Sodexo has opened negotiations with the British fund CVC to sell about a quarter of the capital of its “benefits and rewards” branch (restaurant vouchers, gifts, etc.) But the French collective catering giant is not idly by in the meantime.
To accelerate its diversification in this dynamic sector of employee benefits, at a time when recruiting and retaining employees has never been more complicated, Sodexo Pass France, a dedicated subsidiary of the group founded by Pierre Bellon, weaves three exclusive (or almost ) commercial partnerships with leading start-ups in their field: Skipr offers an application to facilitate flexible and sustainable mobility, combining bicycles, car sharing, electric scooters, scooters, public transport; Rosaly, fintech, offers automatic management of salary deposit requests, while 40% of French people have a negative balance in the middle of the month due to unforeseen events; and Gymlib, the sporttech of non-binding sports subscriptions, allows unlimited access to 4,000 infrastructures and a range of activities, from the most classic to the most unusual, solo or with colleagues.
Expectations turned upside down by Covid
Enough to further expand Sodexo’s range, which already offers 5 million employees from 50,000 companies, CSEs and administrations, the Restaurant Pass and Spirit of Gift cards, the Tir Groupé Gift Voucher, the Wedoogift app, the CESU, as well as mobility solutions, with a network of 700,000 partner merchants in France.
“With the Covid episode, telework and the talent war, the notion of employee experience was reinforced, increasingly digitized and personalized, just like the employer brand. The expectations of young graduates are not the same as those of executives established twenty years ago and with families,” explains Sodexo Pass France Managing Director François Gaffinel.
For the manager, the desire, expressed by 80% of employees in a BCG study, for greater flexibility at work, and the fact that purchasing power has become the number one concern, are exceptional opportunities to boost their targeted cash formulas. , exempt from social charges for both employers and employees. But these trends also make the need for innovation increasingly significant. “Therefore, we either develop our solutions internally, or we select the best allies, with the ambition of providing a 360° reach to the HRD of companies of all sizes and all sectors”, continues the head of the “benefits and awards” branch. from Sodexo.
And Sodexo’s global presence makes it possible to share best practices. “So Skipr worked with us in Belgium, then in France, while Gymlib should expand to other European countries, as was the case with Deliveroo or Uber Eats for meal delivery”, underlines the head of Sodexo Pass France.
The world’s number two, serving 35 million employees, 470,000 companies, 1.3 million merchant partners, in 30 countries, must move quickly against leader and pure player Edenred, present with 50 million users, 900,000 companies, 2 million merchants in 45 countries. Especially since, with an operating margin of almost 27%, this division is the most profitable. In the first half of 2022, concluded at the end of February, it generated 106 million euros in operating profit from the group’s 538 million euros to 17.4 billion in revenue.
Sodexo would expect a valuation of this division of up to 4 billion euros, in line with Edenred’s valuation multiple on the stock market, ie just over 18 times its 2021 EBITDA. Perhaps a little greedy. But the Marseille-born multinational has an advantage over its competitor in its relationship with companies and administrations. Because it is also a service provider for its canteens, its maintenance and cleaning services, not to mention its Circle concierge service, its WX office development subsidiary, its participation in Grandir day care centers, etc.
“There is no limit to the range of services to be offered to HRDs who will increasingly have to support their employees far beyond the professional staff”, summarizes François Gaffinel.