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By immersing themselves in sectors, JBR's consultants often have a competitive edge. 'It takes more time up front, but afterwards you can make decisions faster.'
'Our transactions are often just a tad more complex than average'
In the world of M&A, we often talk about "nice deals. But what exactly is a 'nice deal'? Harold Brummelhuis and Rogier Tigchelaar of JBR have a clear opinion. Brummelhuis: 'We often have transactions that are just a tad more complex than average. For example, because of the company structure or special wishes of the seller that we have to take into account. Tensions can build up along the way, and sometimes we have to add water to the wine during the negotiations. If at the end of the journey you can bring everyone together and complete the deal to everyone's satisfaction, that gives a lot of satisfaction'. Tigchelaar adds: 'To me, a good deal is also a deal that contributes to a greater society as a whole, for example by making it more sustainable.'
Brummelhuis has been active in advising on mergers and acquisitions for almost twenty years. Since 2012, he has led the Food & Agri team at JBR. Work at JBR is never boring, he says. 'A company takeover is a dynamic process every time. It is also an exciting moment in the life of an entrepreneur; the stakes are high. For example, we recently closed a transaction with a Japanese company that is big in robotics and automotive. They acquired Certhon, one of the largest Dutch greenhouse builders. A unique deal: a Westland company that has been in the family for generations becoming part of a Japanese corporate.'
Tigchelaar has been working as a corporate finance consultant for JBR for 2.5 years now. He has found his niche at the firm in Zeist. 'Previously I worked at Kempen as an investment strategist. There I dealt with allocation decisions for pension funds, insurers and wealthy families. Interesting, but I missed the entrepreneurship. What attracted me to JBR is that it is a boutique, the lines are short here. If I need advice, I can call on one of the partners directly. And I find it incredibly inspiring to work with SME entrepreneurs. The human aspect makes the work fun.'
To clarify what they consider a "nice deal," Brummelhuis and Tigchelaar mention the acquisition of property maintenance company Rendon by industry peer Caspar de Haan. A transaction that shows how important it is as an acquisition advisor to immerse yourself in a sector, Tigchelaar says. 'In the market in which Rendon operates, everyone is focusing on sustainability. Companies prefer to work for housing corporations, because there it involves large volumes; whole blocks of houses that are tackled at once. At the same time, consolidation is taking place in this market. Our vision is that eventually there will remain four to six large parties that corporations can turn to. The tricky thing in this case was that Rendon worked from three branches, one of which did a lot of work for corporations and the other two less so. The branches were also managed in different ways.'
'Initially it was a difficult proposition,' says Brummelhuis, 'but because Rogier had mapped out the financial and strategic landscape well, we were able to make it immediately clear in the pitch to Rendon which parties were of interest to them. We had also already approached a number of parties personally. That gave us an advantage over other consultants. Tigchelaar: 'In the preliminary phase you want to form the best possible picture of the market, so that you have as few hiccups as possible in the subsequent process. It takes more time on the front end, but afterwards you can make decisions faster.'
The knowledge about the industry that Brummelhuis and Tigchelaar gained during the process was developed into a "Property Maintenance Monitor. They shared this monitor with parties active in property maintenance, both on the buying and selling side. "Several good conversations ensued," Brummelhuis says. The Real Estate Maintenance Monitor was recently followed by a similar publication on the installation market. Again, the knowledge gained came from a case study, the acquisition of heat pump specialist Heating Service Installatietechniek by technical service provider VDK Groep. Again, a "nice" because complex deal.
With many new construction projects delayed by the nitrogen and PFAS files, few companies were eager to make an acquisition. Here, too, JBR was able to achieve results thanks to thorough preliminary work. Tigchelaar: 'In the process with Rendon, I learned from Harold that it is better to shoot bullets than hail. So I started looking very selectively at companies in the sector of any size that have or want to generate adjacent activities. This is how we ended up with VDK Groep, a takeover candidate that can ensure the succession of the two selling DGAs. This secured the continuity and identity of Heating Service, exactly what was important to our clients.'
Sharing knowledge is characteristic of JBR, Brummelhuis believes. 'We sometimes call ourselves a company of knowledge and know-how. This monitor focused on the developments we see in an industry and our vision of them. It is a conversation piece for other potential buyers and sellers in the market and within our network. That's how we build beautiful, lasting relationships.'
Source: Brookz 500, December 2023