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A targeted acquisition strategy has made Belfor a leader in post-disaster recovery services


Today, it is the leader in post-disaster management. In just a few years, the French cleaning group Belfor has managed to become the leading player in this niche market. This performance has been achieved by means of a targeted strategy of acquisitions. Experts from AURIS Finance, a consultancy firm specialising in mergers and acquisitions, provide an insight into this strategy.

Although the Belfor Group – formerly known as Haniel – was founded in 1946, it was not until 1990 that it began to specialise. In that year, Belfor acquired COUTHEILLAS S.A., a small company specialising in decontamination after disasters. This was the first step into a profession with very specific know-how, but for which there was a great demand. From then on, Belfor made post-disaster decontamination and restoration its trademark, with the strong promise of ” salvaging rather than throwing away “.

A unique model and a highly specialised profession

The Group intervenes after fire or water damage to restore homes, businesses and industrial sites. Belfor acts on behalf of its insurance clients, brokers, property syndicates and lessors. In the case of damage to businesses and production sites, the Group makes its experts available to manage the entire project, from diagnosis to recovery and restoration. Working with insurers, these specialists are responsible for limiting the total cost of a claim. To consolidate its leadership, the Group has set up an internal organisation, Belfor University, which provides training to all its employees throughout the world (decontamination basics, impact of a disaster, safety issues, and customer relations). This is a good way for the Group to share its expertise, as training for these highly specialised professions is rare or non-existent around the world.

An acquisition strategy combined with strong organic growth

In 2023, Belfor will have a total of 12,500 employees in thirty countries through 550 offices. Around the world, the Group applies the same strategic recipe: buying a local company specialising in post-disaster recovery and then developing it. As its presence in a country grows, Belfor strengthens its territorial coverage through new acquisitions. The Group is particularly well developed in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and France, where its activities are organised into four major regions. In May 2022, for example, Belfor joined forces with the Partech Group. This will strengthen its presence in the west and centre of France.

A highly dynamic market

Each year, the company manages nearly 60,000 claims with a total turnover of €100 million. Since the Covid health crisis, during which Belfor has made a number of acquisitions, growth has been particularly dynamic. Demand for post-disaster recovery services is now growing, particularly from companies seeking to reduce their impact as part of their CSR strategy. Restoration after a disaster is increasingly preferred to destruction and reconstruction.

Get the support you need

Specialist cleaning companies with specific expertise are still highly sought after by cleaning groups looking to expand their market share. At AURIS Finance, our experts are specialised by sector. We are at your side throughout your entire acquisition or sale transaction.

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#Environmental Services, Cleaning & Multiservices