The trading in the shares of Solutions 30, an SBF 120 listed company, has been suspended
The trading in the shares of Solutions 30, an SBF 120 listed company, has been suspended for days upon request of the company. Trading won’t start again before 25 May. The French market authority (AMF) has urged the company on Tuesday to publish its financial accounts. Solutions 30 has been accused for month of misleading investors about its financial situation and has always denied all accusations, as discussed in a previous article from En-Contact.
What if Carson Block, the boss of Muddy Waters Research, had a sunken nose?
Can the installation of Linky and Gazpar connected meters, which is complex and highly consuming for field personnel and installers, generate significant margins at Solutions 30 and not at Scopelec, Constructel, Fayat, etc., its competitors? Anne Méaux and her team at Image 7 will probably have to resort to TI 30, the famous Texas Instruments* calculator, to help Solutions 30 explain. December 14, 2020
Called to the rescue this weekend by Solutions 30, to manage the communication crisis and its impact on the stock market as it was to defend the interests of BVA's managers, Image 7 is likely to have a lot of work to do: the figures, facts, and testimonials from employees or former managers of the Solutions 30 group, which deploys Linky meters (for Enedis), provides fiber installation (for customers such as Bouygues Télécom, in particular) or gas meter reading (for Engie), provides customer service or BPO operations for HP (Hewlett Packard), all converge: the company does not seem transparent either in its social practices or in its operational performance. What martingale, if any, has it found to generate such an Ebitda in a highly competitive market?
Doubts, and now accusations, are beginning to accumulate about the company led by Gianbeppi Fortis, which joined the SBF 120 in September 2020. An anonymous report—circulated from the United Kingdom—referring to falsified figures and reports with financiers who were allegedly linked to the Mafia—has caused a suspension of the listing on Euronext. Will Image 7, the agency called this weekend to the rescue to deal with the crisis linked to these revelations and their impact on the share price and the suspension of listing, be able to channel or put a carpet over what comes up from the field and employees, current or former? Until now, the second communication agency employed by the group (Edifice communication) has only sent press releases to the media on which no details have ever been obtained.
4 simple questions
Where did the significant EBITDA and profitability come from, which enabled Solutions 30 to achieve a value of 1.5 billion and integrate the SBF 120 in September of this year?
"Our biggest contract is the one with Enedis. It is declining and we are paid from 28 euros to 60 euros for the Linky meter installed. The pressure on installation quotas, so that we ideally install more than 14 meters per day and per employee, has led to quite serious work accidents. Travel time to the installation site is not included in the actual working hours. But even with these techniques, which allow us to optimize the margin, we have long been wondering what can generate such a growth in turnover and Ebitda," say experienced operational staff who have managed or are managing the installation teams within the group. "Many financial or operational directors have left the company, especially those who seemed to be rigorous." Contracts were signed in new markets, notably through the acquisition and consolidation of CPCP, but the proposed tariff level was the subject of major disagreements, internally, between those who studied the conditions of performance necessary to ensure the services and the managers who were in charge of submitting the tariff offer. Was the company tempted, in a race to the top, to propose rates and service conditions that would enable it to win contracts but that were incompatible with the promises of profitability announced to the financial markets?
What are the customers and profitability of the call center division?
The company has a contact center division, rich according to the information provided by the management, of 1200 workstations. If contact centers can be used to schedule appointments (in outbound calls) or provide customer service, what other companies does it work for? The sales director of this division, who has been asked several times by our magazine, has never answered precisely any question about its operational organization.
Why are employees and subcontractors unanimous on social networks?
[NDLT: the original French version being the transcription of poorly written social network messages, this translation is not perfectly accurate, although I made my best to remain truthful to the original version.]
August 30, 2019: "Company to be avoided like the plague. As a subcontracting technician, the prices of services are never respected except that there is a base price for each type of service but strangely on the monthly summary the prices paid by solutions 30 are always lower than their announced price. In addition, they over-inflate the invoices to their customers for interventions carried out by including complementary services that were not furnished but employees do not take 1 more euro and as I specified above S30 even allows itself to pay as they wish. People in charge clearly admit that money is being stolen from you and that if you are not happy you just have to go elsewhere, the call center is full of incompetent people (there must be 2 REAL professionals for 30 people) and many more other things. So unless you're ready to get scammed to get a little experience on your resume and find a place in another company that respects those who put bread on the table, don't stop at SOLUTIONS 30 and the 40 thieves."
October 28, 2019: "Worst job. Do you like being a dog? Having a problem in the field and being rebuked by your boss because he's at the bar? Then this company is for you! It's a wonderful job where to get bonuses it is necessary to put yourself in danger, and yes, to go quickly no time to put yourself in EPI [NDLT: the French version isn’t clearer]. In a nutshell, to be avoided: stressful work and without organization. You are easily fired"
August 31, 2019: "Horrible. Company working for the suffering of its employees and subcontractors. Believes itself to be above the law: respect for the labor code=0. Right to disconnection=unknown. Continuous pressure. And let's not talk about schedules. If you don't have a life, this company is for you. Otherwise run away"
July 18, 2019: "Solutions 30 Gard. (...) as soon as they arrive the drivers and site manager are taking it easy while the tech are doing the job of others no overtime paid ..."
July 9, 2019: "Lack of loyalty. (...) make a junior payroll manager finish at 10:30 p.m. in Saint Denis [NDLT: Parisian suburb where you don’t want to end up at night] and not offer to pay her an uber or give her a ride home. Lack of loyalty, lack of sincerity and should review the corporate culture such as the integration of employees. Oh yes, I forgot the DRESS CODE, it's the ghetto in the payroll department.”
NB: These opinions are the latest published on the Indeed platform, in the tab: employee opinions. Spelling or syntax errors have not been corrected.
The additional question
What is an Adjusted Ebitda, described in the prospectuses as an Ebitda after customer relationship operations?
The point of view of a market expert
"The key in this field management market is to ensure that installers, fiber installers, meter installers, etc., have optimized service schedules; it is therefore necessary to plan their activities as well as possible, ideally so that they are versatile, in order to be able to provide different types of services, and so that their desire to meet deadlines and ensure real quality is strong. The social model which consists in involving a mix of employees and self-employed people, and to ensure, like Solutions 30, almost 50,000 acts per day, is the right one. But its execution is complex. In Morocco, they have hundreds of people working in different call centers to plan these operations. Their growth drivers are in England, for example, with only 2 million fibers laid, in a country with a larger population than France, or in Germany. They are smart and respectful of their commitments, but in the past this has not always been the case."
Lire l'article en français ici.