In stock exchange terms, the Baar-based Partners Group is one of the largest companies in Switzerland, yet many are not aware of all the asset management company does, namely acquire predominantly middle-sized firms, turns them round, and sells them on again.
However, those working in the economic sector are sure to have heard of the company’s success, with some 25,000 applying for 150 jobs at the company last year, as co-CEO David Layton confirmed in an interview with the Swiss AWP financial news agency.
At present, the company employs some 1,200 at its 20 locations around the world, 425 of them at its headquarters on Zugerstrasse in Baar.
A second headquarters building, to be around the same size of the one in Baar, is being set up in Denver, Colorado, and it is here where Layton, who became co-CEO after taking over from Christoph Rubeli earlier this year, will be based. His co-CEO is André Frei, who is primarily responsible for clients, whereas Layton’s area of responsibility is investments.
Partners Group was actually founded in 1996 by Marcel Erni, Alfred Ganter and Urs Wietlisbach, all three of whom each hold a ten-per-cent stake in the company. With the company going from strength to strength in its first decade, it was floated on the stock exchange in 2006 with a share price of just under CHF 80.00 Now it stands at CHF 720.00 meaning its stock market value is now just under $20 billion. As mentioned, it was the policy of targeting primarily medium-sized companies to turn around by appointing its own staff as board and management which led to much success, other companies acting in this sector, such as Blackstone and Carlyle, targeting larger companies.
With the appointment of Layton, it is the first time that a CEO is not Swiss and the first time such an office is not being run from Baar, not that Layton feels working from Denver is a disadvantage; it is just that greater coordination is needed. Indeed, operating from there has its advantages, too, allowing the company to grow in an area where it was felt it was under-represented.
The company is now investing as much as $10 billion annually in other companies. In fact in 2018, nearly $20 billion was invested on behalf of its institutional clients, over half of them pension funds.
As the journalist who wrote this article mentioned, two examples of the firms Partners Group acquired were the Dutch Ammeral Beltech company and the Italian Megadyne company, both active in the automotive industry, and which Partners Group fused together. Another example is the Indian fashion department store chain Vishal Mega Mart. And it was through Partners Group, too, that the vacuum valve VAT company was able to be successfully floated on the Swiss stock exchange in 2016.