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為什麼在荷蘭糧食和農業領域受到投資者的熱烈歡迎
 

中興大學 生物系統工程研究室 陳加忠

 
 

Codema PT TecVan der Hoeven Certhon Stolze Prins GroupTaks Handling SystemsBerkvens-

目前由投資公司完全或部分擁有的園藝供應公司商的名單越來越長,包括Agro Care在內的種植者也越來越多。Ruud van der Vliet觀察到我們的食品和農業領域受到投資者的歡迎。幾年前,他告別了荷蘭合作銀行,並成為專注於食品和農業以及房地產領域的企業家。有私人股權一樣的團體政黨看到荷蘭是可持續園藝和耕作的地方。 

現在正在迅速發展興趣。外國人士在媒體上看到Laly公司的擠奶機器人,以及荷蘭溫室園藝的可持續發展可能性,並看到了巨大的增長機會。對溫室園藝的知識以及奶牛養殖業的知識相關。世界各地的許多食品和農業基金已經建立,並且要在2050年養活90億以上的人口。為此已經籌集了很多資金。但是資金必須使用。Ruud被私募股權投資方邀請來尋找荷蘭的收購機會。他說關鍵是要有效,正確地進行這種基金管理

更大,更完整的解決方案

例如一個限制因素是荷蘭的園藝供應商規模很小。最大的荷蘭溫室建設公司的營業額為2億歐元。從絕對意義上講,這可能使您成為一家大公司,但是在整個大型權力遊戲,你又是一個小球員,供應商可以理智的找到對方,就像你在荷蘭的溫室三角洲看到,並在該投資中另外關心農業。其中Havecon VB群, PB TecBom GroupVEK已經齊心協力合作,在全球範圍內,投資者都在尋找可持續的,完整的解決方案。這說明了為什麼他們派出農業學家,保證他們從第一天起就生產。

與此同時,您看到許多投資者以令人難以置信的資金投資於有關藥用大麻和室內/垂直農業的項目。現在他們開始看他們以前的期望,並不會一定總是成功。但是,希望這個市場也能找到自己的方式,並且這些項目將會起飛。如果希望在城市附近以盡可能可持續的方式生產食品,同時確保食品安全,那麼這類項目就是您想要的。畢竟幾乎沒有食物浪費了。在我們的氣候帶,它們不會取代高科技溫室,但是在大都市中,通過垂直耕作在沒有日光的情況下生長肯定會替代傳統生產方式。

聚集投資者的利益

這些是否也與農產品貿易公司有關?的確如此,因為零售業正在尋找值得信賴的供應商。另一方面,批發利潤率卻越來越小。這代表著您必須增加價值。這可以通過集群化或完全專業化來實現,以實現超大型規模。但是您仍然必須相當大規謨才能發揮實際作用。在觀賞植物方面,該行業的發展非常迅速。荷蘭花卉集團,FMFleuraMetz )集團和Waterdrinker決定了零售的方向,其餘的留給了FloraHolland 。希望這也將發生在蔬菜貿易中。 GreeneryZON沒有最大的種植者供貨。此外,供應商和客戶的多功能性也是投資者的一項重要措施,如果像Bakker Barendrecht那樣僅向Albert Heijn供應產品,那麼一其價值就不同於擁有眾多客戶的公司。

需要增長

增長是前提,如果您想擁有對其他連鎖合作夥伴(無論是零售商還是政府)有意義的力量。明智的方做法是在一定範圍內擁有獨特的地位。您需要融資的可能性,以及在育種和生產,貿易和技術的整個生產鏈,以及在超市貨架上的包裝和物流處理這兩面。物流都是荷蘭非常擅長的事情。如果可以保證那條生產鏈,就可以建立集群或聯盟,實現額外的增長。

Ruud沒有想到的是獨立的家族企業在育種,像RijkZwaanEnza公司Zaden公司和Beekenkamp ,將進入其他的手中。這些公司致力於成為家族公司。他們明確選擇捍衛這種文化並看到其中的價值。對他們而言,這比兌現現金和擁有大量銀行賬戶更為重要。

首次公開募股(IPO 

根據財務顧問的說法,首次公開募股通常是第二步。投資者在接管一家公司的頭510年有一個策略。然後退出。私人股份公司的情況是IPO。這可以帶來最大的收益,並為投資者提供機會。但是,只有在一家公司運作良好的情況下,這才有可能。縱觀過去幾年進入園藝行業的公司,可以預期一些公司將在未來幾年內為IPO做準備。如果像花卉育種公司Dümmen Orange這樣的公司做得更好,那我早就預計會進行IPO

良好的業績

到股市上市,絕對可以成為荷蘭食品和有趣的農業企業。無論是直接形式,還是通過投資公司,私募股權公司或Spacs的中間形式,但做好充分準備很重要。擁有一定的業績記錄並達到期望很重要。必須擁有良好的業績,表現出良好的增長率,制定明確的策略並且需要能夠展現出良好的投資組合。最重要的是,專業的管理人員團隊非常重要。公司不想投資依賴一兩個人的公司。

作為一家上市公司,有義務展示自己的全部內部運作情況。Ruud對於許多家族企業來說,這是一大步。另一方面,請不要高估它。如果您比較熟練,則可以獲得任何公司的詳盡年度報告和策略。專利申請也是公開的,因此在許多公司中,都可以找到他們的方向。公司的靈活性與上市無關,這在很大程度上取決於公司的管理方式。上市公司的行為與非上市公司一樣靈活。與專員委員會和股東共同制定計劃,就可以在這一既定框架內運作。

銀行是排在後面,投資者在前面,投資者與傳統銀行之間的比較並不完全正確在荷蘭食品和農業領域仍然是荷蘭合作銀行,荷蘭銀行和荷蘭國際銀行的銀行,對於提供定期信貸服務,營運資金和進行收購很有必要。當您真正想發展成為一家公司時,這通常是只差一步。銀行坐在後排,進行事後評估。而投資者在監事會和管理層中佔一席之地,決定日常運作。因此他們更忙碌並且有能力。利率的調整也不是一件容易的事,利率也不同,銀行對少數幾個利息感到滿意,金融家期望至少有8%到10%。

投資者期望平均利益至少為8%至10%。這增加了公司財務績效的壓力,但您有足夠的財務空間這樣做。如果一切順利,好吧,公司變得更加專業,可以使用投資者的網絡,因此會產生很大的效果,這就是為什麼投資者的網絡對於適合公司的知識和能力很重要,這將使公司變得更好。尤其對於客戶和員工,特別是如果他們可以分享結果。

 

Why the food and agri sector is hot for investors

Codema, PT Tec, Van der Hoeven, Certhon, Stolze, Prins Group, Taks Handling Systems, Berkvens - the list of horticultural suppliers currently fully or partially owned by investment firms grows longer and longer and includes also growers, like Agro Care. "Our food and agri sector is hot with investors," observes Ruud van der Vliet, who said goodbye to the Rabobank a couple of years ago and became an entrepreneur with a focus on Food & Agri and the real estate sector. "Private equity-like parties see that the Netherlands is the place to be for sustainable horticulture and arable farming. 

"The interest is going very fast now. Foreign parties see the milking robots from Lely in the media, and the sustainable possibilities of Dutch (greenhouse) horticulture, and see great chances to grow. Our knowledge of (greenhouse) horticulture, but dairy farming as well, is really relevant. Many a-fund in food & agri worldwide has been founded with the dot on the horizon that in 2050 over 9 billion people have to be fed. A lot of money has been raised for that worldwide, and that money has to be used. It is key, though, that this fund management be invested effectively and in the right way," says Ruud, who is also approached by private equity parties to search for Dutch acquisition opportunities.

Larger, complete solution
"A limiting factor is that, for instance, the Dutch horticultural suppliers are kind of small. The largest Dutch greenhouse builder has a turnover of 200 million euros. In absolute terms, that might make you a large company, but in the whole big power play, you are a small player. Therefore, it makes sense that suppliers find each other, like you see in the Dutch Greenhouse Delta, and in another way at the investing group Atrium Agri, in which Havecon, VB Group, PB Tec, Bom Group and VEK have put their heads together. Worldwide, investors are looking for sustainable, complete solutions. That explains why they send agronomists along, so they have guaranteed production from day one.

"At the same time, you see that many investors have invested with unbelievable amounts of money in projects regarding medicinal cannabis and indoor/vertical farming, and that they are now starting to see that the expectations they had beforehand, do not always pan out. Yet, I expect that this market will also find its way, and that these projects will take off. If you're looking to produce near the city, in the most sustainable way possible and with maximum food safety, these kinds of projects are what you're looking for. After all, there's hardly any waste of food anymore. In our climate zones, they aren't going to replace high-tech greenhouses, but in large metropoles, growing without daylight by means of vertical farming will certainly be an alternative."

Clustering
Does the interest of investors also go to the agrifood trading companies? "It certainly does, because retail is looking for trustworthy suppliers. On the other hand, wholesale margins are getting smaller. That means you'll have to add value. This can be done by becoming very large by clustering or by fully specialising, but you'll still have to be fairly large to play a real part," says Ruud. "In ornamentals, the clustering of the trade went really fast. Dutch Flower Group, FM (FleuraMetz) Group and Waterdrinker determine what goes to retail, and the rest is left for FloraHolland. I expect this to happen in the vegetable trade as well. The Greenery and ZON don't have the largest growers. Next to that, the versatility in suppliers and customers is also an important measure for investors. If, like Bakker Barendrecht, you only supply to Albert Heijn, you have a different value than a company with a large diversity of customers."

Growth required
"Growing is a prerequisite if you want to have the power to mean something to other chain partners, whether that's a retailer or a government. It's wise to have a distinctive position with a certain scale. You need the possibility to finance, and it's necessary to contain risks. That goes in both the whole chain of breeding and production, trade and technique, and the packing and logistic handling up to the supermarkets' shelves. Logistics, that's another thing that we are very good at in the Netherlands. If you can guarantee that chain, you can make clusters or consortia, enabling you to realise extra growth."

Ruud doesn't expect that stand-alone family companies in breeding, like Rijk Zwaan, Enza Zaden and Beekenkamp, will get into other hands. "These companies are devoted to being family companies. They have explicitly chosen to guard that culture and see the value in it. For them, that's more important than to cash and have a big bank account."

Initial Public Offering (IPO)
According to the financial consultant, an IPO is often the second step. "Investors have a strategy for the first five to ten years, when they take over a company. Then the exit has to take place. A scenario of private equity companies is the IPO. That can lead to the largest proceeds and offers the investors the opportunity to get out at once. However, that's only possible when a company is run well. Looking at the companies that have gotten into horticulture in the last couple of years, we can expect that a few parties will be ready for IPO within the next few years. If a company like flower breeder Dümmen Orange would be doing better, I'd have expected an IPO already," says Ruud.

Good performance
Going to the stock market can definitely be interesting for Dutch food and agri companies, according to Ruud. Whether it's directly or as an intermediate form via investing companies, private equity or spacs, but it is important to be well prepared. "It's important to have a certain track record and to meet expectations. You have to have good performance, show good growth rates, have a clear strategy and need to be able to show a nice portfolio. On top of it all, a professional management team is very important. Companies do not want to invest in a company reliant on one or two people."

As a listed company, you're obligated to show your entire inner workings. "That's a large step for many family companies," says Ruud. "On the other hand, don't overestimate it. If you're a little skilled, you can get the extensive year reports and strategies of any company. Patent applications are also public, so from many companies you can find the direction they think in as well. How flexible a company is, isn't tied to the listing, that's mostly dependent on how a company is managed. Listed companies can act just as flexible as non-listed ones. When you've fine-tuned the strategic plan with the Board of Commissioners and the shareholders, you can function within that set frame."

A bank in the back seat, an investor at the wheel
A comparison between investors and traditional banks is not entirely correct, according to Ruud. "The banks - which are in the Dutch food and agri sector still Rabobank, ABN Amro and ING - are necessary to provide regular credit facilities, working capital and doing acquisition. When you really want to grow as a company that's often a step too far for a bank. A bank sits in the back seat, evaluating after the facts, while an investor takes a seat in the Supervisory Board and in the management, deciding along about the daily operations. So they are more 'at the wheel' and capable of steering when necessary. But that's just not a comparison you can easily make, the rates are different as well. A bank is happy with a few percent of interest, a financier expects at least 8 to 10%.

"An investment is no reason for companies to lean back. Investors expect an average interest of at least 8 to 10%. That increases the pressure in financial space to perform, but you're given the financial space to do so. If all goes well, a company becomes more professional, and it can use the investor's network. That can have a great effect. That's why it's important that the investor's network suits the knowledge and capabilities of the company. It will make the company better, as well as the customers and the staff, especially if they get to share in the result."

This article was printed before in edition 11, volume 34 of Primeur. Check www.agfprimeur.nl.

For more information:
Ruud van der Vliet
ruud.van.der.vliet@outlook.com