Is the flagship EuraTechnologies taking water in Lille?

It all started at the end of August with a very dry letter from Martine Aubry, mayor of Lille and chairman of the board representing the shareholder Ville de Lille, to Nicolas Brien, 33, former director general of France Digitale (a business lobby). digital) and former leader of the Socialist Party in Allier, just arrived in June 2021 at the head of EuraTechnologies.

In the letter taken from DailyNord.frpoints out Martine Aubry:

“a management behavior that appears to be of great concern”, a “regular questioning of the decisions “, of ” constant changes in the organization of instructions, permanent announcements of new projects to be completed as soon as possible » and even a « erratic behavior ” as well as ” destabilization of the vast majority of your team and a significant number of layoffs and departures for the purpose of proper functioning and even function of the structure “.

Seven sided defense

In turn, the person defended himself by only sending the members of the supervisory board a seven-page long letter of 31 August. The regional daily newspaper The voice of the Nordicswho was able to access the document, reports that the deposed president first justifies his assessment, listing the actions taken in a single year: the installation of the first provincial cyber campus in Lille, in addition to the arrival of unicorns and extraordinary fundraising…

Except that Nicolas Brien also mentions the financial situation of EuraTechnologies ” not reassuring », « equity at risk “and” questionable property choices “. For him, it was the social climate (which has about fifty employees) ” dramatic on a human level “, with a ” a significant proportion of employees who are considered to be burnt out “, as well as harassment (” morally and sexually “) and even ” sexual assaults “.

In this letter, large extracts are taken from The voice of the NordicsNicolas Brien undertakes the departure of ” 90% of the board “, as well as many employees,” whose state of health no longer permitted them to remain in office “. In this context, he recalls one of his missions, namely ” remobilize and strengthen the workforce (…) Which is an admission that the board had long known that the team was demobilized and weakened when I arrived. “.

Campus Cyber ​​​​​​​​Hauts-de-France will open its doors to Euratechnologies in 2022

Loss of real estate

These comments are also consistent with the minutes of the 10 January 2022 general meeting, where Martine Aubry clarified that many employees had left and that the mixed economy company (SEM) had been understaffed for several years, justifying a forecast of 43% of staff costs in the provisional budget.

For the more global assessment, Nicolas Brien indicated that EuraTechnologies ” had never incubated so many projects ” and that ” property operations as a whole are relatively satisfactory or even very good in terms of occupancy rates, with the exception of certain premises that are not on the market due to work “. The debate about losses associated with EuraTechnologies’ real estate does not seem new, Philippe Beauchamps even recalls that these losses come from “ only from a property deficit “, according to Philippe Beauchamps, representing the shareholder Hauts-de-France Regional Council. Contacted for more details on this real estate deficit, The gallery has no feedback from the interested party.

Budget-wise, if the very special year 2020 had ended with a deficit, 2021 was back in balance. 2022 had even been put under the sign of a ” growth and expansion budget », with special determination of a 3% fee on fundraising supported by Euratechnologies, as well as on business contributions. New practice that apparently did not please everyone, where some entrepreneurs in the ecosystem have “ reporting their incomprehension (note: faced with this percentage subtracted) from the region’s services “, specifies Philippe Beauchamps.

+73% of operating income

Did Nicolas Brien really want to go too fast or was he simply supporting the forced march that shareholders wanted for Euratechnologies? Still, the interim budget provided for a 73% increase in operating income (compared to a financial year disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic).

In order to pursue a more ambitious development policy, SEM had in any case decided in 2019 to acquire additional financial resources. It’s even” based on this strategye” that Nicolas Brien had been recruited. And made working hypotheses,” such as the sale of the EuraTechnologies brand by the city of Lille or the capital injection of the Leblan Lafont building by the European metropolis of Lille “… which had not been retained. The board ended up choosing ” a capital increase in cash via private actors. On the one condition that the public shareholders remain in the majority.

Capital increase

The subject of the capital increase is even presented by Martine Aubry as a ” very political subject “which then should” above all be the subject of a discussion between the current shareholders through the board and the chairman of the board “. In a context where the large regional groups ” show a real interest in integrating the capital structure in SEM “.

Six months later, on June 23, 2022, it’s done. Finally, it was the Mulliez Family Association (AFM) that entered the capital of EuraTechnologies and co-invested 7 million euros together with the entrepreneurial network Entreprises et Cités (grouping of more than 25 clubs) via ECTech. For the group’s galaxy of brands (and in particular Auchan, Decathlon or Leroy Merlin) it is the guarantee of collaborating with innovative retail start-ups.

The total fundraising was 24 million euros, the remaining 17 million were mainly contributed by the historical shareholders: the European metropolis of Lille (amount unknown, the request of The gallery from EuraTechnologies remained unanswered), the Hauts-de-France region (5 million), the city of Lille (1 million) together with the main regional banks, namely Crédit Agricole Nord de France, Caisse d’Epargne Hauts-de-France and Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (already 5% shareholder). For the record, the original subscription of 1.5 million in capital was divided between 1.05 million from the urban community of Lille Métropole, 300,000 euros from the regional council and 150,000 euros from the city of Lille.

Finally ! “, some would say, because it was the will of the founders of EuraTechnologies (including the late Pierre de Saintignon, p.first deputy mayor of Lille and after having been deputy chairman of the regional council under Daniel Percheron’s socialist chairmanship). ” These two paths meet today to accelerate a living whole “, stressed Barthélémy Guislain, the chairman of the board of the Mulliez Family Association in the press release of the arrival in the capital. ” These mutual contributions will be characterized by a persistent spirit of innovation and an innate entrepreneurial dimension. The reflection of a continuum of the history of the territory and its economic actors. »

Why did you choose a retail business in the first place? Will EuraTechnologies gain or lose independence? Answer to the next section. The flagship is currently managed by a woman, Koussée Vaneecke, who notably cut her teeth at Danone, Pernod Ricard and Webhelp. Nicolas Brien himself assured it: it is ” the right leader for EuraTechnologies “.

Euratechnologies: a new director full of ambition for the first French innovation center