"The nuggets of the Spirits Valley" episode #1: Laurent Becquart places the group BK'ART in orbit.
I) First stage: developing the existing (2013-2015)
Laurent Becquart is the founding father of the BK'Art group created in 2020 and which brings together various companies from the world of packaging, including Cognac Emballages Services, based opposite Grey Goose in Gensac. CES is the first stage of the rocket that will propel the entire holding company among the key players in the packaging industry...
Seduced by the company's potential in 2013, he sold his house and left a permanent contract as a printing engineer to take over the copacking activity, which then had a turnover of €270,000 and 4 employees. His initial objective was achieved: to find a company whose activity he masters and of which he can acquire 100% of the capital.
These are mainly manual operations, delicate and sometimes tedious, difficult to mechanize and requiring a lot of manpower: custom packaging (assembly of promotional boxes, applying labels to bottles or cases, applying tax stamps, compliance) and flat printing (re-covering on cases, boxes, crates).
Very quickly the historic site (200m2) became too small for the ambition of Laurent Becquart who took advantage of the program set up by Grand Cognac to move to a business incubator with 400m2 of premises available in 2015. He invested in a shrink-wrapping machine and won new customers, with turnover rising from 400,000€ to 800,000€ between 2014 and 2015 and the number of employees rising from 4 to 30.
He also wins the Business Takeover Award in 2016, when he canvasses to find a site that fits the size of his projects.. Because the premises of the business incubator are already so undersized that it is sometimes necessary to carry out certain operations outside .
II) Second stage: a 1300m2 site up to the challenges (2016-2018)
This is done in the summer of 2016 when CES moves into an ultra modern and functional 1300m2 warehouse in Gensac, opposite Grey Goose and Bouchages Delages. Newspaper headlines are ecstatic and speak of 'dazzling ascent'.
Laurent Becquart does not slow down the pace and invests in new equipment, organizes airy workstations allowing employees to work serenely and consolidates its position within the Spirits Valley with several assets:
- now the ability to personalise packaging is deployed using several printing techniques, a unique offer in the Charente: screen printing, hot foil stamping or pad printing (addition of legal notices, importers and creation of limited series).
- a structured and personalized organization with an organizational chart integrating a supply chain manager in liaison with customs and customers to ensure traceability.
- reactivity of the team, expandable to ensure fast and quality production.
Far from stopping there, Laurent Becquart decided to continue the expansion of the company, which would achieve a turnover of €1.6 million in 2018. However, CES is surrounded by a Natura 2000 zone that cannot be built on. It is therefore impossible to enlarge the premises. No problem, however, it will acquire other companies elsewhere...
III) Third step: diversify and complete its offer (2018-2021)
His first acquisition is Pyrénées Dorure Découpe based next to Pau, conforming to its policy of investing in 'made in France' craft companies. It is already well established in the world of luxury goods with Hermès as a long-standing client, as well as in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and spirits, sectors that are doing well.
Thus Laurent Becquart is widening the range of services by integrating hot stamping, curved gilding and embossing, while remaining in line with the artisanal philosophy of the packaging decoration trade. To this end, he invested in a laminating machine and a screen printing machine the following year. His objective was to offer all the operations that go beyond the classic packaging circuit: printing, cutting and folding-glueing.
With Pyrénées Dorure Découpe, it is positioned after printing and before cutting on operations with high added value. The turnover thus jumps again to reach 3.5 million € in 2020, the year of the acquisition of the Alket design studio and the GB Façonnage contract manufacturer near Angoulême.
Always on the move, he seems to be constantly several moves ahead of the game when it comes to making a decision. No doubt that his next projects will still make the headlines in local newspapers, which are wondering about the meteoric rise of the companies he is acquiring.
A true adventurer at heart, Laurent Becquart is nonetheless an outstanding manager, attentive to the smallest details and who leaves nothing to chance. Let's try to understand how he juggles with these two characteristics whose combination would in fact be the recipe for his success...
IV) Leadership interview with Laurent Becquart.
1- What are your favorite activities?
2- Which book influenced you the most?
3- Which mission did you like the most?
4- Do you have a method to facilitate decision making?
5- What is your most formative failure?
6- Can you share your secret behind your discipline as an outstanding manager?
7- How much of your time do you spend on strategic intelligence to keep an eye on what is happening in the spirits?
8- What is the original vision of the BK'Art group ? Is there a real upstream acquisition strategy behind the realization of this holding company ?
9- What advice would you give to an entrepreneur or start-up company that is starting to create a new range of spirits?
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