Case Study

Coffrages Synergy $27 Million Senior-Secured Credit Facility. Here's what we saw.
Coffrages Synergy (Coffrages) is a recognized and highly sought-after construction leader in Quebec for concrete foundations and versatile structural forms. It is led by an ambitious, result-oriented team motivated to grow beyond private-sector Quebec contracts. Others didn’t see it. We did.

Transaction Overview

Third Eye Capital provided Coffrages with a larger secured financing facility when the company’s bank had starved it of growth capital and threatened possible remedial action due to covenant breaches caused by quick amortizing equipment leases. Coffrages was concurrently in the process of obtaining regulatory approval in order to bid on public contracts. Coffrages needed a partner who would not only provide capital to support its growth plan but help effect a financial and operational turnaround to restore confidence with various skeptical stakeholders.

Opportunity

Founded in 2000 and based in Lavaltrie, Quebec, Coffrages is a recognized construction leader in concrete foundations and versatile structural forms. It is one of only three formwork contractors in Quebec, which owns and is experienced in the use of PERI Formwork Systems, specialized equipment for high-rise buildings and complex projects. Coffrages was familiar with Third Eye Capital’s hands-on experience in the construction services industry and sought its help to reorganize Coffrages, refinance bank debt and equipment leases, and to provide growth capital. In May 2016, with TEC’s guidance, Coffrages undertook a significant reorganization to maximize the possibility of regulatory approval. Such regulatory approval would provide COFF a growth boost, increase market confidence, and attract investors and traditional banks for future financings. We saw a company with a loyal, top-tier customer base, a growing contractual backlog, and a reputation for quality and timely project completion. Third Eye Capital was the perfect partner to help Coffrages turn perceived risks to actual opportunities.

Approach & Outcome

We took a hands-on approach to recognizing impediments to regulatory approval and caused a structural separation of the primary operating business from other affiliates, creating a new independent corporate entity that could meet regulatory hurdles. We also used our experience to understand Coffrages’ growth pains and tailored our facility to release cash from working capital and inefficient equipment leases. We put in strict internal controls, implemented powerful tracking tools, and helped management optimize operating cash flows. We designed processes to improve collections and structured a lending borrowing base that was compatible with the seasonality and cash flow cycle of the business. Not only did Third Eye Capital help solve many operational issues but also trained management to convert data into informative decisions that allowed it to thrive in a competitive business environment.

Our business solutions enabled Coffrages to execute its plan, obtain coveted regulatory approval in less than a year, reduce working capital constraints, and more than double EBITDA during our relationship. Coffrages eventually refinanced Third Eye Capital through very low-cost loans, including one from the bank that had previously shunned the business. We saw so Coffrages could overcome growth and regulatory impediments and ultimately soar beyond management’s expectations.

"Without the help of Third Eye Capital, Coffrages Synergy Formwork would not have grown exponentially in the last two years. The team of Third Eye Capital took the time to understand our business before recommending improvement solutions, which we applied, allowing us to reach our goal of becoming the leader in formwork in the Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa areas. They did not hesitate to challenge us, which forced us to constantly surpass ourselves. With their advice and experience, they allowed us to implement a rigorous reporting system to increase our cash flow management and collection tracking. They are passionate about creating value that other conventional financial institutions would maybe not dare to do. It was a pleasure to work with the entire team and I would not hesitate to recommend them to other entrepreneurs."

Michel Beaudoin, CFO