Drawing on our entrepreneurial background, we help build businesses with a long-term outlook by adding value to all our investments.

 

Over 70 years
of entrepreneurial tradition

The early days

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A family of builders

For over a century, the Somers family has been actively involved in building successful businesses that promote integrity, quality and sustainability.

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Growing the business

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Innovating to stay ahead

Throughout Walter Group’s history, innovation emerges as the common denominator for the Group’s successes. Since founding his first business in 1952, Walter…

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Shifting toward investing

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An emerging ecosystem

In the 1960s, the company founded by Walter J. Somers generated enough liquidity for him to start investing in public markets. This marked the beginning of…

Read more

Focus on the client

timeline-image

What drives the Walter Group

Throughout its history, the Walter Group maintained its leadership position by bringing continuous product innovations to market within its industry. Still…

Read more
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The early days

A family of builders

For over a century, the Somers family has been actively involved in building successful businesses that promote integrity, quality and sustainability.

Walter J. Somers first came to Canada in the 1940s, bringing with him the entrepreneurial spirit instilled by his family already involved in industry in Germany. Drawing on the experience acquired in his country of origin, he immediately identified important market gaps in the metal fabrication industry as well as opportunities to boost the overall productivity of Canadian businesses.

Mission-driven, he founded the J. Walter Company in 1952 to bring to market cutting-edge mechanical tools and machinery that would in turn contribute to increasing the overall productivity of Canadian businesses. From its humble beginnings, the company now known as Walter Surface Technologies grew to become a market leader in its industry. Today, the family retains a minority interest in the company, which is now owned by its management and a Canadian private equity firm.

The success of this first company paved the way for the Walter Group and subsequent generations of entrepreneurs within the Somers family. In the late 1980s, Walter’s son, Pierre, took the reins of the company and continued to scale it internationally. Today, the fourth generation is preparing to take the lead.

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Growing the business

Innovating to stay ahead

Throughout Walter Group’s history, innovation emerges as the common denominator for the Group’s successes.

Since founding his first business in 1952, Walter J. Somers differentiated his offering by supplying Canadian industrial companies with cutting-edge tools of unparalleled quality in the market. This enabled companies to optimize their production lines, increase the efficiency and quality of their output, realize large-scale savings and improve their overall productivity.

In the 1960s and 1970s, concerns over occupational health and safety hazards began to emerge. Already ahead of the curve, Walter J. Somers demonstrated an absolute commitment to safety and quality to ensure the highest level of productivity for end users. Walter introduced safety standards for all his products and provided safety and training seminars to all his users.

As the world kept changing, the 1980s and 1990s were a time of growing environmental awareness, especially in European markets. Walter Surface Technologies developed and launched Bio-Circle, an innovative line of biochemical products harnessing the power of nature for various industrial applications. These high-performance water-based solutions helped the Walter Group revolutionize many industries and further support the productivity of its clients by replacing hazardous chemicals and petroleum-based products harmful to the health of workers and the environment. At the turn of the millennium, when the watchwords became measurability, traceability and quality control, Walter Surface Technologies again led the way in bringing innovative solutions to the market, enabling customers to remain relevant and keep up with the rapid pace of these changes.

Throughout its history, the Walter Group’s core business activities have evolved greatly. The company has always stood out for its ability to adapt to technological and market developments, the recipe for its success in the industrial sector that has translated to exceptional performance in its financial activities. Using this innovative approach in the financial world, the Walter Group invests from an entrepreneurial perspective, providing patient capital and commercial know-how to the businesses it invests in, thereby helping to build innovative business models that support a thriving Canadian economy.

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Shifting toward investing

An emerging ecosystem

In the 1960s, the company founded by Walter J. Somers generated enough liquidity for him to start investing in public markets. This marked the beginning of the Walter Group’s financial activities. Over the years, the company built its investment fund, holding important positions in public companies.

After decades of investing, it established a much-needed internal structure and increased its team of professional portfolio managers. With a focus on a deep-down analysis of investee companies including an assessment of the quality of management, the Walter Group achieved a strong investment track record. It created its own fully-fledged investment firm, Walter Financial, in 2012.

Initially investing chiefly in public markets, Walter Financial quickly diversified its operations in private equity as well. It established new specialised entities composed of seasoned professionals to focus on specific asset classes and complement the Walter Public Markets team: Walter Capital Partners in 2015 (to invest in high growth potential SMEs) and Walter Global Asset Management in 2018 (a private equity platform dedicated to growing asset management firms). The latter was Walter Group’s first foray into attracting external investors. With the recent creation of Walter Hospitality, the Walter Group enters a new investment sector by directly supporting initiatives in the food business including distribution, real estate and restaurants.

Today, the Group now positions itself as a professional investment firm representing the interests and values of the Somers family in all its operations.

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Focus on the client

What drives the Walter Group

Throughout its history, the Walter Group maintained its leadership position by bringing continuous product innovations to market within its industry. Still, another crucial element permanently lied at the heart of its entrepreneurial journey: understanding the customer.

One of the main guiding principles at the Walter Group is that innovation must contribute to its customers’ success by helping them work better. Every big new idea or decision had to be based on this principle. The Walter Group sustained long-term value creation for itself and its stakeholders by always putting their customers first. Throughout its decades of operations in the industrial sector, the Group’s mission was always to be the most respected firm in its industry by creating measurable and tangible value for its customers and by bringing them only the best products to help them work better.

Although the Walter Group’s main activities are now in the financial sector, this strategy remains relevant to all its business decisions. It seeks to support the growth of the companies in its portfolio at the strategic and operational levels, help these companies understand and satisfy the needs of their customers, and optimize their business model to create long-term value.

Regardless of the nature of its investments, the Group’s success ultimately always rests on the success of its customers.