Country Belgium
Region Vlaams Gewest
Investor Gimv

When Gimv first invested in paper and pulp logistics company Westerlund in 1997, the business was looking for a partner to help it establish operations in China and expand internationally. Gimv provided support for Westerlund’s plans to increase its company storage and distribution sites and upgrade existing ones, including the world’s largest paper and pulp terminal in Antwerp, which extends to 880,000 m².

The private equity firm also helped Westerlund buy its most important French competitor and become market of the largest importers of pulp in China. With Gimv’s assistance, Westerlund’s sales rose by 41% in the three years before it was sold to infrastructure investor Babcock & Brown in May 2008.

You are in a much stronger position to grow the business and attract partners with Gimv at your side.

Jean-Jacques Westerlund, CEO, Westerlund

What did the business need?

  • More storage and distribution sites in strategic locations
  • Better focus on financial standards
  • Refinement of strategy to identify poorer performing divisions
  • Help to enter and expand in the Chinese market

How did private equity backing create lasting value?

  • Provided support and investment for entry to Chinese market
  • Helped acquire Cimep/Mondia, Westerlund’s main competitor in France
  • Invested in state of the art terminal at Antwerp
  • Exited the unprofitable UK market
  • Renegotiated bank loans, improved financial structure
  • Provided support and advice on improving financial management

What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?

  • Established Chinese business that grew from handling 10,000 tons in 1997 to 1.9m tons in 2008
  • Increased paper and pulp handling by 35%
  • Boosted turnover by 41% between 2005 and 2008 to over €125m
  • Kept jobs in Rouen thanks to Gimv’s investment


increase in sales over three years


increase in sales to China (2004-2008)

Case study image

For more info