Interview of Lukas Fecker Capital Manager and CEO of “Innovation Brain” holding at agrocapital.gr.
Dr. Lukas Fecker is the founder and CEO. He is the chairman of Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Europe. Lukas specialises in banking turnaround. He focuses on investments in private asset management companies, work-out banking and distressed investing. Lukas has over 20 years experience and was a partner at EY & KPMG and a director at Alvarez and Marsal. He led EY’s banking turnaround Solution EMEIA. Besides advisory, Lukas has been entrusted senior executive positions with 6 major businesses in turnaround as a CRO, CEO or board member.
Some of Lukas’ significant achievements include the scheme for a CHF25bn turnover stock listed business, the restructuring of a leading European Bank and the restructuring of 2 funds. Over the years he has worked with leading financial institutions across the globe.
In the midst of the financial crisis, why did you invest in Greece and in particular in the Hellenic Sugar Industry (EBZ) ?
Greece is starting to recover, EBZ has an excellent farmer base, good sugar quality, and an excellent location for import export sale of Sugar and other Agri products. Together with the farmers we can build a Sugar business and other Agri businesses. EBZ is a good place to start this.
What are the strategic movements you are going to follow for the reconstruction and recovery of the EBZ?
Going back to 100.000 tons quickly, and more long term, improve the sugar content in the beet, reduce the production cost and start international business with EBZ. We will invest in related products and develop new profitable products together with the farmers. The good and natural supply of farmer products are crucial. We can build the factories for their products. EBZ has decent factories and great logistics
Are you familiar with the history of the EBZ ?
Yes, the good and the bad parts of it.
Are you aware that the EBZ is obliged to liquidate some of its equipment while you have submitted an acquisition proposal?
THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED, this destroys EBZ ability to produce sugar this year.This sale is against the law as it is preferential treatment of creditors. Selling the equipment is also bad restructuring, according to the law the company needs to keep the equipment which is needed to continue operation. We are trying to stop it.
Do your plans involve all the infrastructure of the EBZ?
Yes we acquire all infrastructure, we have developed detailed business plans and entertain discussions for investments in further infrastructure.
How do you see the future of sugar beet crop in Greece after your investment ?
The production to go back up, Sugar beet seed need to improve, with higher sugar content. We plan to offer best fertiliser and pesticides and assist to organise better priced machinery for the frames.We plan prefinancing for farmers and timely payment by year end for the harvest.
What are you planning to do to secure the Greek sugar beet growers’ interests and how are you going to guarantee it?
The Farmers are our key suppliers and the base for a good product. We are proposing a long term agreement with the farmers. This will include production volume, quota planning, pricing, seed, fertiliser, pesticides, advisory services on Sugar beet and chemicals, additional products which the farmers can produce while the soil rests from thee sugar beet.We will be blocked for 10-20 years on this investment. The farmers can decide every year if they want to plant. We will need to contract them long term.