“EQT sees great potential in this business and it is exciting to be part of this journey, I am living my job dream now!”
Bosse Landegren is probably one of the CFOs with the longest experience of working as Interim Manager in Sweden. In 2003, he stepped down from his permanent role within the Egmont Group to start his new career. For 17 years he has led many change assignments within companies such as Axfood, Johnson & Johnson, Tieto, Lantmännen, Lemmikäinen and most recently at Relita via Nordic Interim. After just over 1 year at the company, he now takes on the role as the permanent CFO.
Relita/Recover is a full-service company within industrial-, real estate- and damage services with 750 employees and a turnover of SEK 1 billion. The company is part of Recover Nordic Group, owned by EQT since 2019.
“Relita/Recover is a company with a very exciting journey ahead of them together with the new owner EQT, I could not refuse the offer to become permanent CFO. EQT is a solid owner who really wants to achieve value and has an ownership perspective of 4-5 years. The expansion will be partly organic, but mostly through acquisitions. We will also streamline the operations, and it is a great advantage to have a strong and supporting owner with large resources, focusing on digitalization and expansion, but always with safety first,” says Bosse.
Relita/Recover is represented in the 4 Nordic countries and was formed through a merger of 15 acquisitions under the ownership of the UK-based PE company Agilitas. The acquisitions involved different corporate cultures and challenges and it has not been easy to integrate the operations. The organization was tired of the turbulence and of never being able to lean against a “steady” wall.
“I started as an interim CFO when the regular CFO became acting CEO. I thought the assignment would be relatively short, but the turbulence continued and when the acting CEO left, my role as interim CFO was confirmed. Our new CEO Andreas Tengelin immediately focused on creating stability.”
“We started by renaming the head office to support office – the operations in the regions are the most important, that is where the value is created. We moved people from the support office to the regional offices and spent a lot of time travelling to attend the meetings. It is important to be available and answer questions in person.”
A major efficiency improvement project has now been initiated to further stabilize the business, where all processes are reviewed to eliminate all unnecessary steps. A large part of the project’s focus is on identifying processes that are the consequence of other processes being done incorrectly. “Creating simpler processes gives a huge amount of energy to the organization, and the teams become stronger!”
What has your role been in the acquisition process?
“My role in EQT’s acquisition of the company has mainly been to discuss and explain the contents of the data room. Furthermore, we have assisted our former owner Agilitas in providing the right information. This work has taken a lot of energy and attention from the organization, but it has been both a quick and smooth process on both the buyer and the seller’s side.”
What is important to consider for an interim CFO in a PE-owned company?
“It is good if you understand that you have an owner with a limited time perspective. Many times, the goals are tough, and it is important to have insight into the control parameters. How is the business financed? How does the new organization function? Who are the covenants? Understanding the owner’s agenda is probably the most important thing.”
What has been the most important priority during your assignment?
“Putting structures and processes in place has been my primary focus. I have spent a lot of time identifying inefficient processes, which is a challenge in a business that originally consists of 15 companies with their own processes, structures, systems, and culture. We are also working on simplifying the organization and have now 3 business areas. My work has been both operational and strategic, it is important to roll up the sleeves!”
Many industries and companies are struck severely by the Covid-19 crisis, how has this affected Relita?
“We have made relatively large layoffs, but compared to other industries, we are doing quite well. Since we work with disinfecting, we are receiving more and more inquiries about cleaning up Covid-19 in public places. I do not think that we will come back to a normal situation as things were before Covid-19. We have a new reality ahead of us. If you look at hotel operations, for example, it could be that the requirements for cleaning in the future will be quite different compared to what we have been used to.”
Relita is now looking at potential acquisitions with the goal of being nationwide. Important in this process is that the potential acquisitions align with the business in general, both culturally and operationally. “You must not forget that the potential acquisitions often are family businesses where a lot of emotions are involved. We need to build great confidence. We are a large company that wants to be bigger, but always with our feet on the ground close to our business both emotionally and in a human way!”