We invested alongside the Ortmans family in CEPL, a leading provider of automated fulfilment services for high value-added multi-product orders. These highly complex, business-critical processes are outsourced by large corporate customers in the perfume, cosmetics and retailing industries.

We decided to invest in CEPL to participate in the sustainable deployment of a business model for the efficient outsourcing of storage and order-picking processes in a fast-growing yet largely under-served market.

Initially, the CEPL model was based on offering to manage all of a strategic customer’s multi‑product order fulfilment activities, in particular by acquiring the customer’s warehouse facilities and taking on their staff. Subsequently, the company implemented new automation and control procedures, and pooled its resources by offering its services to new customers on the same site, while promising exceptional delivery conditions to the entire customer base.

Our contribution

  • Providing access to senior advisers via the Sagard network, who facilitated the signing of a major outsourced order-picking contract in the perfume and cosmetics industry
  • Providing input from the Sagard network of senior advisers during high-level discussions with environmental authorities
  • Professionalising and structuring the finance function

Successful outcomes

  • CEPL grew to 23 facilities, compared with 13 previously
  • CEPL’s core outsourced customer base increased from 22 to 42 facilities.
  • Successful roll-out of a proprietary information system across the organisation
  • Creation of a new team dedicated to integrating newly acquired facilities
70%

growth in revenue and EBITDA between 2004 and 2007