriven, fuelled by easily available bank financing and the extensive amount of dry powder of private equity companies. The increased interest of family offices, wealthy individuals and foreign PE firms in the Belgian midcap segment puts additional pressure on the buy-side. A demand-driven M&A wave naturally results in rising valuations and M&A multiples. The experts surveyed overwhelmingly indicate that multiples have increased over the past year, leading to an average EV/EBITDA multiple across all industries and size classes of 6.1. Nevertheless, the imbalance between high demand and limited (high-quality) supply of companies also calls for caution. Academic evidence shows that transactions taking place at the top of an M&A wave are typically less profitable. These deals are more likely to be driven by hubris and herding behaviour. In addition, most interesting targets have usually been acquired at the start of the wave, leaving only targets that do not fully meet the ideal selection criteria. That’s why a detailed upfront assessment of the motives for buying a company, and a realistic estimate of potential synergy gains, prove to be of utmost importance in successful M&A. Our survey results indicate that realising economies of scale is considered to be the primary motive for strategic buyers, while financial buyers focus mainly on opportunities to follow a buy-andbuild approach or improve revenue and/or margin. The results presented in this monitor also provide interesting insights into the deal structure (use of vendor loans, earnouts, leverage ratios) and process (nature of sale process, use of vendor due diligence, length of M&A process). We open the black box of price negotiations and find, for example, that almost 1 out of 2 experts indicates that the average final deal price exceeds the initial indicative offer, while only 1 in 4 reports a lower final deal price compared to the offer price.
  • 2019 M&A Monitor: Shedding light on M&A in Belgium

    Luypaert, Mathieu; Spolverato, Gianni (Vlerick Business School, 2019)
    All good things must come to an end… This phrase also holds in M&A markets that have historically been characterized by a wave pattern. While the most recent global wave started around five years ago, a turning point might have been reached. The global amount spent on acquisitions increased further in 2018 to almost $4 trillion, despite a very strong drop in deal volume during the final quarter. The sudden plunge in deal activity seems to be driven by political and economic uncertainties rather than financial constraints, with a cost of borrowing staying at a historically low level and dry powder at private equity funds reaching a record level of $2 trillion (Bain & Company Global PE report). The results of our own Belgian M&A monitor confirm that deal activity surged in 2018 but, at the same time, the surveyed experts largely expect a stabilising market in the year to come. Interestingly, some remarkable changes can be observed in motives driving Belgian M&A transactions. Whereas realising economies of scale stays the number one acquisition reason, other motives, like gaining new technologies and attracting talent (or “acqui-hires”), have increased significantly in importance over the past years. Deal drivers in private equity transactions remain constant with a buy-and-build approach as preferred value creating strategy. In addition, we observe a significant decline in the fraction of cross-border deals by Belgian acquirers from 36% to 25%. The major contribution of our yearly M&A monitor is that we present unique insights into the specific Belgian M&A setting that is particularly characterized by small and mid-market deals. While only limited information is publicly available on mid-market M&A, virtually no data is published for really small transactions. Therefore, we present a separate category of data for deals with a transaction value below €1 million for the first time. Remarkably, the surveyed professionals are much more positive on growth expectations in this segment of the market with 2 out of 3 respondents expecting a further growth in 2019. The intensified competition in the midmarket segment might indeed push strategic as well as financial buyers more and more towards smaller deals. In last year’s M&A monitor, we expressed a clear call for caution in terms of multiples paid, questioning whether the elevated acquisition prices still allow to realise returns that outweigh the risks of the transaction. For the first time in six years, however, we now observe a slight drop in EV/EBITDA multiple across all Belgian transactions from 6.7 to 6.5 (ranging from an average of 4.4 for deals smaller than €1 million to 9.7 for deals exceeding €100 million). The minor reduction in multiples is mainly driven by the smaller deal categories (below €5 million). Nevertheless, upcoming sellers should not yet panic as the majority of surveyed experts do not yet predict a significant decrease in multiples in 2019. These observations and many other typical deal, financing and process characteristics are presented and discussed in detail in the remainder of this document.
  • 2018 M&A Monitor: Shedding light on M&A in Belgium

    Luypaert, Mathieu; Spolverato, Gianni (Vlerick Business School, 2018)
    Is the sky really the limit for M&A? Since the first edition of this Belgian M&A Monitor five years ago, we have witnessed a continuous surge in the number of transactions and the multiples being paid. The average EV/EBITDA multiple in Belgian M&A increased from 5.0 in 2013 to 6.7 times EBITDA nowadays. The number one concern highlighted by M&A advisors that filled in our survey, is the current overheating of the market. Nevertheless, two out of three respondents expect M&A activity in Belgium to keep on rising in 2018. It is of course not surprising to observe elevated multiples in a seller’s market that is characterized by economic recovery and easy access to cheap financing. However, the question remains of whether acquisition prices have reached their limits. Part of the answer lies in the interpretation of the multiple which is in fact simply the inverse of the required return by investors. An EV/EBITDA multiple of 6.7 indicates that investors would realise a return of approximately 15% before taking into account any investment expenditures. A further increase in prices would result in returns that no longer outweigh the risks associated with the acquisition. We can only hope that both strategic and financial buyers keep on making this reflection. Despite the critical note in the above paragraph, high multiples could of course be warranted in case of strong growth potential or limited risk in the target’s business. That is why we report for the first time valuation and financing multiples per sector. Industries with relatively lower multiples are “Retail” (5.3x EBITDA), “Transport and logistics” (5.7x) and “Construction” (6.0x). Sectors characterized by superior multiples are “Technology” and “Healthcare” (both 8.2x), “Pharmaceuticals” (9.2x) and “Real Estate” (9.3x). We are convinced that publishing these sector multiples increases the practical usefulness of this Monitor even further in setting price expectations for Belgian M&A. In previous editions, M&A advisors emphasized the Belgian unstable regulatory and tax environment as a restraining factor for M&A activity. In our most recent survey, we explicitly inquired respondents about their expectations concerning the reform package agreed upon by the Belgian federal government and presented in its “summer agreement”. While the vast majority of M&A professionals expect a neutral or slightly positive impact due to especially the decrease in corporate tax rate and the introduction of tax consolidation, some also highlight the interest deduction limitation based upon EBITDA and more stringent conditions for the exemption of capital gains as possible limiting factors. In the remainder of this 2018 M&A Monitor, detailed insights are presented into the evolution of Belgian M&A activity, current typical payment and financing structures and various process characteristics that could be highly relevant for buyers, sellers and all professional parties involved in Belgian M&A.
  • A three-dimensional conceptual framework of corporate water responsibility

    Martinez, Fabien; Martinez, Fabien (Sage, 2015)
    This article offers a conceptual framework that comprehensively describes essential aspects of corporate water responsibility. What heretofore has been essentially regarded as an issue to be tackled by governmental institutions, and therefore not perceived as an important component of the value that is created for the institutional and private owners of profit-driven companies, is explicitly treated here as a corporate responsibility. Bridging knowledge domains, I review major research works conducted by management, corporate sustainability, and (welfare) economics scholars and focusing on water management issues to unveil the conditions under which corporations are likely to manage, or to be challenged in managing, water in responsible/sustainable ways. Three types of “tensions” that confront academics and managers alike are discussed: voluntary actions versus coercion, free riding versus cooperation, and economic versus corporate water responsibility motives. I propose a three-dimensional framework of corporate water responsibility for thinking through the managerial response patterns contemplated to address these tensions.
  • Smart money for social ventures: An analysis of the value-adding activities of philanthropic venture capitalists

    Ingstad, Eline L.; Knockaert, Mirjam; Fassin, Yves; Ingstad, Eline L.; Knockaert, Mirjam; Fassin, Yves (Taylor & Francis Online, 2014)
    Philanthropic venture capitalists (PhVCs) provide social entrepreneurs with financial and nonfinancial resources. This paper studies how and why PhVCs engage in value-adding activities. Employing an inductive case study method, our study shows that value-adding activities engaged in by PhVCs are similar to the activities carried out by traditional venture capitalists. Further, we find self-efficacy and goal setting theories to be particularly relevant in studying why PhVCs engage in value-adding activities. Concretely, PhVCs engage in value-adding activities that are in line with their efficacy beliefs and that facilitate the achievement of lower-order goals related to professionalization, self-sustainability, and expansion. As such, they aim at reaching the higher-end goal of scaling the social venture.
  • Economic approaches to organizations

    Douma, Sytse; Schreuder, Hein (Pearson, 2017)
    Now in its fifth edition, Economic Approaches to Organisations remains one of the few texts to emphasize the importance of economic issues and developments in the study of organisations and management. It explains in a non-technical way different economic approaches such as behavioural theory of the firm, game theory, agency theory, transaction cost economics, economics of strategy and evolutionary approaches. This latest edition is packed with practical examples from real-world companies, helping you to understand how the concepts relate to economic and organizational problems happening in the world today.
  • Informal leader emergence in self-managing teams

    Desmet, Lien; De Stobbeleir, Katleen (2018)
  • Transforming talent sourcing in government: Lessons from practice

    Rogiers, Philip; Viaene, Stijn; Leysen, Jan (Vlerick Business School, 2018)
  • Rising star monitor. The many faces of growth. Results 2018

    Collewaert, Veroniek; Manigart, Sophie; Subotic, Marjana (Vlerick Business School, 2018)
    The Rising Star Monitor is part of the Entrepreneurship 2.0 initiative. Entrepreneurship 2.0 was launched by Vlerick Business School in collaboration with Deloitte Belgium to develop state-of-the-art knowledge about the key issues young, high-potential ventures struggle with. It also runs knowledge and community-building programs for entrepreneurs who are in the midst of tackling important scaling challenges with their ventures.
  • Raising public awareness and trust in transmission infrastructure projects with incentive regulation: Tools and biases

    Bhagwat, Pradyumna; Keyaerts, Nico; Meeus, Leonardo (2018)
    Raising public awareness and trust in transmission infrastructure development is one of the key current challenges facing Transmission System Operators (TSOs) and other project developers. The result can be costly delays. Fine-tuning the regulatory toolbox that National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) apply to incentivise TSOs can be part of the solution. The toolbox consists of cost-plus or rate of return regulation, price or revenue cap regulation, and output regulation. Each of these tools has strengths and limitations in terms of biases. In this brief, we identify the biases that are specific to stakeholder engagement activities that TSOs undertake to increase the public awareness and trust. Under the cost-plus approach, NRAs are biased towards the least controversial activity. Thus, the TSOs will try to anticipate the costs that will be more easily approved by the regulator. However, these least controversial activities may not be the most effective. Under the price/revenue cap, TSOs can be biased towards prioritising activities that result in the highest direct improvement of cost efficiency. They can also be biased in selecting the least controversial activities rather than the most cost-effective ones, simply because it can adversely affect their reputation and their engagement with the regulator. Under output regulation, independent experts can help the regulator to assess and challenge the stakeholder engagement activities undertaken by a TSO. This approach, however, requires a higher level of sophistication and complexity so that it can only be managed properly by a regulatory agency with sufficient resources and skills.

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