There are many reasons why a company would want to take a risk on a merger and acquisition transaction. For one, a corporate merger or acquisition has the potential to make a profound impact on a company’s growth prospect and long-term outlook, making easy work of fending off the competition.
Companies may also merge to take advantage of synergies and economies of scale, or they may do it simply for the tax breaks. In the case of Prosegur, though, M&A is all about global domination.
“We’ve been very active in M&A. We’ve bought 100 companies in the past 10 years,” says Prosegur China Managing Director Luis Macias. “We are expanding here in Asia–Pacific. We already have a presence in China, India, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. And we typically enter each new market with an acquisition and develop it from there.”
Prosegur (PITCO), a world leader in the private security industry, has a presence on five continents. Its tagline is, ‘We make the world a safer place’ and to fulfil that promise, it created five different business lines – Prosegur Alarms, Prosegur Security, Prosegur Cash, Prosegur Cipher and Prosegur AVOS – offering companies, households and retail businesses security they can trust, based on the most advanced solutions on the market.
“Every industry is changing, but in security, it’s changing a lot,” says Luis, who’s been at Prosegur for just over a decade. “And we have also been transforming. We’ve gone from a traditional security company to a much more advanced services and evolving technology company with our new business lines. And those businesses are also changing a lot. Everything is becoming more sophisticated.”
Just as Prosegur has a huge appetite for M&A, it’s also got a taste for technology. And it’s whetting its appetite through various collaborations. “Now, we also have a venture capital arm to try and acquire more technology and more innovation for the company,” he says. “We try to provide a complete solution for security, so innovation is crucial.”
Recently, the forward-thinking company opened its doors to the talent and creativity of worldwide startups, which have innovative security solutions and the ambition to grow on a global scale, in the second edition of its ‘COME IN’ initiative.
Noting that collaboration is essential, Prosegur believes innovative projects like this need to continue to be implemented in order to build a successful future. Likewise, the company also believes that strategic partnerships are essential to keeping its innovative edge.
“The way we work with suppliers is unique – we don’t buy things to sell. Instead, we develop solutions with them,” explains Luis, who first began his career at Prosegur in research and development.
“We tell them our needs and then we try to develop a partnership. For us, this is really important.” This past June, Prosegur teamed up with tech giant Microsoft to innovate in customer protection.
Having good relationships with suppliers has helped us improve and emerge stronger from the difficulties of the pandemic.
The two companies sealed a long-term alliance, agreeing to carry out initiatives in the areas of digital transformation and co-innovation with a goal of driving new areas of growth in security and cybersecurity solutions. Prosegur also began a partnership with Spain’s biggest telecom company Telefónica recently.
“Our partnership with Telefónica is helping us push sales because they go into every hub. Now, we are offering with them the alarm business for individuals, our B2C business,” he reveals.
“Having good relationships with suppliers has helped us improve and emerge stronger from the difficulties of the pandemic. “COVID-19 has been a nightmare for everyone. We’re a very large company with more than 160,000 employees worldwide. So we’ve been facing this pandemic in phases, starting here in China. Then it went to Europe, then Latin America, and so on.
It’s affected all of our areas. In some countries, sales are going down. “Our revenue fell by 20% last year. But, at the same time, we were also able to reduce our costs a lot. We saved by not travelling overseas and by negotiating prices. So we still maintained a positive result with US$69 million in profit, which is good.”
Headed by President Helena Revoredo, The Prosegur Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that acts as a channel for the company’s social and cultural activities. Its aim is to build a more supportive society, generating development opportunities for people. “For us, social responsibility is very important,” Luis says. “We operate in 26 countries. And in each, we support education as an indisputable driver of change and promote the inclusion of people living with intellectual disabilities. Corporate social responsibility is something we take very seriously.”
With a long 45-year history, Prosegur is no stranger to challenge. Besides the pandemic, its biggest one currently lies in creating a strong, unified culture after all of its M&A activity.
“It’s not easy to change. With all of the different cultures of the different countries we operate in, and the various companies we’ve acquired, it’s challenging. Transformation is a key point. And with our threeyear plan, I’m confident we’ll get there.”
Called ‘Perform & Transform’, Prosegur’s new plan aims to consolidate the leadership position of the company in the security market worldwide and accelerate the profitable growth of its operations. It represents the perfect combination of process improvement and operational optimisation together with innovation initiatives.
“Prosegur is growing, and we’re able to manage all of these complexities quite well. I don’t see any other company being so active on M&A,” Luis says.
“We’re one of the largest companies, and organically, we’ve been able to assemble all of these different pieces, getting them to work together for our concept of global, regional and local. We decide globally, we implement regionally and then we go local. And then we become the leader.”