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  • 16.2 %
    Share capital 31/12/2016
  • 2,445 EUR M
    Market value of investment 31/12/2016
  • 16.2 %
    Voting rights 31/12/2016
  • 3
    Representatives in statutory bodies 31/12/2016
Investment Year 2013 Investment history

SGS provides tailored inspection, verification, testing and certification solutions to its customers to make their commercial activities faster, simpler and more efficient. Its worldwide network consists of more than 90,000 employees at more than 2,000 offices and laboratories.

Investment case

The Testing, Inspection and Certification industry is characterised by high barriers to entry and is driven by attractive fundamentals, in particular:

  • Expansion and ageing of infrastructure
  • Externalisation and privatisation of activities
  • Development of regulations
  • Growing complexity of products
  • Consolidation and economies of scale

In this sector, SGS offers a particularly attractive profile in terms of growth, profitability and cash flow generation:

  • World leader with a global geographic presence
  • Diversified portfolio of activities
  • Ideally positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities
  • Agile and resilient facing the hazards of economic cycles

Performance in 2016

In 2016, SGS reported solid growth of 6.0%, before currency effects. Turnover grew by 2.5% in organic terms, sustained by all the divisions except for the Industrial Services, Minerals Services & Oil, Gas & Chemical Services activities, which suffered from a weakened environment.
The group continued to pursue its acquisition strategy, which contributed 3.5% to the turnover in 2016. 19 companies were acquired, 15 of which outside Europe, enhancing SGS’s presence in seven of its divisions. The adjusted operating margin decreased to 15.4%. Net income, group’s share, fell by 1.1% to CHF 543 million, notably due to restructuring costs. Operating cash flows increased by 5.7%, spurred on by the good management of working capital. The net debt rose to CHF 736 million, due in particular to the share buyback plan. The cancellation of 2.4% of the capital amounting to a total of CHF 361 million will be proposed at the 2017 SGS General Shareholders’ Meeting.


SGS strives to continue with its growth strategy (organic and external) and strict control of its cost structure. In 2017, SGS is aiming for solid organic growth despite a difficult environment in the mining and energy sectors. In addition, SGS expects to increase its operating income on a constant currency basis and to generate robust free cash flow.


Board of Directors (3/10*) Audit Committee (1/4*) Nomination and Remuneration Committee (1/5*)
Member Member
Member Member
* Number of GBL's representatives in statutory bodies in relation to the total number of members