Six former Celtic Refrigeration employees signed a contract with Airclima last Friday. They are three refrigeration engineers, one service and maintenance engineer, one salesman and one engineer. They will join the Belgian company on 4 December, although they will largely work from the Netherlands/home.
Carlo and Matthias Cuvelie
Earlier this month, (the Dutch branch of) Celtic Koeling, specialized in refrigeration technology and a well-known name in the Dutch and international flower and vegetable trade, was declared bankrupt. This bankruptcy is an opportunity for Airclima to further expand its market share in the Dutch market, says co-owner of the company Matthias Cuvelie. "For some time we have been looking for technicians in the Netherlands, but finding good people is not easy. Around the time of the bankruptcy, we immediately started talks with several employees of Celtic, with whom we have always had an excellent relationship, by the way. That has now resulted in this transfer."
Flowers and beyond
The aim is not only to grow in the cut flower sector but also in pharma/logistics and food. Several nice projects have recently been realized in both sectors and they see a lot of potential for growth. "With many of our customers in the region around Schiphol/Amsterdam, in both flowers and those other sectors, the fact that these people are all from the Nieuw Vennep area is favorable," Matthias knows.
For now, there are no concrete plans to open a Dutch branch, although Matthias does not rule it out in the long run. Incidentally, there is no question of any kind of acquisition - machinery, cars or materials. It is true, however, that the employees concerned bring a lot of experience with them and have been working together for a long time. One of them had worked at Celtic for 22 years, another 18, and the others also had a longer track record there. "In that sense, a piece of Celtic is indeed being taken over, while at the same time, this means a substantial expansion for our own company."
Airclima was founded 25 years ago by Carlo Cuvelie, Matthias' father with Matthias himself taking over two years ago. Michel Cuvelie, Matthias' nephew, has been at the helm with him since 2012. In that time, the family business has grown into one of the big names in primarily the cut flower world in the Netherlands. "Through close contact and constant innovation, our customers often regard Airclima as a partner," says Matthias.
Last year, some 10.5 million euros in turnover was generated, 65% of which was in Dutch ornamental plants. The remaining customers are located throughout Europe, with Germany and France as the largest countries. Remarkably, Belgium itself serves only a small group of customers. It employs 32 - and from the beginning of December 38 - people.