Past December, VB came with some breaking news. Just before the holidays, Atrium Agri announced the acquisition of all interests in VB Group. At the same time that VB was acquired by Atrium Agri, the partnership also reached an agreement to acquire all interests in Havecon and PB tec. "If it was only for my personal interest, I could have probably done much better by falling for the charms of outside investors, but I did not want to give up on my independence", says Edward Verbakel, CEO of VB and founding partner in Atrium Agri.
Strengthening the foundation under the company
With these acquisitions, Atrium Agri becomes the largest horticultural supply cluster in the history of Dutch greenhouse horticulture to date. Edward Verbakel, CEO of VB and founding partner in Atrium Agri received a large number of positive responses and questions.
"Especially the “Why did you do it” question asks for some additional clarification from my side, of course. This important move will strengthen the foundation of our company. I have spent a great deal of time on what is most important for the future of our company. We have a long and rich history, where the ‘climate for growth’ culture has always been the driving force. In the year that marked our 55th anniversary, I have decided to bring VB to the next level in horticulture by joining this impressive group of companies."
"One of the reasons to agree to this is for VB to remain futureproof in a very dynamic environment", he continues. "If it was only for my personal interest I could have probably done much better by falling for the charms of outside investors, but I did not want to give up on my independence. The idea behind Atrium Agri is that we are the ones making decisions and that we do not want to be led by spreadsheets" Edward concludes.
VB was founded as a traditional manufacturer of heating systems in the mid-sixties but has evolved into a modern design-build organization. The company passed many bridges and borders to serve the international horticultural markets with modern, efficient greenhouse solutions. Numerous projects were realized in many different climate zones, for every kind of grower and investor, on almost every continent.
Not only horticultural markets were served, but also other industries benefited from VB’s practical expertise and skills. VB has been active for the most prominent soccer clubs in the Netherlands and Europe, such as Ajax, Feyenoord, and Barcelona. District heating networks were built in port areas, industrial zones, but also in the city center of Amsterdam where the company connected the Rijksmuseum and the Hermitage to sustainable energy sources. Edward Verbakel: ‘Our company was on the forefront to provide sustainable solutions to the Dutch horticultural sector by making geothermal heat available for greenhouses. Today we are still being seen as a leading player in climate technology and complete greenhouse project solutions’.
Ambitions are high
In a very short time, Atrium Agri has made lots of huge steps. This agreement 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 a very healthy result. Each Atrium member will continue to maintain and build their own identity and role in the horticultural industry.
Edward Verbakel: ‘I am extremely proud to be part of this exciting move. After being in the hands of the Verbakel family for 55 years, our company is now merging into the Atrium Agri group of companies. 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!’’
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