Fantastic marriage between Roosjen and Talenco

The Antwerp family business Roosjen sells technical components to remove unwanted materials, such as iron and stainless steel, from products. Its partnership with Talenco Technical Services adds another cast-iron element to its arsenal: the option to customise its equipment even further and tap into new markets as a result. All in all, this is a textbook example of a win-win situation.

Roosjen NV had already been around for a few years before brothers Hans (44) and Lykle (45) were even born. “My father, Henk, founded the company in 1974”, an excited Hans tells us. “He started out as a representative on the Belgian market for a German manufacturer of pipes and conduits used to transport powdered and granular products. Small iron particles often ended up in these products during their manufacturing process. To remove these bits of metal, he developed magnetic systems that could be installed in the pipework. This led to the formation of our own brand, Ro-Mag. My father, Henk, took care of the engineering and sales aspect, while my mother, Annemieke, made sure that the figures added up.”

Roosjen saw its order books grow and found its way into various industries such as food production, petrochemicals and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). “Over time, the demand for applications to ‘demetallise’ products started to grow, and our family business gradually grew alongside this trend”, Hans recounts as he continues his trip down memory lane.

Young blood

Once we entered the new millennium, it was time to bring some young blood on board. Lykle was first to take up a role at the company, and Hans soon followed. Hans comments: “We kept a close eye on market developments, and we noticed that there was a need to pick non-ferrous metals and stainless steel out of the production flow.

In response, Lykle started cooperating more closely with Mesutronic, a manufacturer of metal detectors and metal separators. Aside from delivering magnets and metal detectors to check for metal in products, we were soon asked whether we could also check finished products for their weight.”

“And that’s exactly how our partnership with OCS-Wipotec came about: it allowed us to dynamically check packaged products using check weighers. We can use these weighers to check whether the weight of the product corresponds to the weight stated on the label. OCS-Wipotec also produces x-ray machines to check for glass or stones in products, for example, which completes the product control package from our perspective.”

Complementary skills

Business is going well with the second generation of Roosjens at the helm. Hans is the handier of the two brothers: he set up the service department. Lykle, on the other hand, brings sales talent and marketing insight to the table. “We complement one another perfectly, and that’s why we click so well. Of course, the fact that Lykle is my brother is another advantage; it’s usually easier to be on the same wavelength with a family member.”

As we’ve seen, Roosjen started supplying product control equipment, but this was manufactured in Germany. Hans, who graduated with a degree in engineering, wanted to make things himself. “Lykle and I always wanted to start manufacturing ourselves. We wanted to bring certain production processes in-house and have the option to deliver custom solutions exactly in line with our customers’ specifications. We hadn’t been doing so up to that point, but we could see it presented a big opportunity.”

Partnership with TTS

Fellow Antwerp company Talenco Technical Services, or TTS, seemed like a suitable partner to help make the most of that opportunity: it specialises in the development and installation of custom systems and constructions. A partnership between TTS and Roosjen could prove to be a perfect avenue for both parties. Roosjen would be able to enhance the equipment it supplied with in-house modifications and install it at customers in TTS’s portfolio, and the link with Roosjen — which is in rude financial health — would give TTS the capital injection it had craving for a while. A win-win situation, in other words.

Once the plans had been drawn up, they just needed to be turned into reality. Hans continues: “To do so, I spoke to Mannuel van Overloop at TTS, who was a good customer of ours in his previous job. He and the co-founder of TTS, Jens Hendrickx, were very interested in a partnership with a stable market actor like Roosjen. In addition, TTS was looking for a partner to enable it to offer its services to more customers. On top of that, working with Roosjen would also benefit them from a financial perspective: TTS had been manufacturing significant volumes in its first few years, but lacked the capital to take the next step in its growth.”

This mutual attraction became so strong that Roosjen and TTS wanted to make their partnership official. Hans continues: “I’ve known Filip Mariën at Marktlink since we were young, so I reached out immediately. When I explained our idea to Filip, he was convinced straightaway that we could help one another out. And that set the ball rolling.”

According to Filip, it was the entrepreneurial drive among the management of Roosjen and TTS that was decisive in bringing this process to a successful conclusion: “The combination of a strong customer network, a strong local presence and operational expertise formed a solid foundation for the future partnership between TTS and Roosjen.”

No financial genius

Marktlink had an important role to play, according to Hans. “It goes without saying that we wanted someone to screen TTS to make sure it was financially healthy. We knew that it needed support, but we couldn’t get a proper sense of its financial condition. Marktlink took care of all this and checked everything. That support was crucial: I’m no financial genius, and even though my brother is much better with numbers, he’s not an expert on the same level as Marktlink is. Without Marktlink, I don’t think we would have had the courage to take this step.”

This journey of discovery eventually reached the promised land: a fantastic marriage between Roosjen and TTS. According to Hans: “Filip and Jonas Provenier at Marktlink did a great job. They regularly visited us to discuss the project and they were exceptionally constructive. They also outlined a number of less favourable scenarios, which gave us even deeper insight into the situation. We also managed to properly settle the liability aspect, which helped us a lot. In the end, we managed to complete the process in just three months, which is remarkably quick. That achievement is just reward for the cooperative attitude everyone adopted.”

Roosjen and TTS joined forced in January. Both companies retain their independence, but cooperate intensively. Hans has a rosy outlook on the future: “We remain a relatively small business with just ten people on board. That excludes our parents: they left the business to enjoy the other things life offers. Luckily, they do still visit us regularly to check in on how things are going. Lykle and I love to see this: without them, we wouldn’t have had the chance to take over Roosjen and turn it into a successful business brimming with potential.”