2BMonthly interviews Olivier Marchioro, our managing director, in its June issue. The review pays a particular attention to Staphyt’s evolution from a French local field research station to a major player on the international market. 2BMonthly also questions how Staphyt deals with consolidation activities among major crop protection companies, and then concentrates on Staphyt’s growing share market on biologicals. A news article worth reading to know more about Staphyt’s past, present and future developments!
2BMonthly: Staphyt has grown from a small field research station in north of France 30 years ago to one of the largest contract research organizations in the world. Tell us about the evolution of Staphyt and how you achieved the success you enjoy today?
Olivier Marchioro: Catherine and Jacques Boisleux founded Staphyt in 1989, from scratch. Just with their visionary approach, their ability to anticipate and serve new needs. This frame of mind is Staphyt’s DNA. To evolve from a French local field research station to a key worldwide player, Staphyt achieved significant milestones. First, the company developed in France as a precursor on an emerging market of field trials services and conquered client’s confidence and loyalty thanks to the constant quality of its services. Then, Staphyt broadened its scope. Geographically, Staphyt expanded in Europe and further, to other continents: Africa more recently and we developed partnerships in America last year. In terms of markets, Staphyt has played a pioneer role by creating an entire team dedicated to biologicals as early as 2011. Three years ago, Staphyt also strengthened its regulatory activities by merging its solid in-house know-how with external structures, and by expanding its agricultural expertise to chemical regulations. Staphyt has a network of more than 70 experimental stations in 17 countries on 3 continents.
2BMonthly: How have you structured Staphyt to manage such a large and diverse organization?
O.M: Efficient work-organization, employee integration, involvement and proximity are key words for us. Recently, Staphyt decided to better answer both local specificities and worldwide issues. We have set up an innovative organization: Staphyt now combines geographic business units and market-focused business units. This approach fosters autonomy, responsibility as well as teamwork. The business units gather and focus on specific subjects. They also meet to draw the company’s strategy. We thus combine a pragmatic form of autonomy with collegial strategic decisions. At Staphyt, special emphasis is placed on the integration of new staff members: sharing common values and know-how ensures the continuity of services provided to clients, from one side of the world to the other. At the end of the year, European Staphyt’s 400 employees are flying to France for the 30th anniversary of the company – Australasian teams will gather as well next July (winter time in Oceania). Our success is a team success; we want to celebrate it together.
2BMonthly: You made your first major acquisition in 2001. Since that time, you have been acquiring other companies at an accelerating rate, with three acquisitions in 2015 and another in Australia in 2016. Do you foresee more acquisition activity in the future?
O.M: Indeed, we acquired 21 companies since 1995. The most recent ones are ASC (Ambrosi Scientific Consulting) in 2015, Peracto in Australasia and ATC in Austria in 2016. Early this year, TB Agrartechnik joined us. This external growth enables Staphyt to expand its range of research and regulatory services. Therefore, even today, Staphyt is prepared to seize external growth opportunities if it adds value to the services we provide to our customers. All our decisions have only one scope: meet our clients’ requirements. Yet for Staphyt, external growth goes along with organic growth. It’s essential for us to keep on June 2018 6 of 9 ©2BMonthly enhancing existing structures and training staff in order to always bring the most appropriate answers to our clients.
2BMonthly: Staphyt also signed partnership agreements with nine agricultural contract research companies in North and South America in 2017. Why did you choose to pursue a partnership strategy here rather than acquisitions?
O.M: Staphyt chooses the most appropriate ways to build its external growth: developing partnerships is one of them. It was all the more appropriate to cover areas as different as Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Partnerships ensure an efficient market discovery, drawn on in-depth local expertise. And partnerships can lead to acquisitions in the medium or long run.
2BMonthly: Consolidation activities among major crop protection companies must have an impact on the contract research world. Do you see this as a positive or negative development for Staphyt?
O.M: The crop protection market has evolved over the past 30 years and will always do. The recent consolidation activities are part of this on-going process. Evolution is inherent to Staphyt’s businesses: it is our work to foresee changes, anticipate solutions, suit new requirements. Our clients are long-term partners: it’s our role to support them in this transitional period. More than ever we take over their projects and provide them appropriate expertise and competences. Having recently implemented a new organization ourselves, we perfectly understand the different stages our clients are going through. So, we don’t see consolidation activities as good or bad for our development. It’s a phase in our client’s business’ lives. We keep pace with their changing markets and environments.
2BMonthly: Biocontrol and biostimulant markets have been growing at a much faster rate than the traditional crop protection and fertilizer segments. Staphyt formed Bioteam to focus on biological products in 2011. Do you see biocontrol and biostimulant products becoming a larger portion of your business?
O.M: There is no doubt about that. Our turnover regarding biologicals increases every year (+18% in 2017), reaching more than 8% of our business. Staphyt has been a pioneer in this field in 2011 when it developed its Bioteam, the most comprehensive team dedicated to biologicals in Europe. Staphyt made an effective step forward by recruiting agronomists, PhD in biology and regulatory experts specialized in bioproducts. We also invested heavily on adequate equipment to carry out specific field and laboratory protocols and tests. The biologicals market hasn’t reached its maturity yet. The consumers demand for environmental friendly products is growing in most countries. The creation of our Bioteam was aligned with the rise of integrated crop protection practices and the development of biocontrol and biostimulants. Staphyt will keep on investing in these field to remain a front-runner.