Aurige, a family-owned firm founded in 1944, is the French leader in the renovation of heritage real estate and listed monuments. The Aurige Group regularly needs to issue bonds and guarantees
as part of its business, and has decided to entrust this to Allianz Trade. Erick Romestaing, CEO of the Aurige Group, explains why.
Could you tell us a bit about Aurige?
The Aurige Group is a family-run business, led by the same family for 3 generations now. We are France's leading bespoke heritage real estate renovation company and offers 35 specialties, including stonemasonry, masonry, carpentry, painting and fixtures and fittings. We are present throughout France via our 60 local agencies, located as close as possible to our customers. Speaking of our customers, 60% of our projects are for the public sector (central government, local authorities, departments, and regions). To cite a few emblematic examples, we are involved in the renovation of Notre-Dame de Paris and the Pantheon. We also work with private-sector clients, most of them major luxury goods groups. 97% of our business is in France, and we are starting to expand into foreign markets, mostly with private clients. In 2022, we achieved a turnover of around 220 million euros, and our group has doubled in size over the last 10 years.
How do you explain this significant growth?
The first factor is organic growth: by being more competitive and efficient than our competitors, we have secured new markets to accelerated our development. We also rely on external growth to expand our range of expertise. Since 2016, for example, we have acquired companies in the paint, metal and fittings sectors. Our aim is to internalize all our businesses and control our value chain from end to end. This also enables us to respond to as many calls for tender as possible, while focusing on the best business opportunities.
What are your main challenges?
The main challenge is to last: our group has been in existence for almost 80 years, and we hope to still be around in 50- or 100-years’ time! To achieve this, it's essential to preserve our know-how. We need to attract young talent, pass on our skills, train and develop them, help them progress so that they can perpetuate our expertise. Our Group is focused on quality and people. Excellence, sharing, passion, respect and value are our values. We intend to stick to them and continue to pass them on.
The second challenge for our group is clearly internationalization. We have a good grasp of the domestic market, and we will continue to develop it, but we must also seize new opportunities abroad. Moreover, French know-how is particularly appreciated beyond our borders, which is an advantage we must capitalize on.
Why do you need to issue bonds?
Our profession requires us to respond to call for tenders that are regulated by certain legal obligations, including the issuance of specific bonds. For instance, for public contracts, we issue performance bonds and advance payment bonds. In the private sector, we also use on-demand bonds and subcontractor bonds. We are a major provider of surety bonds, issuing approximately 1,000 a year.
How are you organized internally to manage these bonds?
Our organization is highly centralized: on request from our local offices, our finance department handles bond management. We have established a very efficient process that allows us to issue our bonds within 24 hours. Everything is digitalized - we work on an e-surety platform, and Allianz Trade is a great help in ensuring the speed and fluidity of our process.
How did you hear about Allianz Trade?
Initially, we were handling surety issues with banks. Then we were approached by Allianz Trade, which presented their offer and conditions to us. The person we met convinced us to work with Allianz Trade, plain and simple. We have no regrets about that decision; on the contrary, today, 99% of our bonds
are managed by Allianz Trade!
What would you say are Allianz Trade's strengths in the field of surety bonds and guarantees?
The e-surety platform you offer is very simple and practical to use. It's a real time-saver, and is very much appreciated internally! Secondly, the responsiveness of your teams is noteworthy: on a daily basis, whatever our needs or queries, we benefit from fast, efficient support. For example, we're currently looking to expand in Morocco. It's a market we know little about, so we need a solid, expert surety partner to support us. That's what Allianz Trade does, explaining to us the specifics of the Moroccan market, the legal and regulatory constraints and the necessary tools, among other things. It's very reassuring to have such a major player on our side for this type of project. Allianz Trade's experts listen to our problems, know how to support us and adapt their services to our needs.
What are the benefits of Allianz Trade's bonding services?
Thanks to Allianz Trade, we save time. We're more reactive internally, and therefore more responsive to our customers' requests. This enables us to improve the quality of our service, which is essential if we are to continue developing our business.
Would you recommend Allianz Trade?
Yes, I would. You know, we're in the construction business, and in this sector we're very pragmatic: this solution works, communication flows smoothly, responsiveness is guaranteed, and the service is personalized. Therefore, we can only be satisfied with this collaboration.
Any advice you'd like to share with companies that need to issue bonds?
Digitization is essential, whatever the size of the company. It helps with regards to responsiveness, efficiency, and, most importantly, tracking. This is particularly important for a company like Aurige, which issues large volumes of bonds: thanks to digitization, we know exactly where we stand in a simple and quick manner. Without proper tracking, efficiency and cost management are compromised. In this sense, Allianz Trade's e-bond platform is very useful to us.