What began 50 years ago as a one-man fruit trading operation had, by 2005, grown into an import and export business employing over 90 people. That year, Gimv invested in the business, allowing second-generation head of the family Marius de Groot to step down as the CEO.
Supporting the next generation of the De Groot family members, Gimv helped professionalise and expand the business domestically and internationally. By the time Ben and William de Groot bought back full control of the family business from Gimv in 2011, the company had more than doubled its employee numbers and had successfully entered Belgium and the UK to create an international leader in fruit importing and distributing. Simultaneously, De Groot diversified its client base and increased its product portfolio.
Thanks to Gimv’s engagement and their open and constructive communication, we have learned a lot and implemented many optimisations.
Ben de Groot CEO, De Groot Fresh Group
What did the business need?
- Support in transforming a family-run business into an international player
- Institutionalised and professionalised systems to enable expansion
- Capital to support international acquisition and growth strategy
How did private equity backing create lasting value?
- Improved the company’s management structure
- Introduced professional control structures to support the company’s future growth plans
- Helped the business grow both via increased sales and buying complementary companies
- Diversified the business into new product categories and client groups
- Further improved its leading position in banana ripening, installing specialist computer-controlled banana ripening stores
What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?
- Sourced and integrated six company acquisitions in six years
- More than doubled employee numbers from 96 to 200
- Increased sales from €140m to €200m
- Built De Groot into one of Europe’s leading banana distributors
- Opened new operations in Belgium and the UK