In 2008, the Rufenacht family, owners of the Armor Group, a French industrialist specialised in printing consumables, decided to sell its majority shareholding. At the request of shareholders, the managing director of Armor, Hubert de Boisredon, met with representatives of several investment funds interested in the company.
He found that a number of them were focused on maximising yield (IRR) with a short-term vision, which did not suit Armor’s motto of investing in innovative projects with a long-term outlook.
Orfite is a partner of choice because they have so much experience, most of it positive. They have a remarkable business model, which has proven its worth. Orfite chooses companies according to two criteria: the quality of the business and the quality of the manager.
During this process, Armor met Orfite and discovered a company which is not only an investor, but also an industrial group. Because Orfite does not limit itself to a vision of capital gain, but supports, advises and helps the management to take over. The development and continuity of the industry are its priorities.
In 2008, in spite of the financial crisis, the manager of Armor managed to convince Orfite of the development potential of his company. Orfite committed to work alongside Armor in November 2008.
The human aspect of the work with Orfite is crucial. It is a discussion, not just provision of required reports. Between Orfite and its equity investments, there is a mutual requirement to show and deserve trust. The company has nothing to hide and a lot to learn.
Armor has never considered Orfite as a passive investment fund, and for good reason: every month, the managers of both companies meet, establishing a fruitful partnership which has not weakened over time. With the enduring support of its partners, Orfite supported the industrial ambition and strategy of the manager by making significant investments, stimulating his R&D projects and providing a wealth of experience in various sectors.
It should be added that this support was provided in a climate of total trust and great autonomy for the team.
Each of Orfite’s equity investments is significant and is never lost in the crowd. Orfite remains a company of a controllable size and it is probably not their intention to grow unduly. Their model is very advantageous for the French industry.
In 2013, Armor’s industrial results exceeded all ambitions for growth. Given the value of the company, Armor’s managers wished to take back most of the capital before they could no longer afford it. A negotiation took place with Orfite, which agreed to exit, in compliance with its principles as a transition player.
True to its methods, Orfite refused to keep a minority stake in Armor – but the managers of both companies remain in contact and maintain a strong sense of mutual respect.