8.1 Connected Consumer
The life expectancy of the population is increasing with, in emerging countries, a growing middle class with specific needs. Almost everyone is permanently reachable by mobile media, social media are in, and on-line purchasing is widely practised. In short, a growing number of selective and knowledgeable consumers are out looking for ever better and more sophisticated products and services, with a natural use of multimedia in a multi-channel distribution model.
During the past year, the Connected Consumer team made 1 new investment, in Legallais (hardware distributor in France, www.legallais.com - for more info see highlight), and carried out 6 divestments, of which we highlight a few.
Gimv succeeded in May 2015 in selling its Belgian shareholding XL Video, a supplier of creative video solutions and specialized in large and complex screens (www.xlvideo.com), to Production Resource Group (PRG) (www.prg.com), the leading provider of technology for entertainment and events (see press release).
In February 2016 the sale was announced of Altaïr Group (formerly Brunel, a manufacturer of household cleaning products, www.brunel-fr.com). This partnership was a story of sustained organic growth: over the past five years, Altaïr successfully strengthened its position in France, launching several new successful product lines and its range of household articles. In 2014 the group moved its main plant to a new location, better adapted to the safety and environmental standards in the industry, and providing a base for future growth (see press release). The divestment process was completed after the end of the financial year.
Lastly, in late March 2016, Gimv announced the sale of its majority stake in Onedirect (Europe's largest telecom equipment supplier, www.onedirect.fr) to Naxicap Partners. With its efficient, multi-channel marketing and sales methodology, Onedirect was able to record strong growth. Gimv helped Onedirect exploit all market opportunities, firstly by boosting the management team and thinking though strategic choices with it, and secondly by guiding the company in its international expansion by setting up operations in the United Kingdom (see press release). The divestment process was completed after the end of the financial year.
Among existing partnerships, Vandemoortele (Belgium, the leading player in the European market for frozen bakery products) underwent www.vandemoortele.com) an important evolution. Last year the group completed its acquisition of LAG, Italy’s leading frozen focaccia and bread company. This acquisition aligns with with Vandemoortele's growth strategy, strengthens its Italian presence in bakery products and expands its range with typical Italian products.
Overview Connected Consumer portfolio
At end-March 2016, the Connected Consumer team managed 17 companies across Belgium, the Netherlands and France. These together represent an amount of EUR 282 million.
|Altaïr/Brunel||Chemical industry, production of household cleaning products||France|
|Eden Chocolates||Production of innovative premium chocolates - "Senz"||Belgium|
|Greenyard Foods||Frozen and canned vegetables, fruit & potatoes||Belgium|
|Impression International||Posters and point of sales campaigns||Belgium|
|Made in design||Online store for design furniture||France|
|Marco Vasco||An on-line travel agency specialised in tailor-made, long-haul holiday packages||France|
|Melijoe||Online sales of brand clothing and accessories||France|
|Onedirect||Multichannel distribution of professional telecom equipment||France|
|Powerinbox||Provider of interactive email solutions||Israel|
|Studiekring||Tutoring and student coaching||the Netherlands|
|Teads||Video advertising on social and premium media||France|
|UDB||Independent beer group||the Netherlands|
|Vandemoortele||Frozen bakery products and lipids||Belgium|
|Walkro||Production of substrate for the cultivation of mushrooms||the Netherlands|
|Wolf||Designs, manufactures and distributes women’s underwear||France|
Legallais - hardware distributor - France - Gimv took a minorithy stake in January 2016
"Gimv's international presence and multi-sector sector will enable Legallais to strengthen its ambitious strategy and its striving for excellence."
Founded in 1889, Legallais grew to be the French market reference for ironware distribution. The company aims to be a one-stop shop for general construction and finishing (building products, consumables, equipment, sanitaryware and electrical materials, etc.) with a complete, high-quality offering for construction and maintenance professionals. These customers are accessed through multiple distribution channels, i.e. direct sales, online channels and physical points of sale. Characteristic of Legallais are the wide product availability and automated and efficient logistics (next-day delivery) giving excellent service for high customer satisfaction.
Besides its strong presence in France - through Legallais and several other brands - Legallais is also active in Germany and Poland. The group has almost 1 000 employees and achieved sales of EUR 225 million in 2015.
Legallais' three-dimensional business model (multi-channel, specialized multi-product offering and different customer groups) matches today's more complex consumer market. The Connected Consumer sales team's know-how in omni-channel marketing strategies and data driven selling provide a strong complement to management's own skills.
With support from Gimv, Legallais wants to continue to grow in parts of France where it is less present today, and in a number of carefully selected markets elsewhere in Europe.