Marc-Henri Decrop and Pierre Warrant joined as new Partners focusing on Debt&Equity Advisory

Pierre Warrant spent more than 25 years within listed US or European multinational groups active in a variety of sectors (Chemicals, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals, Medical devise, Building materials, Controls). During these years, he built a wealth of expertise in Corporate Treasury, Corporate Finance, Corporate Tax, M&A and international project developments. The last 11 years, he served as Director M&A and Treasury of the Recticel Group.

Marc-Henri Decrop has organized his professional activities around Finance and Corporate Strategy especially in the Business Support services and Leasing sector. For most of his career he was a member of the Group Executive Team of publicly listed D’Ieteren, where he built a wide experience in all aspects of Funding, M&A services and Private Equity.

The Partners of Common Ground Corporate Finance are very excited about this next step. With Pierre and Marc-Henri joining the team, Common Ground Corporate Finance will be able to widen Its industrial and sectorial knowledge, extend its expertise into Debt / Equity Advisory and M&A, and complement its geographical presence with a new office in Brussels.

“At Common Ground Corporate Finance, we have found the Senior Partners who share the same advisory approach and quality standards. With this new team we are able to offer tailored services in M&A, Financing Solutions and International Project Development from start to finish.”, said Marc Henri and Pierre.

Common Ground Corporate Finance is an independent, partner led corporate finance boutique and is the Belgian Member of the Global Scope network active in 44 countries around the world.
To read more about March Henri Decrop and Pierre Warrant and Common Ground Corporate Finance, please visit our website www.commonground.be

Neogen Corporation

Neogen Corporation acquires UK based Quat-Chem Ltd

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce the successful acquisition of the UK based Quat-Chem Ltd by Neogen Corporation (Nasdaq:NEOG).

Quat-Chem Ltd. is a 20-year-old chemical company specializing in the development, manufacture and sale of agricultural, industrial, and food processing biocidal hygiene products, including cleaners and disinfectants. Quat-Chem’s annual revenues are approximately $12 million (USD).

US based Neogen Corporation develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety.

Common Ground acted as the exclusive corporate finance advisor to Neogen corporation. “Common Ground’s knowledge and experience in the animal safety segment was very instrumental in finding the target and in positioning Neogen as the right buyer for their business” says Jason Lilly, Vice President – Corporate Development of Neogen Corporation.

Neogen’s acquisition of Quat-Chem is the latest in its strategy of expanding the company’s biosecurity business, which began in 2003 with its acquisition of rodenticides, cleaners and disinfectants from ConAgra. The expansion continued with Neogen’s 2008 acquisition of DuPont’s biosecurity product line, the 2014 acquisition of Chem-Tech, and 2016 acquisitions of Preserve International and Virbac’s rodenticides.

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Switch acquires easy-m and becomes the largest Apple reseller in Belgium

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce that Switch has acquired easy-m. The two leading Apple Premium Resellers (APR) of Belgium have joined forces and Switch becomes one of the largest APR’s in Europe.

Easy-m, a family owned business lead by Annick Maes, was founded in 1937 in Herentals and is 100% acquired by Switch.

With 10 stores Switch was the largest APR in Flanders and through the acquisition of easy-m, Switch gains an important position in Brussels and Wallonia having a total of 32 stores across Belgium.

“Through this acquisition Switch will be present in each major city in Belgium. This presence will not only reinforce our position to the B2C market but will also enable us to further grow our B2B activities as well as our presence in the market for refurbished Apple products”, said Rik Vrancken, CEO.

Rik Vrancken continues: “Today the B2C consumers are familiar with the Apple products, and its experience. A strong evolution can be noticed in the B2B market, at work, governmental institutions, in schools and universities, where the easy-to-use Apple products, apps and cloud-applications are convincing more and more professional users.”

The transaction was co-financed by Mezzanine Partners 1, an initiative of PMV and Capital@Rent. Common Ground acted as the exclusive corporate finance advisor to Switch.

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Common Ground advises on the investment of D2E in Trafuco, Transporter of the year 2015

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce that D2E has invested in Trafuco group, one of the largest Belgian transport businesses.

Common Ground Corporate Finance acted as the exclusive corporate finance advisor to Trafuco group.

The merger and acquisition market in the transport and logistical sector is definitely on the up. The main objectives are consolidation, geographical expansion and vertical and horizontal specialisation. This year, the total value of acquisition transactions in the transport market will exceed 60 billion dollars. This transaction fits perfectly with Trafuco’s buy&build strategy.

Trafuco realised a turnover of € 27.5 million and € 4 million EBITDA with 220 employees, 170 vehicles, 350 trailers and 4 barges. It works exclusively with its own transport equipment and its own staff on a Belgian payroll.

For D2E, an independent private equity investor, Trafuco is the ideal platform and an ideal growth partner for the specialist transport market, which is currently embarking on the globalisation process. D2E will support Trafuco to achieve an increase in scale and tap into new markets, while giving the freedom to keep doing business the Trafuco way.

Marc Van den Broeck CEO and shareholder of Trafuco group : “Common Ground listened to our specific needs and understood our unique positioning. In approaching the market, they proved to be very flexible and have been able to translate our specific approach and value-added to interested investors. The perfect collaboration with the knowledgeable partners from Common Ground, is in my view the basis for this highly satisfying result.”

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Common Ground advises on the sale of Funico International to Down 2 Earth Capital

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce that its clients Vectis Participaties and GIMV have successfully sold their shares in Funico International to Down 2 Earth Capital together with Bart Decuypere (CEO) and other members of the management of Funico International.

Funico is the Belgian market leader in the production and sale of coffins to the funeral services market with headquarters and production facilities in Drongen and two distribution points in France. Currently the Group sells about 90.000 coffins per year.

The new shareholders will further support Funico’s expansion, not only in France, but also in the Netherlands and other European countries.

Common Ground Corporate Finance acted as the exclusive corporate finance advisor to Vectis Participaties and GIMV.

Ecochem

Common Ground advises on the investment of Gimv in specialty chemicals formulator EcoChem International

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce that Gimv invests in EcoChem International, a Belgian company engaged in innovation, product development, manufacturing and distribution of eco-friendly flame retardant additives which are mainly used in building & construction, transportation and electronic applications.

Common Ground Corporate Finance acted as the exclusive strategic and financial advisor to EcoChem International.

Founded in 2000 by Herman Meynaerts and Pieter Daeseleire, the company has a track record of steady growth with a turnover of about EUR 25 million serving clients in 25 countries. Headquartered in Olen (Belgium), EcoChem operates 2 production facilities located in Willlebroek (Belgium) and in Offenbach (Germany).

With this investment Gimv takes a majority stake, alongside the founders. This financing will be used to support EcoChem’s ambitious growth strategy through both international expansion and entrance into new product segments.

Matthias Vandepitte, Principal at Gimv: “We are excited to support EcoChem in their ambitious growth strategy. The goal of this partnership is to further strengthen Ecochem’s market position, to enter into new markets and to expand the business on a global level. Future-oriented niches in specialty chemicals is one of the key focus investment areas of the Sustainable Cities platform and we look forward to doing more investments in this area.”

Joris Coppye, former CEO of specialty chemical distributor Azelis and currently partner at Common Ground, will join EcoChem to further shape the company’s growth plans. The partners of Common Ground would like to sincerely congratulate Joris with this appointment and wish him all the best with this new venture.

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Common Ground advised the shareholders of AGEP on the transaction with KELLEN EUROPE

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce that Kellen Europe and AGEP, the two leading Brussels’ based Association Management Companies, have joined forces in Q1 2014. Kellen Europe and Kellen AGEP, both formed 25 years ago, have established a prominent presence in Brussels providing professional services to associations; including Association Management, Strategic Advice, EU Affairs, Public Relations, Communications and Conference Management.Common Ground acted as the exclusive corporate finance advisor to the shareholders of AGEP.

With this acquisition the Kellen Company becomes the largest management firm for associations in the food industry in the European Union as well as on a global level with offices in the US, Europe and China. Kellen has strategic alliances in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

“Through this merger, we offer our clients a true window on the world and make sure they remain relevant, not only on a European but also on an international level. We are excited to have strengthened our position in Brussels and expand the scope of our clients”, said Alfons Westgeest, Managing Partner of Kellen Europe.

Alain Beaumont, former shareholder of AGEP said: “Common Ground’s role was instrumental in realizing this transaction. They prepared thoroughly the transaction and maximized our interests, with respect for the values of our company and the nature of our business.”

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Common Ground advised on the sale of Heumatop to CRH Group

Common Ground Corporate Finance is happy to announce the successful sale of Heumatop to CRH plc. CRH plc is an international building materials group quoted on the London Stock Exchange. Common Ground acted as the exclusive advisor to the shareholders of Heumatop.
Heumatop is a leading regional player in the distribution of building materials.
For more than 60 years Heumatop has served regional construction companies and private builders. Over the years it also developed a strong expertise in garden products. Known for its strong and longstanding reputation and quality commitment, Heumatop provides its services mainly in the triangle Antwerp, Brussels and Hasselt.In order to support its growth strategy, Heumatop decided to joined forces with CRH plc, who has the ambition to increase the density of its builders merchants network throughout Europe.
“I very much appreciated Common Ground’s role during the transactional process”, says Pieter Tops, CEO and shareholder of Heumatop. “Next to Common Ground’s focus on maximizing our interests, they also understand the spirit, thinking and drive of a family business. This allowed them to take the lead in the negotiations and to structure a balanced deal with respect for family values.”