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Northern European Case Studies
Global due diligence framework
Concerned about its exposure to agents vying for government contracts in emerging markets, and in light of increasing regulatory pressures back home, a Danish multinational awarded FP the contract to review its legacy agents and distributors. After categorising the third parties according to estimated compliance risks, FP helped improve the client's internal due diligence structures so that it could handle the low- to medium- risk categories internally. Amongst others, FP provided due diligence research training, advised on internal risk mitigation measures, and made recommendations on what technology tools to acquire.
With FP assisting, the client narrowed down the group of highest agents and distributors from several hundred to less than 30. FP helped deliver in-depth risk assessments of these across emerging markets, identifying risks and making recommendations as to how the client could monitor and mitigate against these risks going forward.
Investigating corporate governance concerns linked to company founder
A UK private equity firm seeking to invest in a Norwegian offshore company was concerned about rumours of conflicts of interests linked to the founder-CEO. FP's review of company records made available to the client, complemented with intelligence-gathering in the offshore sector, revealed that the founder had sealed significant supply contracts with two companies, one owned by his son and the other by a childhood friend. The client was able to secure a deal moving the founder into a supervisory board position, thus removing his decision-making on the supply side.
Southwestern Europe Case Studies
Red flag checks on an Italian distributor
Prior to entering the Italian
market, a Finnish company wanted to ensure that its designated
distributor had not been linked to any obvious issues of concern.
The client informed FP that the deal was relatively small for them.
Hence, FP proposed a budget-efficient product that took into
consideration the size of the deal: a public records only red flag
check on the distributor and its owners. FP's research involved
reviewing publicly available records in Italy such as local press,
corporate registries, bankruptcy and regulatory filings.
Additionally, FP conducted checks of English-language media, as
well as European and international watch lists. The research did
not uncover any issues of potential concern. FP provided the client
with a 5-page executive summary-style report, summarising the key
information identified on the subjects and outlining the checks
that had been conducted.
Discovering instances of poor governance
On the basis of FP's research, a Scandinavian private equity
firm decided not to proceed with the planned acquisition of a
waste-management company based in Spain. Our investigation revealed
that the founder had established an opaque system of subsidiaries,
directly owned by himself rather than the company, that conducted
sales between themselves so as to boost turnover figures. FP also
learned that, in a previous venture sold in the 1990s to a listed
German competitor, the businessman had also fraudulently tampered
with the accounts.
DACH Case Studies
Asset searching in Germany and offshore
A German family office that had invested in green energy not only
lost its investment when the venture went bankrupt, but encountered
a threat to their reputation when it emerged that the entrepreneur
had fraudulently embezzled the money. Working for the lawyers in
preparation for a lawsuit, FP traced the entrepreneur's commercial
footprint and lavish lifestyle throughout Europe and offshore,
trawling balance sheets, property records, press, social media and
conducting discreet interviews with former associates. FP provided
the family office's lawyers with a list of his assets worth an
estimated EUR 5 million, which was used to obtain a freezing order
from a court in Germany.
Pre-acquisition ESG due diligence of German manufacturing company
FP worked as part of the advisory team to a private equity firm looking to invest in a German manufacturing company. As part of its ESG due diligence, FP reviewed data-room documents provided by the sell-side, analysing ESG and compliance policies, supplier and customer contracts, and internal control structures. Simultaneously, FP analysed the target's sector typical ESG risks, evaluating past scandals and benchmarking the seller against key competitors.
Using its decades-long experience in the intelligence industry, FP used its discreet source network to evaluate risks linked to the target's main suppliers in China and India. We found that the Chinese supplier had been accused of sub-contracting work to factories that were known for poor labour and environmental standards.
As part of FP's recommendations to the client, should they decide to acquire the company, we outlined an ESG auditing schedule to address the labour and environmental concerns displayed by the target's supply chain.
Benelux Case Study
Tracing decision-making dynamics of family-owned company
A US financial investor holding stock
in a listed Dutch company approached FP to examine the founding
family's attitudes following rumours that they were considering
exiting the stock, which could shake the share price. FP's
analysis revealed that several distant family members not involved
in the company operations were keen to sell their shares at the
best possible price. However, the key decision-makers in the
family, who were still involved with the company at a board level,
favoured retaining family control. They also held the right to
acquire the other family members' shares before they could be
offered to outsiders. From conversations with former company board
members, industry analysts, and competitors, FP gathered that the
key decision-makers in the company would ensure that it remained
under family control, and that they would either acquire the shares
from the passive family members or allow them to sell a limited
amount on the open market.