Venture capitalist invests in bulb company Van den Bos

    Investment company Foreman Capital has acquired a 60% majority stake in Van den Bos Holding. The largest and best known subsidiary of the holding is Van den Bos Flowerbulbs.

    By Hans Neefjes

    The bulb company in Honselersdijk has an annual turnover of €80 million and their activities include the preparation, storage and sales of lily, calla and freesia bulbs. Van den Bos Holding, in its turn, is a daughter company of Artemis Nurseries. All of their flower bulb related activities are carried out by Van den Bos. The acquisition isn’t limited to Van den Bos Flowerbulbs in Honselersdijk, but includes the company’s trading branches abroad (Van den Bos Freshpartners and bulb growing company Southern Bulbs (300 ha) in Chile) as well.

    50% of Artemis Nurseries’ flower segment used to belong to director Hans Kleijwegt (53) and the other half was split among three people. Investor Hilbert Jonkman (71, previously owner of trading company Hiljo and involved in Van den Bos since 2002) is the only person that can be named. Jonkman has been seriously ill for a while and therefore, the three partners wanted to sell his shares.

    Van den Bos spoke with 22 different investors. They ended up choosing Foreman Capital from Amsterdam (established in 2005) because the venture capitalist didn’t just offer a good price, but also showed they had confidence in the company. Kleijwegt: “Of course there are yield requirements, but Foreman Capital believes in the plans that we had already set out for the company. One condition was that I would stay on as CEO for another five years. That’s something I’m very happy to do.”

    The exact figure paid by Foreman Capital is not disclosed, but it amounts to several tens of millions. It’s the first time the company invests in the horticultural industry.

    Kleijwegt ended up selling 10% of his own stake too. In addition to his remaining shares in Van den Bos Holding, he also owns 25% of the shares in the flower segment of Artemis Nurseries, which currently incorporates a 17-ha forcing greenhouse for lily.

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