Auxadi are very happy to welcome Juan Ignacio Cías Naveda who joins us as M&A Director – a newly created role within Auxadi.
Ignacio (aka ‘Nacho’) joins Auxadi from PWC Spain, where he was M&A Director for 4 years. His experience with transactions and integrations is a key factor to assist with Auxadi’s growth strategy in the coming years.
Auxadi’s newly appointed M&A Director, Juan Ignacio Cías Naveda sits down with Board Member Stephen Chipman to talk about his role and M&A success.
Stephen Chipman: Where did you get the nickname ‘Nacho’? Nacho: It’s a cultural thing. In Spain, all Ignacios are called Nacho. Like in English, William becomes Bill. In Spain, Ignacio is Nacho, Jose becomes Pepe, and Francisco is Paco.
No-one calls me Juan, except my mother when she’s angry with me!
SC: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Nacho: I think I’m a pretty normal person. My family is a main pillar in my life – my three daughters keep me busy. I love travelling, though we can’t do it much at the moment. I live on the outskirts of Madrid, so long walks in the countryside are a daily event right now. I love skiing, I play tennis – I’m fairly sporty. And wine, I appreciate a good wine!
“We need to adapt ourselves to new countries, to new cultures, to new people with different ways of working”.
Juan Ignacio Cías Naveda
SC: With your experience you must be in demand – Why did you choose Auxadi? Nacho: The projects [growth plans] are what attracted me.
I used to be a supplier, providing the services, and that’s the dynamic I’m used to. I’m used to interacting with clients, used to running my own business. And it was time for a change, to look after new challenges, new roles and different professional development opportunities, and dedicate all my time to one single client with ongoing projects.
I met Victor a few years ago. I was interested in Auxadi as a whole, as a project – the strategic growth that Victor and Inflexion were telling me about was really interesting, and I have the experience to help.
SC: Yours is a newly created role – can you tell a little more about the growth plans for Auxadi and how the acquisition strategy fits into that?Nacho: The Auxadi growth plan has two pillars – organic & inorganic – but you can’t see one without the other. Part of the organic growth may come from previous inorganic acquisitions!We’re not growing for the sake of it, we look for companies that fit our model, that complement our services and provide opportunities to develop both sides of the business – with the main goal of being important in every region where we operate.The goal is to grow our presence in countries where we are not as well known, and always make connections between the client’s requirements and our value model.
SC: You’re based in Madrid – given COVID restrictions, I imagine your first day with Auxadi was different to a normal first day. How did virtual onboarding go? Nacho: My first day was at the office as I needed to get equipment! But I’ve only been in the office for 3 days in 5 months. Virtual technology has definitely made life easier. It used to be that I was constantly on my mobile phone. [Microsoft] Teams has replaced the mobile, and now we can see people’s faces.
Sometimes we get tied to offices, people and places, and situations like this force us to be more responsible. A couple of months ago, in general terms, people wanted to work from home on Fridays and Mondays – but COVID has changed everyone’s minds on home working. And home working makes you more efficient by far, limiting distractions and saving time for everyone.
Being able to work from home or having the opportunity to go to the office or not, would be great. Let’s hope COVID gives us that choice soon.
But I personally find it difficult to work from home – the fridge is a constant temptation!
SC: What’s your first priority at Auxadi? Nacho: To fit into the structure.
Mine is a new position and there are a lot of new people coming in to Auxadi – and I want everyone, and myself, to be part of the team. Being at home makes that a little more difficult, but we need to feel like we’re a team.
Which we are – everyone is helping each other. Everyone is helping grow the business and attract clients, and helping to get all the background machinery of the business in place so we can absorb and digest growth.
SC: With Auxadi actively growing, the acquisition of Resolve BPO was announced just this week, what do you think are the key drivers to ensure a successful acquisition and integration? Nacho: We need to do homework during the pre-deal, but need to put more attention on the current company to be able to support the newly absorbed business. If the company is not setup to handle 50 new staff, the integration will never succeed. Background infrastructure is important.
The company has to be aligned with the new acquisition – alignment is very important. There must be synergy.
We need to adapt ourselves to new countries, to new cultures, to new people with different ways of working, as well as to having English as a business language to be able to communicate with our staff all over the world.
The animal has to be prepared to digest. If we don’t succeed in that, we won’t succeed in the human race! Preparation is everything.
SC: What makes an acquisition a success? There must be many things to consider… Nacho: Post-deal integration is the first stone on the road. But a more important thing is the fit. Companies should ask, ‘Is this the right deal, no matter the price?’. The fit is most important. Alignment.
Being able to manage the culture and people, being able to convert the expected synergies that you think the new business can bring you – cross-selling, new services, new locations – growing with our clients into new markets.
Integration, fit, culture, being able to manage new clients are the most important things.
SC: What’s the state of the M&A market? Has M&A been affected by COVID-19? Nacho: At the beginning of the pandemic, in Mar-May 2020, most of the businesses in the world didn’t know what was going on – and uncertainty kills M&A. But, during those 3 months, people learned they could still make deals, and that deal-closing via Teams & Zoom is possible.
And I think deals will continue to be done by Teams in future. Although better to have, you don’t really need physical interaction with targets; there are alternatives.
Since June 2020, the money market reached its previous levels then exceeded them at the end of 2020. Funds have cash, there’s liquidity in the market, and opportunities for M&A are everywhere. The market prices went down, banks wanted to lend – that was all it took to boost the market back.
We are human – we adapt – and so does the market.
SC: How do you spend your non-working time? Do you have any hobbies?
Nacho: My three little ladies take up a lot of my time, and our house in the countryside helps to disconnect. We prefer to be outside than inside – sports, kids activities. And, of course, the beer after sport is the best!
Founded in 1979, Auxadi is a family-owned business working for multinational corporations, private equity funds and real estate funds. It’s the leading firm in international accounting, tax compliance and payroll services management connecting Europe and the Americas with the rest of the world, offering services in 50 countries. Its client list includes many of the top 100 PERE companies. Headquartered in Madrid, with offices in US and further 22 international subsidiaries, Auxadi serves 1,500+ SPVs across 50 jurisdictions.
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