March 25, 2023

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Construction: Rabot Dutilleul raises 6 million for its ecological transition

The family construction group Rabot Dutilleul, based in Wasquehal, near Lille, has just raised 6 million euros in the form of a bond loan from four regional investors: the fund Rev3 Capital (Nord Capital Partenaires) Reboost (Siparex) , Finorpa and Nord Croissance (IRD) to finance its global decarbonization plan.

The carbon impact has become one of the major issues in the construction sector. “We need to act on the entire value chain, from design to completion,” emphasizes Francois Dutilleul, chairman of the group. Although the construction subsidiary is beginning to manufacture more sub-assemblies upstream on industrial sites, it also wants to intervene gradually from the design of the building. It has thus designed in-house software to promote the eco-design of buildings.

“But we need to invest in new working methods and new skills, because managing the design of a building is not the same thing as managing the work”, adds the manager. The group has begun to develop an offer in this direction, using in particular the European EnergieSprong approach consisting in completely re-dressing buildings to insulate them. Rabot Dutilleul is carrying out a renovation project of this kind on 170 houses in Wattrelos, near Lille.

Low carbon concrete

The company is in the process of developing with its suppliers concretes with a better carbon footprint: low-carbon concretes, hemp concretes which it is already experimenting with the social landlord Maison et Cités, in Pecquencourt, near Douai, in the mining basin. She also uses wood or a combination of wood and concrete.

Rabot Dutilleul favored bond borrowing because it strengthens its balance sheet structure. “It’s a kind of long-term loan – six years – long enough to be quasi-equity,” explains François Dutilleul. For Guillaume Capelle, partner at Adviso Partners who advised the group, going through a bond issue, rather than through an opening of capital, makes it possible to “limit the dilution of it for family shareholders”. This “also gives access to a long-term resource, unlike a bank loan which must be repaid quickly and above all which should have been allocated to a specific expense”.

The company, which returned to equilibrium in 2021, has been weakened by two years of deficit. It sold the majority of its subsidiary Nacarat, its promotion activity, retaining only 18%. Rabot Dutilleul expects to achieve 350 million euros in turnover this year (including 20 % in Belgium), as in 2020. This is the volume of business that it had forecast in 2021 but which ultimately only reached 295 million “because operations were delayed with the upheavals of the health crisis”, explains François Dutilleul.