The past years, Atrium Agri has made a name for itself a strategic partnership between several horticultural suppliers. Now, they go even further: from now on, the different companies are fully part of Atrium Agri. Atrium Agri has acquired all interests in Havecon, VB Group, and PB tec, including those owned by investor Victus Participations. At the same time, the partnership has reached an agreement with the co-shareholders of its existing participating interests in Bom Group, CambridgeHOK, and JB Hydroponics.
"These acquisitions make Atrium Agri the largest and most complete horticultural supply cluster in the history of Dutch greenhouse horticulture," the founders say.
Just getting started
"I don’t think there’s a comparable company in our industry right now, and we’re just getting started," said Koen Brabander of PB Tec. Together with Henk Verbakel (Havecon) and Edward Verbakel (VB), he founded Atrium Agri in 2019. In a very short time, Atrium Agri has made some big steps. Now, all companies are brought together, including the companies of the founders.
Firstly, the majority of the interest in PB tec was acquired from Victus Participations and that of the other minority shareholders in PB tec. This means the company is fully owned by Atrium Agri, including PB tec’s foreign interests in North America and Australia. On the same day, Atrium Agri took the entire stake in all Havecon companies. In the same transaction, Atrium Agri reached an agreement for the acquisition of VB Group. Among other things, VB helps to make the horticultural sector more sustainable by making geothermal energy available as a future source of energy. Havecon works closely with its strategic partner Voorwinden Group, which has also acquired an interest in Atrium Agri.
400 employees, 400 million turnover
This harmonization creates the largest horticultural supply cluster to date with more than 400 employees and several branches in the Netherlands and abroad. Group turnover for 2021 is approaching Euro 400 million with what the entrepreneurs call 'a very healthy result'.
"‘By consolidating these forces within the group, we’re in an even better position to meet the increasing demand in the market," says Henk Verbakel, adding that a lot of attention will be given to combining knowledge. "This will enable us to provide the market with more high-tech solutions faster, solutions that are becoming more and more common. Since we can streamline a lot from one team, we are in an even better position to efficiently realize increasingly larger and more complex projects."
For VB, the acquisition means after 55 years, the family business will no longer be owned by the Verbakel family. Edward Verbakel is proud to merge into the Atrium Agri group of companies. "It is a powerful platform of progressive horticultural suppliers, where the ambitions are high and progressive. We've already achieved a lot, but together, we can go even further. We are confidently working together on the future of international greenhouse horticulture!"
"‘It's great to see that one vision and one goal of three entrepreneurs can be realized in such a short time," adds Koen Brabander of PB tec, who says he does not think there is a comparable company in our industry right now. "And we’re just getting started. Now that it’s there, it all makes sense, but why wasn’t it there yet? There’s a really cynical statement: I wish you a lot of staff. Surely, this has come about through the unbridled commitment, passion, and energy of our teams, our true capital. I look forward to the developments that we’ll experience with our partners and customers in the near future."
The financing form chosen by Atrium Agri is bank financing, which is made possible by a combined facility of Rabobank and ING. This financing facility has enabled Atrium Agri to bring all companies together, including the companies of founders. Throughout the acquisition and financing process, the management of Atrium Agri was advised and assisted by the Maasdael Corporate Finance team.
"I have great respect for the way in which all shareholders involved have subordinated their individual interests to create a global leader in greenhouse horticulture based on mutual trust and a shared vision," said Rick Voet of Maasdael. "The acquisitions of Atrium Agri are fully in line with market trends such as globalization, turnkey delivery, making the food chain more sustainable, and increasing demand for high-tech solutions, which are so characteristic of greenhouse horticulture. The Netherlands can be proud of this newly formed Horti Powerhouse."
The list of companies acquired by Atrium Agri is now beginning to take on impressive forms. It started at the end of 2019 with a majority stake in turnkey provider Bom Group. In less than two years, majority interests were also taken in successively VEK Adviesgroep, CambridgeHOK, and JB Hydroponics. In addition, an exclusivity was agreed on with BaOpt for operating its climate system in horticulture, and interest was recently taken in ADI (Agri Data Innovations). This start-up company collects, analyses, and visualizes data from the greenhouse and converts this into cultivation areas for improvement.
Due to the enormous growth, Atrium Agri has appointed a new management consisting of Richard Schmit (CEO), Joffrey Bouman (CFO), and Ruben Peeters (COO). They will further shape the group’s strategy and operational activities in the coming years.
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