After an extensive successful international career with among others EddingLega and the Creative Hobbies group, Roel Semmelink, along with his partners Ton Roosendaal and Ruud Alblas, decided to give his entrepreneurial ambition concrete form. The men had worked together for years with the Creative Hobbies group and knew what to expect from each other. Roel mainly gained experience as a general and commercial manager, while Ton’s background and knowledge lie in the field of operation and finance. Ruud, as an experienced key account manager, lives in Germany and will focus on the German market.
After their previous cooperation, the men have carried out several interim assignments in the area of market research, supporting foreign companies to set up a Dutch branch and financial restructurings. In light of their complementary skills and successful cooperation, they decided to go on this adventure together.
The men wanted to acquire a consumer products company with an existing brand and infrastructure. With the aim to expand that company further, either organically or through acquisitions.
Marktlink supported the three men during the entire process. Activities included creating the search profile, identifying potentially interesting parties, approaching these parties, conducting discussions and negotiations and financial and legal support in closing the deal.
By the end of 2014, we came into contact with the Van de Heg family. Lighting company G. Vandeheg B.V. was founded in 1965 by Geurt van de Heg and has since then become an independent, international family company. In 2014 the company had existed for 49 years and was managed by Geurt and his wife Margo van de Heg. Because of his age, Geurt was open to considering the continuation of his company by new management.
In addition to his good relationship with Roel, Ton and Ruud, Geurt was of the opinion that the men would add considerable value to a successful growth strategy of the company, due to their retail experience. The buyers’ wish that he would remain involved in the background also appealed to him. Having built up his company for 50 years, it was very important to him that the new owners could attribute that same passion.
The three men see great opportunities for the company. For many years the brand VandeHeg has been a household name with a strong reputation in the lighting industry. Because of the rapidly changing market Roel, Ruud and Ton intend to open up new sales channels and expand the current market.
The first tangible result of this new approach will be a digital ordering concept, within the retailer’s point-of-sale, offering hundreds of lighting products to the customer. Vandeheg is the first to present this concept within the lighting market, and one of the first within retail in general.
The digital ordering module (in fact an interactive ‘mega tablet’) is offered to specialist lighting retailers, and in the derivative form to other parties. This module displays all Vandeheg products, provides specifications, combines products and gives ordering information. At the touch of a button, an order is made in the shop, after which the customer has his order delivered at home or to the dealer. The benefits are obvious: without additional stocks, hundreds of products can be displayed and ordered directly, while the complex logistic process is handled by Vandeheg.
“In 2013, when we started our search, the acquisition market was far from straightforward. The reasons: the persisting economic crisis, changes with regard to bank financing options and the situation where many entrepreneurs were holding on to companies which would not yield favourable EBIT multiples at that time…they ‘preferred to wait for some time’. In the end, the acquisition of a company is much like acquiring a new client: a combination of perseverance and mobilisation of adequate tools. Marktlink proved to be of great value in achieving the final transaction. As in every ‘battle for the client’ various internal hurdles had to be cleared, and with Marktlink we were able to find the way to take the next step each and every time and finalise the transaction.”