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Vertify sells World Horti Center Expo share

On September 1st, Vertify (formerly Proeftuin Zwaagdijk / Demokwekerij Westland) sold its 50% share of the World Horti Center (WHC) Expo division. This was to co-owner Greenport Food & Flower Xperience (GFFX). That makes GFFX 100% owner of the Dutch WHC Expo. Vertify's research activities at the WHC will continue per usual. There was a change in management too.

The WHC is currently transforming the existing exhibition space. It presently has company-specific stands. The space will become one with pavilions focused on several themes. The first phase should be ready by mid-September.

The World Horti Center's activities have been absorbed into those of WHC Expo. GFFX and Vertify owned this. Per September 1st, 2021, GFFX became WHC Expo's sole owner. GFFX will continue all of this division's activities. Vertify and [the school] MBO Westland/Lentiz will remain part of the formula. As will Vertify's research activities.

Vertify's strategic course
By selling its share, Vertify has shifted its focus. That is now in line with its strategic course, launched in January. It will increasingly focus on its core activities: conducting research and guiding innovation (Explore & Explain). WHC has a total package of commercial activities. That includes exhibitions, foreign visits, demonstrations, and events. This no longer fits Vertify's strategic vision.

New look
GFFX sees plenty of opportunities for the WHC Expo. The challenging COVID-19 year is over. Now GFFX can resume doing that at which it excels. It can again showcase Dutch horticulture to overseas delegates, students, companies, and other interested parties. Several Westland businesses will support GFFX in this. So, WHC Expo's continuity is guaranteed. The necessary development can be continued too.

"Our mission is to share and explain knowledge and ideas," says Johan Kos, Vertify's director. "Our research serves companies, growers, and other stakeholders. The interconnection with WHC Expo no longer fits with this. Not in its current form as an event and experience center. It is, therefore, a good thing that GFFX is taking over our share. They can fully focus on WHC Expo's further realization."

Inge Vermeulen, GFFX's chairperson, adds, "Our team will continue asserting the World Horti Center's mission and vision. We want to keep connecting research, education, entrepreneurs, and governments to achieve innovation in the sector. We have WHC and international partners. Their activities in Vertify and MBO Westland/Lentiz will continue as normal."

"We plan to revamp the WHC's look. The plan offers an improved experience, modern communication tools, and more interaction with visitors. This includes the transformation of the existing exhibition floor. It now has stands per company. It will become a space filled with pavilions. These will focus on not only Controlled Environment Growing (CEG) and Power of Plants. There will also be an Experience Center Healthy Foods and Startups & Innovations square," Inge explains.

Vertify conducts research in WHC research greenhouses. That will continue at both Honselersdijk and Zwaagdijk in the Netherlands. "Our central focus is conducting research and providing information about it. We'll keep doing that, energetically and passionately. We also do this internationally. That's our core business and requires our full attention," concludes Johan.

Management change
The WHC management, too, changed on September 1st. Joep Hendricks had left in mid-August. On September 1st, Puck van Holsteijn-Vink took over his duties. She will combine this with her position at Horti Heroes. Hans Kleijwegt has been fulfilling an interim role. He will remain active during the transfer.

For more information:
Inge Vermeulen
World Horti Center

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