Chinese branch of Van den Berg Roses sold

    Van den Berg Roses has sold their nursery in China to Australian flower company Lynch Group, which already had a stake in the company. The entire company was offered on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Tuesday 6 April.

    In 2019, the nursery in China was partially transferred to Lynch Group, owned by the Australian Lynch family and private equity investor Next Capital. The Australian company grows flowers, but their main focus is on supplying bouquets to retailers and private individuals. Their 2020 turnover was €165 million.

    Next Capital offered the company on the ASX last Tuesday, April 6th. Before the initial public offering, it was valued at around €284 million. The initial public offering of part of the company had previously raised €58 million.

    Started in China in 2007

    Arie van den Berg started a 3.5-ha cut-flower nursery together with Nic Pannekeet just outside the city of Kunming in south-west China in 2007. The joint venture became the largest flower company in the country. Rose is the main crop grown across the current 36 ha, additional crops include tulip, amaryllis and gerbera.

    The nursery distributes flowers in China, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Australia. Van den Berg Roses was the first grower that successfully launched several brand names on the Chinese market, and the first to supply directly to retailers as a bulk wholesaler.

    The Chinese branch is in good shape, reports Pannekeet (50), who has been living and working in China for the past 26 years. “We’ve just built a new packing facility in Shanghai and our distribution to supermarkets, as well as our web shop sales, are doing well. There are plenty of opportunities, but if you really want to go for it, including logistics, distribution etcetera, you’ll need more capital and knowledge. Lynch Group and the stock market listing create new possibilities. Arie and I are both leaving the company. I wanted to move my family back to the Netherlands, and we always said we’d finish it together. Hence the sale.” Arie van den Berg adds: “Nic had the experience we needed to do business in China. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in China with our team and how we’ve finalised it now, with a stock market listing even.”

    Passive shareholders

    Van den Berg and Pannekeet still have an interest in the company as passive shareholders. Three Dutch employees in China have also become shareholders. Nic Pannekeet describes the Chinese branch of Van den Berg Roses as an amazing adventure. “We’ve introduced high-end Dutch technologies to a market that’s rapidly growing, but still in its early stages.”

    Van den Berg Roses also has nurseries in the Netherlands (16 ha) and Kenya (70 ha). They offer still plenty of opportunities according to Arie van den Berg.

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