E.T.B. Sombroek finds a safe haven in buyer VDK Groep

Company Name E.T.B. Cas Sombroek
Transaction Sell-side
Website Open
Sector Construction & Maintenance
Tags Family business, Investors, Legal, Private equity

It is better to sell two years too early, rather than two years too late. With that in mind, Marco Sombroek initiated the process of the sale of E.T.B. Cas Sombroek. He was the third and last generation at the helm of the family business from Volendam. The electro-technical agency, which has about 120 employees and an annual turnover of about 25 million, will continue under the banner of the VDK Groep, retaining its own identity.

The process of the acquisition of a family business by outside buyers or investors can be sentimental. Jelle Rutgers experienced this sentimentality during the process, that he guided together with Roger Loontjens. “Your company is an important part of your life. As a young boy, Marco saw how hard his father had to work, being an entrepreneur, but this did not stop him from taking over the company. When it became clear there was no fourth generation available at this time, he started thinking about the continuity of the installation company.”

Company ready to sell

Acquisition processes like these are a daily occurrence for the dealteam, yet the course of every process is different. “Every client has its own story to take into account. There was no great urgency in this case, that was nice. That way we had enough time to prepare the company for its sale. Thanks to a great deal of acquisitions in the installation sector, we are familiar with almost all potential buyers, making it possible to prepare Marco for what was in store for him.”

Marktlink’s experience in this sector was a plus for Marco Sombroek. “During the entire process this experience was noticeable, the dealteam did a good job of steering the process in the right direction.

For me, the acquisition process was quite exciting and emotional, especially because it is a family business. I am very happy with the acquisition by VDK Group. It is a good result after an intensive but, above all, fun and interesting year.”

„When it became clear there was no fourth generation available at this time, Marco started thinking about the continuity of the installation company.“
- Jelle Rutgers, Marktlink

E.T.B Cas Sombroek was an ideal company to the buyer, VDK Group. “This is what they do, they buy smaller companies that do not have to do concessions in terms of name or philosophy. It is exactly the desired safe haven: nothing changes for customers and employees. Marco will stay on as managing director and will join VDK Group’s management in the western part of the Netherlands in a few years’ time. In the meantime he will transfer his tasks to the current operational director.”

Confidence in the acquisition

The fact that both parties came to an agreement smoothly, does not automatically mean that this news lands well in the company. “Because it concerns a close-knit family business, a careful approach is required,” Jelle Ruthers emphasises. “We have seen this before, of course, and assist our client in this process. When the employees were being informed of the changes, VDK Group’s Frans van der Kolk was introduced straight away. Pretty quickly everyone had confidence in the acquisition and the future of the company, because nothing will actually change.”

Consolidation in the installation sector

The urgency of sustainability is growing, and with it the role of companies in the installation sector, as opposed to construction companies. “These companies are at the table much earlier in the construction process,” Jelle Rutgers points out. “There is plenty of work in this sector. Formally all offices need to have energy label C, by 1 January 2023, but because of large shortages in staff this is almost impossible to achieve. The only way to grow is by way of acquisitions, not by hiring more people. The consolidation in this sector will continue for the foreseeable future.

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