Article

18.05.2020

#StrongerTogether Wearable tech guarantees distance between workers

The Antwerp technology company Rombit has developed a safety bracelet for workers in ports and industrial settings. This guarantees social distancing, and also allows for contact tracing in the event of coronavirus infections.

Since 2012, Rombit has developed digital applications for maritime businesses, port terminals, the industry and building sites. Its software and hardware solutions aim to make operational activities more efficient, safe and dynamic. For the purposes of social distancing, the company has now launched a smart bracelet: the Romware Covid Radius.

“This wearable tech guarantees 1.5m distancing,” explains CEO John Baekelmans. “If two employees get too close to each other, it sets off an alert. Thanks to contact tracing, a prevention advisor or confidential counsellor can check which colleagues an infected worker has come into contact with. Their privacy is 100% guaranteed. That is unique.”

Huge interest

The Romware Covid Radius is a variation on the existing Romware ONE: a bracelet that brings together 20 safety functions, including access control, an incident tracking system and an alarm for approaching vehicles. In just two weeks, Rombit optimised a derivative solution that facilitates safe working during the coronavirus outbreak.

“An extensive test of the Romware Covid Radius is being carried out in the Port of Antwerp,” says Mr Baekelmans. “Roll-out to other businesses will follow and they will integrate our safety bracelet into their new way of working. There is already huge interest at home and abroad. We are talking with some major players in the industrial sector.”

Social responsibility

In response to the great interest in the Romware Covid Radius, Rombit has already markedly increased its production in Taiwan. Mr Baekelmans also expects a growing need for short-term financing. “Close cooperation with your lender is essential,” he says. “In BNP Paribas Fortis, we have a good partner.”

“Rombit is part of the BNP Paribas Fortis Innovation hub,” says relationship manager Conchita Vercauteren. “With the hub, the bank supports innovative start-ups and scale-ups that are contributing to a better society. The fact that Rombit wants to distribute its coronavirus solution so widely and at as low a cost as possible clearly testifies to social responsibility.” 

Article

14.10.2021

Deliverect, Odoo and Abriso-Jiffy win the Private Equity Awards 2021

On 13 October, our bank and the Belgian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association put the spotlight on these companies, as they achieved remarkable growth thanks to private equity.

A number of fast-growing Belgian companies were once again honoured at this year’s Private Equity Awards. This event highlights the role that venture capital investors play in the growth of both start-up, fast-growing and mature companies. Raf Moons, Head of Private Equity at BNP Paribas Fortis, represented our bank in the jury.

Three categories

The jury had the difficult task of choosing one winner from three nominated companies for each of the three categories – Venture, Growth and Buy-out.

  • The ‘Venture company of the year 2021’ category focuses on young companies developing and marketing an innovative product or service with the support of a venture capital investor.
  • The ‘Growth company of the year 2021’ category is for companies that expanded their business significantly through organic growth or an acquisition policy. They brought a financial partner on board without the latter aiming for control.
  • The ‘Buy-out company of the year 2021’ category focuses on the transmission and growth of companies achieved by management and a private equity investor with a controlling stake.

Strong winners

  • Venture company of the year: Deliverect

    This fast-growing SaaS company connects delivery platforms with food companies around the world. To help companies manage their delivery and pick-up operations more efficiently, Deliverect integrates food ordering platforms into the cash register system, eliminating the need to re-enter orders and the costly errors that come with them. Deliverect was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Ghent. It employs more than 200 people.

    Deliverect emerged as the winner because the company has achieved enormous growth in the short term. The company is active in 38 countries and, therefore, certainly has the opportunity to become a global player within its sector. The delivery and takeout solution developed by Deliverect is crucial to the restaurant industry and became very relevant during the pandemic.

    Other nominees in this category were AgomAb Therapeutics and Imcyse.

  • Growth company of the year: Odoo

    Odoo is a suite of open source business apps that cater to all business needs: CRM, e-commerce, accounting, inventory, point of sale, project management, etc. Odoo has more than 7 million users, located in more than 120 countries. The company has over 1,700 employees, was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Grand-Rosière (Walloon Brabant).

    For the jury, the resilience shown by the company in recent years was one of the decisive factors in selecting Odoo as the winner. A deciding factor was also the quality of its products, which are not only very modern but also very user-friendly. Finally, the company, firmly anchored in Belgium, has a large international reach with its presence all over the world.

    UgenTec and Univercells were also nominated in this category.

  • Buy-out company of the year: Abriso-Jiffy

    Abriso-Jiffy has evolved from a local 'bubble & foam' manufacturer to a leading European group specialising in sustainable protection and insulation materials for the packaging and construction sector. The group was founded in 1985, is based in Anzegem and employs approximately 1,500 people across 15 production sites in 11 European countries.

    This company was chosen by the jury because of its track record. First of all we are talking about a successful turnaround, followed by the entry of Bencis Capital, the acquisition of Jiffy and finally the very attractive exit. This journey was accomplished by a broad-based team. In addition, ESG criteria are deeply embedded in the company’s business model, making Abriso-Jiffy a true ambassador for the Private Equity Awards.

    In addition to Abriso-Jiffy, Corialis and Circet Benelux were also nominated.

Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking and Member of the Executive Board of BNP Paribas Fortis:
"As co-founder of the Private Equity Awards, we have organised this event now for the fourth time. On the one hand, to highlight successful Belgian growth companies and, on the other hand, to show how private equity can help companies. Not only innovative scale-ups, but also companies that wish to make the transition to a more sustainable business model through extra investment, have a natural need for capital. This type of investment often only pays off in the longer term. That is why, as a bank, we believe it is important to assist companies with this through our private equity offering. In this way, we can make a positive contribution to the Belgian economy and to society. We are actually freeing up additional resources for this and intend to double our private equity portfolio to EUR 1 billion by 2025."

Read the full file on Private Equity in Trends-Tendances:

  • Full portrait of the winners in Trends/Tendances (Dutch/French)
  • Interview with R. Moons, Head Private Equity BNPP Fortis and P. Demaerel, Secretary General at BVA (Dutch/French)
  • Interview with B. Peeters and Q. Masure from Tiberghien (Dutch/French)
  • Interview with M. Thumas and J. Van Assche from Eight Advisory (Dutch/French)
  • Interview with M. Herlant and S. Spitaels, Associaties EY Strategy and Transactions (Dutch/French)

Discover more about private equity as a financing solution for growing companies 

Read the full Press Release

Article

13.10.2021

Belgian gaming industry gets a big push

BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, together with Howest and Cronos, recently founded ForsVC, the first venture capital fund to focus exclusively on the Belgian gaming industry.

The gaming industry is booming all over the world. A lot of Belgian talent works on the development of computer and video games. In recent years, there has been a true explosion of creative video game start-ups in Belgium. But still, a lot of highly skilled creative people too often go abroad.

From brain drain to brain gain

As a venture capital fund for the Belgian video game industry, ForsVC wants to combat this brain drain. In the coming years, it will invest 10 to 15 million euros in gaming. Each of the three parties is bringing its specific experience and expertise. The Kortrijk college Howest as a reputable training institute. The Cronos group as a seasoned entrepreneur and investor in technology companies, including gaming studios. And the bank as a financial expert in Private Equity.

Stronger ecosystem

By making capital and expertise available to promising game companies, the existing ecosystem is enriched and made a lot more attractive. Belgian companies can professionalise themselves, develop high-quality games and pay competitive salaries.

University funds

Mireille Kielemoes, managing director fund investments Private Equity at BNP Paribas Fortis: “ForsVC is what we call a “university-linked” fund. This is a specific envelope within our Private Equity portfolio which, among other things, invests in university spin-offs or innovative companies whose IP (intellectual property) has a link to universities or knowledge institutions. Through these funds, we support innovation, creativity, job creation and entrepreneurship in Belgium in promising areas. For ForsVC, we’ll also be working via a participation in the game companies, but individual games are also eligible for project funding through revenue-based lending.”

Read the full press release here

Find out more about Private Equity here

Press coverage dated 14/10
Article

07.10.2021

Which Belgian companies will win the Private Equity Awards 2021?

On 13 October, together with the Belgian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (BVA), we will present awards to three companies supported by private equity or venture capital. Discover the candidates.

This fourth edition once again recognises successful Belgian companies that used private equity or venture capital to finance their growth. BNP Paribas Fortis is also supporting the Private Equity Awards for the fourth time as a member of the BVA. The bank will both host the event and serve on the jury.

Raf Moons, Head of Private Equity at BNP Paribas Fortis and juror: "We believe it is important to reward the growth companies in question and also highlight private equity's usefulness as a financing solution. Private equity is an excellent tool to boost the economy. For 40 years now, we have used it to offer companies opportunities at all stages of their life cycle. Besides this, BNP Paribas Fortis also supports companies that aim to use additional investments to increase their sustainability. This type of investment will only show financial returns in the longer term, which is why we wish to support them through our private equity offerings. In this way we can make a positive contribution to the Belgian economy and to society. We are actually freeing up additional resources for this and intend to double our private equity portfolio to EUR 1 billion in the next five years."

Pierre Demaerel, BVA Secretary General: "In the past few years the global private equity market has grown considerably. In Belgium, 1,400 deals amounting to over EUR 10 billion altogether were concluded in the past six years. And this trend is increasing. It involves EUR 1.5 to 2 billion annually. However, we have noticed there is a wider audience that is still insufficiently familiar with the possibilities offered by this form of financing. That is why for the fourth time, the BVA is proud to be highlighting, together with partner BNP Paribas Fortis, several Belgian companies that have exhibited remarkable growth thanks to the support of private equity or venture capital investors."

Who will follow in the footsteps of iStar Medical, Cegeka and Destiny?

The jury has nominated nine companies. There are three nominees each for the categories 'Venture Company of the Year', 'Growth Company of the Year' and 'Buy-out Company of the Year'. The jury will announce which companies they feel have achieved the steepest growth trajectory in each category on 13 October. We are pleased to introduce the nominees:

  • The ‘Venture Company of the Year 2021’ category focuses on young companies developing and marketing an innovative product or service with the support of a venture capital investor.
    • AgomAb Financials is a Ghent-based biotech player that develops drugs to repair damaged human tissue.
    • Deliverect, also a company based in Ghent, creates software that allows restaurants to manage their online orders and integrate these into their existing cash register system.
    • Imcyse is a Liege-based biopharmaceutical company that pioneers the development of a new class of immune technologies for the treatment of serious auto-immune diseases.
  • The category ‘Growth Company of the Year 2021’ is for companies that expanded their business significantly through organic growth or an acquisition policy. They brought financial partners on board without the latter desiring control.
    • Odoo from Ramillies in Wallonia develops open-source management software for SMEs. With over 10,000 fully integrated apps, the company offers solutions for the full automation of business processes.
    • UgenTec from Hasselt develops pioneering lab software for the automation of DNA analyses, making it possible to detect respiratory infections, STIs and various types of cancer much faster.
    • Charleroi-based Univercells develops technologies for the production of low-cost and large-scale vaccines. This company has won the confidence of many (inter)national investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • The category ‘Buy-out Company of the Year 2021’ focuses on the transmission and growth of companies achieved by management and a private equity investor with a controlling stake.
    • Anzegem-based Abrios-Jiffy is a leading manufacturer specialising in the extrusion of sustainable, innovative, protective and insulating materials for the packaging and construction industry.
    • Corialis in Lokeren designs and manufactures high-quality, technologically advanced aluminium systems for in-wall (windows, doors, sliding elements, roofing systems, curtain walling), indoor (partition walls, walls, fire protection doors) and outdoor (balustrades, greenhouses) applications.
    • Esas from Wilrijk, which will be renamed Circet Benelux in future, is a service provider for the installation, maintenance and management of smart devices in sectors such as telecom and energy. The company also handles the construction and maintenance of coax, optical fibre and mobile networks for large telecom companies.

Want to learn more about the Private Equity Awards? Go to the BVA website

Discover private equity as a financing solution

Article

30.09.2021

Leeuw van de export anniversary edition presents three awards

Competition was very strong during the 20th edition of the Leeuw van de Export Awards. Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) rewarded three rather than two companies for their strong export results this year. Congratulations to Molecubes, Sylva and Locinox!

This edition of Leeuw van de Export was once again streamed live and was also special not least as it was the 20th anniversary of the award. For the first time, two companies took home the prestigious award in the category of companies with up to 49 employees: Molecubes and Sylva. Locinox won the award in the category of companies with more than 50 employees.

Molecubes' scanners off to a flying start

Molecubes is based in Ghent and develops and builds compact scanners for molecular imaging. Molecubes is a Ghent University spin-off and got off to a flying start in 2015. The company immediately attracted a lot of attention abroad. Molecubes scanners are currently being used in 14 countries already. The Ghent-based company also supplies renowned academic institutions and companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries all over the world. And international demand is still high. “The Middle East is still wide open to us”, co-founder Ewout Vansteenkiste says. "Together with our partners, we look at how we can further differentiate our product range and explore many other areas of application. This award is a wonderful recognition of our young team and partners."

Sylva family business sends plants around the world

Plant grower Sylva also received a Lion award. The Lievegem-based company has an impressive family tree that goes back seven generations. Its internationalisation strategy took shape when the current generation took over the company's management in 2003. Today, the company ships 25 million plants yearly to 40 different countries, including several distant markets. "Our strong focus on technological innovation puts an end to the traditional reputation of horticulture and ornamentals”, general manager Tim Van Hulle says. “Winning this award is an incredible boost for us and for the entire Flemish horticulture and ornamental sector.”

Locinox builds gates in all corners of the world

Locinox develops and manufactures mechanical, electromechanical and access control products and components for fences and gates. In such a specific industry, the Waregem family business felt that internationalisation was obvious from the outset. Today, they are the European market leader and 90% of its turnover comes from exports. North America is also an important market. Locinox's complex, state-of-the-art components require continuous innovation. Every innovation also must pass a sustainability test.

Locinox experiences significant growth of 10 to 15% annually. There was no dip due to the coronavirus. The company grew by 35% in the first half of this year. In order to sustain this pace, Locinox intends to double its workforce over the next decade. A new 40,000 m2 plant is in the pipeline to achieve this. “Our ambition is to make sure every quality gate worldwide has at least one Locinox component”, CEO Mik Emmerechts says. “We are proud and pleased that this award gives us the opportunity to show who we are and what we have to offer potential employees.”

A partner who supports your international ambitions

BNP Paribas Fortis sponsored the Leeuw van de Export Awards for the second time. Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking: "We are very proud of the three winners. Exporting companies are a driving force behind the economy. All the nominees showed a great international track record. They all prove that our knowledge, innovation and craftsmanship can conquer the world. Our bank is committed to helping companies with their export plans from the first steps to expanding into new markets."

Are you inspired by the winners of these three Lion Awards? We offer you the peace of mind you need, with a wide range of solutions to optimise, secure and finance your import and export activities.

Source: Wereldwijs 2021

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