Dutch shrimp processor Klaas Puul sold to equity group

After more than a year of considering a sale, the owners of major Dutch shrimp processing firm Klaas Puul have offered a controlling interest in the company to investment group H2 Equity Partners.

Klaas Puul, headquartered in Volendam, the Netherlands, processes both small North Sea and larger tropical shrimp in plants mostly in Morocco, with additional facilities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Denmark. It has around 3,500 employees and had nearly EUR 200 million (USD 222.6 million) in sales last year, according to a press release from Maiko van der Meer, who has been appointed general director of the company following the announcement of the deal.

The Mooijer family, which has owned the company since it was founded more than 50 years ago, said in a statement it made the decision to sell due to a lack of younger family members able to take over the business.

“Klaas Puul has a lot of untapped potential, but there are no successors within the family to realize this potential,” Klaas Puul owner Evert Mooijer said. “Together with H2 Equity Partners, we want to realize this potential, allowing us to be an even better partner to our customers, suppliers and employees.”

H2 Equity Partners is an independent investment firm with offices in Amsterdam and London, focusing on investments in medium-sized companies in Benelux, the United Kingdom and Germany. It manages a portfolio of 12 companies with annual sales of approximately EUR 1.5 billion (USD 1.7 billion).

“H2 offers these companies a combination of capital and active support by the H2 team. H2 has a strong track record in building strong companies with sustainable profitable growth,” according to van der Meer’s press release.

According to H2 Equity Partners Investment Director Rutger Jan Vlek, the firm plans to invest in the business and aims to realize the company’s full potential for growth.

“Klaas Puul has a strong market position and a lot of improvement and growth potential,” Jan Vlek said. “Together with the Mooijer family, the management and all employees, we will realize this potential. Reinforcing and expanding a family business together with a founding family, by providing capital and active support by H2, is a characteristic investment for H2.”

Under the terms of the deal, current CEO Sander van den Berg will change roles to become financial director at the company, van der Meer said, adding that as CEO, he is aiming to increase investment in international marketing and sales, product development and production technology and capacity.

“I am looking forward to working at Klaas Puul with Sander van den Berg and the team and to further expand the company; for instance by offering distinctive sustainable products for retailers and consumers,” van der Meer said.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reportedreported that the company was put up for sale at auction in September 2015, with leading bidder Bencis Capital Partners offering as much as EUR 70 to 80 million (USD 77.9 million to 89.1 million), including EUR 40 million (USD 44.5 million) of debt, before the Mooijer family canceled its plans to sell the business.

Bencis Capital Partners, in the meantime, has expanded its share of the European shrimp processing sector by signing a joint venture agreement with Telson. The deal gives it a 50 percent interest in Telson in addition to its ownership of Morubel and Ristic. The new shrimp group, formally created on 22 August, has been renamed SHORE nv.

Edo Abels, Morubel’s managing director and CEO, said in a press release that SHORE can beat out its Northern European competition in the shrimp processing sector, including Klaas Puul and Heiploeg (purchased out of bankruptcy in 2014 by Parleviet and van de Plas), by using machine peeling instead of sending shrimp to Morocco to be peeled by hand.


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