Gaetan Dumont spent 11 years with UCB as Senior Director Group Treasury. He was recognized by his peers on November 15th when he won the Treasurer of the Year Award during the 8th edition of the Luxembourg Finance Summit. Today he tells us about his biggest professional achievements and about UCB's strategy.
What’s your specific mission and daily tasks at UCB?
Our Treasury operating team consists in 4 professionals. The treasury mission is focused on standard targets: master the company’s financial assets and liabilities, ensuring working capital needs for each group entities worldwide, and protect shareholder value via an efficient risk management strategy.
We secure funding needs for all affiliates and offer them services/support to ease their local operations. We take into account local tax and legal constrain and define the adequate capital structure and treasury support. This allows them to concentrate on their business to meet their operating targets.
We identify group foreign currencies exposures. We take adequate hedging actions following group hedging policies. This is key to manage the income statement of a group largely open to foreign currencies movements.
We take market action for interests rate risks hedging, securing interests expenses and allowing the Group to manage financial lines with accurate indicative levels over a specific period.
IFRS implies hedge accounting management to avoid volatilities in our income statements. Group treasury cares about this process and enters into hedging strategies compliant with IFRS rules.
Finally, we cover the asset management services with monetary investments decisions.
Our daily activities are fully dedicated to drive those key missions.
What are your biggest professional achievements?
My main achievements are with UCB for which I was working since 2006. I set-up the Treasury Center from scratch on all aspects: activities, staff, processes and systems in a constantly moving group environment and volatile market conditions. A true experience.
Our Treasury strategic achievements were numerous with the issuance in the capital markets of a convertible bond, institutional and retail bonds, an hybrid bond, private placements and an EMTN program. We also integrated a large German company acquired in 2006. We deleveraged from 4.5 to 1.
Our operational strategy has always favored innovation to allow focus on core value: changes of treasury management solution (today one single solution for the group, integrated and automated), harmonized bank connectivity (Swiftnet) for treasury and vendors payments, electronic bank statements collection and payment status reporting. This combined with the deployment of cash pooling structures (zero balancing and cross currency notional pooling structures) allow us to control more than 90% of our liquidity and bank accounts. Fraud and cyber security are today key drivers in those developments. We also implemented, aligned to our business organization, an in-house bank, a payment factory and an intercompany netting solution. Those are integrated with our core Treasury tool, aside centralized market data feed, multibank FX dealing and Money Market investment platform, and trades confirmation solution.
Could you explain us your strategy?
The “treasury strategy” is defined in our Financial Risk Management policy. We have targets covering liquidity ratios, idle cash, liquidity access, cash management automation, group net debt profile (fixed / floating), foreign currency hedging ratios and investments credit profiles. In our (biopharma) industry, targets are generally conservative. The treasury department’s mission is to protect the shareholder value (while optimizing where possible). We also look for strategic capital structure and are always willing to take the space with consistency. Other Group principles like “from tasks to value” and “helpfulness and generosity” are applied at our level. This is key for us to align to innovation and be considered in the Group as a trustful partner helping all stakeholders to perform better in their own coverage.
On a more personal side, what does this award mean to you?
It means a lot. Is a recognition from peers and our Luxembourg financial community for years of hard work. We can be proud of it. Not only for me but especially for my team (which is obviously the cornerstone in all achievements; is their award) and even the Group itself. UCB had the chance last year to be awarded as well with CFO of the Year, CIO of the Year and HR Manager of the Year… A great year for all of us.
In the meantime, I decided to leave the Group and go for a new challenge with the development of new treasury services (www.thesquarefinance.com). The aim is to support corporates and entities in Luxembourg which are required to acquire more substance. This is a condition for companies willing to maintain and develop their Luxembourg financing structures in the context of BEPS. Substance over form. More true than ever in the Luxembourg landscape. This award may help me to go to market vis-à-vis the “non” treasury community. It is an add-on to the profile. For people not familiar with the treasury network (like Atel – Lux Corporate Treasury Association – www.atel.lu), it creates value. I thank the financial community for this.
Publié le 07 février 2017