Recent Submissions

  • The great remuneration survey. Study of remuneration preferences among salaried employees and civil servants

    Baeten, Xavier; De Ruyck, Bettina; Vanoost, Hermien (2019)
    In spite of the index jump and other measures intended to keep salary costs under control, the figures show that employers in our country face high costs. According to Eurostat, the average hourly salary cost in Belgium is 39.60 euros, which is more than in France (36 euros), the Netherlands (34.80 euros) or Germany (34.10 euros) That amount includes both the employee’s pay and the social security contributions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Flexibel werken in ziekenhuizen: OM en HRM perspectief

    Schoonaert, Lies; Gemmel, Paul; Cardoen, Brecht (Vlerick Business School, 2018)
    Iedereen spreekt over “flexibel werken”, maar al snel blijkt dat dit een term is die vele interpretaties kent. Flexibiliteit wordt zo een verzamelnaam van variabele werkomstandigheden telkens met een ander doel indachtig. Het kan bekeken worden vanuit het standpunt van de werkgever en vanuit het standpunt van de werknemer. Een werkgever wil zijn personeel zo flexibel mogelijk kunnen inzetten om zo goed mogelijk aan de variabele vraag van zorg te kunnen voldoen. Een werknemer bekijkt hoe de job zo flexibel mogelijk kan worden ingevuld (tijd, plaats, inhoud) om leuk en uitdagend te zijn, en een ideale balans tussen het werk en het privéleven te creëren. In deze tekst geven we een overzicht van de verschillende types flexibiliteit die relevant zijn voor een ziekenhuis. Hierbij geven we ook een aantal voorbeelden hoe flexibiliteit vorm kan krijgen in de dagelijkse realiteit. We focussen ons voornamelijk op verpleegkundigen, maar veel aangehaalde vormen van flexibel werken kunnen ook van toepassing zijn op andere werknemers.
  • Belgian high-growth monitor. Who are Belgium's fastest growing companies?

    Dillen, Yannick; Crijns, Hans (Vlerick Business School, 2019)
    High-growth firms (HGFs) are frequently described as the engine of the Belgian economy. They create the majority of new jobs and account for an enormous increase in the total added value that is realised by Belgian private firms. Therefore, it is crucial to learn more about the characteristics of these HGFs. Who are these Belgian high-growth firms? Do we find remarkable evolutions in their profiles? Answers to these questions may be vital for academics, policy makers and ambitious entrepreneurs. The Belgian High-Growth Monitor aims to provide these answers by analysing the subset of HGFs in Belgium for the most recent period and by surveying a group of Belgian growth entrepreneurs.
  • Risk culture in financial organisations

    Power, Michael; Ashby, Simon; Palermo, Tommaso (Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network, 2013)
    Interest in the cultures of organisations and their effects on management practices goes back many years and there is an extensive body of scholarship on this topic. Yet this interest has increased dramatically in the period since 2008. The debate is led by the world of practice, particularly in the financial services sector. Furthermore, a new twist in the vocabulary of culture has taken place and companies, advisors and regulators now seem to have a specific focus on something called risk culture.
  • Risk and the strategic role of leadership

    Ashby, Simon; Bryce, Cormac; Ring, Patrick (ACCA, 2018)
    Risk and risk management have always been at the heart of concerns about leadership. In this report, we explore the role of boards in the risk management of the organisations they lead.
  • Global entrepreneurship monitor 2011 - Report on Switzerland.

    Baldegger, Rico; Alberton, Siegfried; Hacklin, Fredrik; Brülhart, Andreas (GEM, 2012)
    The following Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report 2011 on Switzerland illustrates the differences in entrepreneurial attitudes, activity, and aspirations between economies, revealing the factors that determine the nature and level of national entrepreneurial activity and identifying the policy implications for enhancing entrepreneurship in Switzerland. The GEM data complements existing indicators about competitiveness and innovation and allows the creation of a new aggregate index, the Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEDI).
  • Global entrereneurship Monitor 2012 – Report on Switzerland

    Baldegger, Rico; Alberton, Siegfried; Brülhart, Andreas; Hacklin, Fredrik (GEM, 2013)
    The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report 2012 on Switzerland illustrates national differences in entrepreneurial attitudes, activity, and aspirations between economies, revealing the factors that determine the nature and level of national entrepreneurial activity, and identifying policy implications for enhancing entrepreneurship in Switzerland. The GEM data not only already existing indicators of competitiveness and innovation, but also allow – as in 2011 – the creation of a new aggregate index, the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI).
  • Corporate venturing: Picture of an industry and recommendations to increase the odds of success

    Battistini, Boris; Altmann, R.; Hacklin, Fredrik; Pertot, A.; Baschera, P. (Bain & Company, 2013)
  • Global entrepreneurship monitor 2013 – Report on Switzerland

    Alberton, Siegfried; Brülhart, Andreas; Baldegger, Rico; Hacklin, Fredrik (GEM, 2014)
    The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report 2013 on Switzerland illustrates national differences in entrepreneurial attitudes, activity, and aspirations between economies, revealing the factors that determine the nature and level of national entrepreneurial activity, and identifying policy implications for enhancing entrepreneurship in Switzerland. The GEM data complement already existing indicators of competitiveness and innovation. In the 2013 census, perceived opportunities to start a business were higher in Switzerland than in previous years. Switzerland ranks above the average of innovation based countries. What is particularly noticeable is the fact that Fear of Failure has clearly lessened in the past few years, and in 2013 was even lower than in the USA.
  • Global entrepreneurship monitor 2014 – Report on Switzerland

    Baldegger, Rico; Wild, Pascal; Alberton, Siegfried; Hacklin, Fredrik (GEM, 2015)
    Entrepreneurship has become a term that is increasingly widespread around the world. According to key players in society, including policymakers, academics, entrepreneurs themselves, and the population at large, entrepreneurship tends to be ssociatead with economic development and social well-being. Since its beginning, one of GEM`s core principles has been to explore and assess the role of entrepreneurship in national economic growth.
  • Alumni professional interest communities. An exclusive report for Cranfield Management Association (CMA)

    Bridge, L.; Cooper, L.; Goffin, Keith; Harrington, V.; Lemke, Fred; Thompson, T. (2009)
  • The implications of alternative investment vehicles for corporate governance: A survey of empirical research

    Wright, Mike; Burrows, Andrew; Ball, Rod; Scholes, Louise; Meuleman, Miguel; Amess, Kevin (OECD, 2007)
    This paper reviews the trends in and impacts of private equity and investor-led buy-outs in OECD countries. The evidence is derived principally from the CMBOR database and studies based on this dataset. Additional evidence is provided by a review of the relevant literature.
  • The impact of private-equity backed buyouts on employee relations

    Bacon, N.; Wright, M.; Scholes, L.; Meuleman, Miguel (European Venture Capital Association, 2008)

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