Horticoop, a cooperative and one of the biggest horticultural suppliers in the Netherlands for more than 100 years, especially in greenhouse supply, is shifting its focus more on development and greenhouse technology and therefore decided to sell their wholesale activities in the Netherlands in fertilizers and crop protection, effective November 1. They are also planning to sell off their other product categories, such as business supplies and pots and trays.

The company had been toying with divestment of its wholesale activities for a while now, according to Igo Janssen, General Manager of Horticoop. "It's not easy to be profitable in wholesale. Particularly in common products, production and end consumer are finding each other more easily. At the same time, on the development and production side there's more consolidation, for instance by mergers and takeovers. We are a service provider first and foremost, and that's at odds with the trade chain. That also came into play when taking this significant step."

Van Iperen from Westmaas will take over the fertilizer and chemical
crop protection activities from Horticoop on November 1st. Van Iperen will also use Horticoop's distribution center in De Lier. The takeover includes clients, staff and stock. 28 Horticoop employees will become part of the Van Iperen team. Concerning international markets, export from the Netherlands is part of the deal. The offices abroad that act under the Horticoop flag are not included.

Also on November 1, Koppert Biological Systems will take over the biological crop protection activities of Horticoop. The takeover includes Horticoop’s customer base, its patents, brands and supplies. Thirty-two employees, including a number of consultants, will make the transfer to Koppert to continue to offer their services to their customers.  

Lastly, allround horticulture supplier Mertens, will take over sales and delivery of Substrafeed liquid fertilizers. 

These developments will also have consequences for the cooperative. For instance, for members who are mainly wholesale customers, membership might become less interesting, while on the other hand new parties that specialize in R&D might come into view. Igo: "Board and Council of Members are working out new scenarios for the cooperative. However, it is too early to make any definite comments about this."

All in all, about 70 people will leave Horticoop, most of whom will go to Van Iperen and Koppert. Internally, some workplaces will also disappear. A number of people will lose their job, however.

The company's revenue was over 180 million euros last year, and it employs over 400 people. Clients, mainly greenhouse vegetable and ornamental growers, are advised in all sorts of horticulture supplies, technique and consultancy. The organization includes the companies Lentse Potgrond, Slingerland Potgrond, Agrozone, Holimco, Smartcoat, Alflora and a number of foreign companies.

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