Genua is a privately owned investment company. We focus on creating value for the co-owners and employees at the companies Genua is involved in. At Genua, financial and human values have walked hand in hand for 40 years. Sustainability is the DNA that current owner Mette Grunnet builds Genua on.
Globalisation threatens the very existence of many smaller and medium-sized Danish industrial companies because competition no longer comes from other small towns in Denmark, but from cities across the globe. Privately owned Danish companies rarely own the patent for their products so price is often the decisive factor. High costs in Denmark do nothing to make Danish companies more competitive. Genua specialises in supporting and optimising these smaller and medium-sized Danish industrial companies so that they can grow strong and learn to make their mark on and navigate in global waters.
Apart from providing the capital the company needs to grow, Genua exercises active ownership, i.e. managers have at their disposal a professional consultant with international experience of business development, exports, company acquisition and divestment as well as financing. In other words, Genua helps industrial companies to shift gear and create a solid platform for growth. While we focus on making profits, Genua also encourages companies to shift gear with respect for the culture, leadership of and employees at the company in question. This also means that Genua does not consider an exit from our companies until we feel that we are no longer the appropriate owner.
At Genua, we are willing to talk business ... and motivated to do business and set our sights on creating sustainable values.
Mette took her own medicine
One of the advantages of having Genua as a partner is that Mette Grunnet knows precisely what it is like to be in the same position as the companies Genua invests in. At 27 years of age, she was headhunted from a position at the European Commission to take over leadership of a company in crisis, Ureflex, which her father had invested in. Ureflex produced moulded polyurethane foam primarily for the furniture industry. Having completed her M.Sc. in Economics, Mette had a battery of financial levers she could use to optimise operations. She also understood how a manufacturing company works in practice. When she was young, she often welded frames at her father's company, Primo. Beyond balancing the financial key figures at Ureflex, she spent much of her time in the production halls in an effort to understand and optimise processes and value creation there. With Mette at the helm, Ureflex made a complete turn-around. No more red figures on the bottom-line. After a couple of years, Ureflex had grown out of the crisis. The company has since been sold.
Active ownership with room to manoeuvre
The Ureflex story reflects Mette Grunnet's and Genua's approach to active ownership. The Genua toolbox is filled with financial and economic tools, the effect of which is to bring focus to business and operations. However, Genua also has a wealth of practical and pragmatic experience of creating value at a company. Combined with strong leadership experience, Genua has an excellent track record of helping companies to make a turn-around, develop and even sell.
Director Ulrik Mikkelsen is Genoa's day-to-day link with the companies in Genua's investment portfolio. Over the past 25 years, Ulrik Mikkelsen has held several managerial positions in Danish and international companies, and he is also an experienced Board member.
Ulrik ensures that there is always a respectful dialogue between Genua and the local management team. The local management team is responsible for operations while Genua takes care of business development and sets the strategic course from the boardroom. This does not mean that the dialogue never leaves the boardroom. At Genua, we believe in cultivating a dialogue in the shape of daily consultancy and discussions as needed between Ulrik Mikkelsen and senior management of the Genua-owned companies.
Genua is like no other
When Genua invests in a company, we never set a date for when the company will be sold on. Genua has the time and the patience needed to see the job to the door. In this respect, Genua differs from many equity funds, which operate with a clear exit strategy from the day they acquire a company. You could say that Genua fixes the car so that it runs safely and efficiently. We do not settle for vacuum cleaning, polishing and selling it fast. In the past, this has often meant that Genua was a company's appropriate owner for many years.
Another difference is that Genua does not operate with external capital. Genua invests its own money. Genua's strong capital basis provides security for the companies it owns. This safeguards not only the presence of capital for growth, but also the appetite for risk and a willingness to invest more as the opportunity arises. "Earn two pennies, reinvest one." Working on this principle, Genua has room to manoeuvre and is motivated by strategy and opportunities.
Finally, with a view to maintaining continuity and impetus, Genua also believes in maintaining a majority shareholding. There is nothing to stop senior employees or previous owners from owning a minority shareholding. Indeed, Genua has positive experience of this constellation at several companies.
We steer together
Genua seeks to be the purchaser of choice when families or individuals seek to sell their industrial company. They can be sure that Genua will respect fundamental corporate values and culture. They can also rest assured that Genua will revitalise the company and create more value. In this respect, it is important to emphasise that Genua does not make venture investments. We aim for every one of our investments to develop into a financial success. This means that Genua looks to find established companies who own the intellectual property rights to their products or solutions.
Genua is the Danish name for the genoa, the sail at the bow of a sailing yacht. The genoa is the most difficult sail to trim correctly – and correct trimming is decisive for the vessel’s course and speed. The genoa trimmer is one of the most important deckhands on board a ship. He has to have a good feel for the sail and he must keep a keen eye on both external conditions and internal relations. In future years, the Genua company will trim the sails of more Danish companies, increase its investments in industry and its efforts to create value because it makes sense and sets a clear direction.