Philippe Guillotin

Philippe Guillotin
ADVEO France
Managing Director

2019: It’s been a long, hard road for ADVEO over the past 12 months. After a potential deal with Staples Solutions fell through and the group’s financial backers in Spain threw in the towel, the parent company was forced to enter into insolvency proceedings which led to the demise of its subsidiaries in Germany, Iberia and Italy.

France has always been considered the jewel in the crown of ADVEO thanks to its established base of more than 500 resellers that are members of its Calipage, Plein Ciel and Buro+ groups. The French entity, along with Benelux, were saved when they were acquired by private equity firm Sandton Capital Partners in a drawn-out transaction that eventually closed at the end of June.

One of Managing Director Philippe Guillotin’s priorities this year was to ensure a return to ‘normal’ stock availability after some issues at the end of 2018 due to the wider group challenges. This was achieved thanks to a €5 million ($5.5 million) cash injection from Sandton and continued support from suppliers, and business has picked up again.

With the company now on stable financial ground, Guillotin – who is also coordinating the Benelux markets – is looking forward to being able to focus on strategic objectives. The go-to-market message is very clear: ADVEO wants to be a strong partner for independent dealers. To help achieve this, a new state-of-the-art 24,000 sq m (240,000 sq ft) distribution facility in Dammartin, north-east of Paris, will soon open. It is set to reach full capacity by mid-2020 after a carefully managed customer switchover process.

A recent market research study that ADVEO conducted with IFOP showed that end consumers’ number one need was a wide choice of products. Dammartin will enable ADVEO France to increase its SKU count by 50% to 30,000 as it broadens its product offering in adjacencies, expands its educational products assortment and moves into some new categories.

Guillotin is also pushing a strong sustainability message, something that has previously been lacking at ADVEO. The new central warehouse will be BREEAM certified and carbon neutral, and the wholesaler is planning to implement a number of ‘green’ initiatives, including low-carbon delivery solutions.