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Albéa Group: How to break up with your bank

Changing bank may sound stressful, but coupled with a change of financing strategy it has enabled packaging supplier Albéa Group to achieve substantial cost savings.


Cosmetic packaging supplier Albéa employs more than 10,000 people across 31 industrial sites in 13 countries in Europe, North America and Asia and has annual sales in excess of $1 billion.

The group has five core banks with global capabilities, but finance and treasury director Olivier Bouillaud admits that it is working with too many financial institutions (approximately 20 overall) and that its bank account structure could be simplified.

The longer-term target is to have two local banks and one international bank in every major geographical area in which the company operates.

“I prefer to have a few banks that are happy to share my side business (being more agile and reactive if I do have projects to finance), rather than too many banks unhappy with the relationship,” he says.

In the US – where Albéa makes a quarter of its turnover – the company was working with just one bank. “We were quite satisfied with the quality of the cash management services, but the relationship had become stale with respect to the functioning of our asset-based lending,” says Bouillaud. “This collateralized financing (worth in excess of $60 million) had many constraints.