Staff acquires majority holding in Holland Railconsult
Van Lanschot structures and finances take-over, takes share in company
Utrecht – The management and staff of Holland Railconsult have taken over the majority of shares from principal shareholders ABN Amro and NPM Capital. The first management buy-out in 2001 left 24 percent of shares in the hands of staff. From 2 January, the management and staff of the Utrecht-based engineering consultancy hold 74 percent of shares, making them effectively their own bosses. Van Lanschot Bankiers has acquired the remaining 26 percent. Van Lanschot structured and financed the buy-out and is also setting up the staff participation agreement.
Wim Jol, chairman of Holland Railconsultâ€™s board of management, is delighted with the change. ‘As a specialized firm itâ€™s important that we go our own way. Now weâ€™ve taken over the reins, weâ€™re better placed to do so. A company like ours depends heavily on the commitment of its staff. The fact that over 50 percent of them have invested in the company obviously says a lot about their commitment and their confidence in the future of Holland Railconsult.’
Holland Railconsult is the only one of the top ten Dutch engineering consultancies where management and staff have taken on ownership in this fashion. Holland Railconsult was originally part of the Dutch railways, becoming independent in 1995 before being privatized under a management buy-out in 2001. At that time, 75 percent of shares were sold to NPM Capital and ABN Amro Participaties, with the other shares owned by management and staff. The company has devoted considerable energy to broadening its scope in recent years. This was reflected by Holland Railconsultâ€™s activities in the Netherlands, with expansion into the energy and safety/security sectors. At the same time, operations abroad have been a top priority. Holland Railconsult has opened branches in Poland, Germany and Portugal, and countries where the company has run projects include France, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In addition, Holland Railconsult recently took over an engineering consultancy in Lublin, Poland. The new buy-out fits in perfectly with this expansion strategy.
The bank that financed the buy-out â€“ Van Lanschot Bankiers â€“ specializes in providing services to businesses where managers and owners are the same people. Their director of Corporate Banking, Aad Smits: ‘I am especially proud that Van Lanschot was able to facilitate this management buy-out. We set up the financial structure in conjunction with Holland Railconsult and Talanton Corporate Finance, we financed the take-over and we looked after implementation of the staff participation agreement. We are also providing part of the risk capital via the Mezzaninefonds and by acquiring 26 percent of the shares ourselves.’