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Foreman Capital

Private equity fund buys Van den Bos Flowerbulbs

Dutch private equity fund Foreman Capital has acquired a majority interest in Van den Bos Flowerbulbs. The investment company has bought 60% of the bulb trader's shares. The amount paid for the shares has not been disclosed.

For CEO Hans Kleijwegt, the takeover by Foreman Capital was born of necessity. Due to health reasons, his partner had to take a step back. "For this reason, my partner, who has half of the shares, wanted to sell these. I couldn't take over the shares, so we went looking for someone who could buy them. Marklink searched for interested parties, and we ended up with Foreman Capital."

The takeover leads to increased capital strength for Van den Bos. However, Hans emphasizes, this won't lead to acquisition plans. "They have faith in us, and of course a strategy plan was submitted. And it's our business in the bulb trade to have good global dispersion. So it's not out of the question for us to enter into talks with other parties. But one can never rule it out, although it's not the reason for involving Foreman Capital."

New partner Sander van Woerden, partner at Foreman Capital, completed an internship of a few weeks, and had to go through a number of fun trials.

Private equity
The Netherlands alone is home to more than 200 private equity funds. Most of these are 'too big' for Van den Bos: they're only interested in companies with a revenue of hundreds of millions. "I've never been through a process like this before. It's like a whole new world."

New phenomenon
Private equity is a relatively new phenomenon in horticulture, although it's rearing its head increasingly often. For instance, African rose company Afriflora was sold to KKR a few years back, and Dümmen Orange was bought by British company BC Partner. Previously, Roger Gerritzen, who is responsible for acquisitions at the Dutch breeder, said that 'worldwide, there's more and more support for private equity in our market.' He also believes it's increasingly seen as a suitable way of growing your company, gathering knowledge on retail and logistics, and to invest in new technologies.

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