With EUR 30 million in raised start-up capital, the Leuven biotech company AstriVax can further develop its vaccines. This is the largest amount of start-up money ever raised by a KU Leuven spin-off. BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity is one of the investors in this innovative Belgian company, which can now shift up a gear.
Tackling challenges in vaccinology
AstriVax focuses on the development of innovative vaccines, both preventive and therapeutic. With the start-up capital raised, the company will clinically develop its first thermostable yellow fever vaccine and further develop its candidate vaccines against rabies and chronic hepatitis B.
The company is building a highly innovative plug-and-play vaccine platform for this, based on the ground-breaking work done by co-founders Professor Johan Neyts and Doctor Kai Dallmeier from the KU Leuven Rega Institute. In this way, AstriVax seeks to design and produce vaccines faster and more cost-efficiently. The aim is to combine long-term protection with thermostable production, which requires no cooling. This makes it easy for vaccines to reach patients, even those in tropical and subtropical areas.
Ground-breaking scientific work with social relevance
In addition to BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, PMV, Thuja Capital, Ackermans & van Haaren, OMX and the KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund are all participating in this financing round, led by V-Bio Ventures and Fund+.
"The Rega team has done fantastic scientific work in recent years, which they can now turn into valuable medical products. Investing in innovative companies with a strong social vision and promising potential, is perfectly in line with our Private Equity strategy", says Raf Moons, Head of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity.
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity invests in Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity takes stake in Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions. The Lier-based company is a one-stop-shop for all piping solutions.
Van de Velde’s strength is that they offer an all-in-one solution: maintenance, inspection, advice, cleaning, renovation and repair of all kinds of pipes, tubes, storage tanks and sewers. Thanks to their solution-oriented approach, good service, and the use of modern techniques and materials, they have become a leading and forward-thinking player in their niche.
The company has boosted its investments in new technologies and digitalisation, offering robot cleaning and using drones for inspections, among others. The experienced management team focuses on projects with high added value that require specific expertise and technologically advanced material. Thanks to this forward-looking vision, Van De Velde dares to think out-of-the-box and is able to apply its know-how and solutions across the board for many applications in various industries.
"Van de Velde Inspections is an innovative company with a lot of growth potential and a strong management team with an excellent vision. This investment shows that we are not just focussed on large corporates", says Raf Moons, Head of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity. "Private Equity is increasingly investing in SMEs. Companies such as Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions are an essential part of our Belgian economic fabric, and we are happy to support them."
Umicore signs €500 million sustainable-linked loan
The interest that Umicore will pay on this loan, of which BNP Paribas Fortis coordinates the sustainability aspect, varies depending on the company’s compliance with environmental and governance criteria.
Umicore, a global player in materials technology and recycling, has decided to link the cost of its revolving credit line to the achievement of carbon neutrality and gender diversity objectives. Its performance, which will be measured against specific criteria, will determine the interest margin applicable. The loan is granted for a basic term of five years by a pool of 13 banks. BNP Paribas Fortis acted as ‘Sustainability Coordinator’.
Umicore has chosen to link its interest margin to two major targets:
- the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by 20% in 2025 and 50% in 2030 respectively;
- to have 35% women in a management role by 2030, and to achieve gender parity as soon as possible.
The SLL: a major breakthrough in sustainable finance
When a company takes out a 'Sustainable Linked Loan' (SLL), the amount of interest it pays depends on specific indicators linked to environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) objectives. These indicators are jointly defined by the borrower and the lender. In doing so, the borrower demonstrates the seriousness of its ESG ambitions.
Working with our clients towards a sustainable future
"The finance market has rarely been this interesting for any company currently seeking to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals", Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking & Member of the Executive Board of BNP Paribas Fortis, emphasises. “I am proud that Umicore has chosen BNP Paribas Fortis to set up its first Sustainability Linked Loan to support its ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality and gender diversity. This Sustainability Linked Loan is a clear example of how we and the syndicated banks we represent, intend to serve our clients for a more sustainable future."
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity supports Aerospacelab
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, which helps promising companies achieve their growth ambitions, has invested in the Belgian satellite manufacturer Aerospacelab. Thanks to the support of our bank and a number of other leading investors, the company raised EUR 40 million.
Aerospacelab makes and processes satellite images that, among other things, allow air pollution to be better controlled. Not only are they taking European space technology to the next level, they also want to make it affordable and widely applicable. With the funds raised, Aerospacelab will ramp up its satellite constellations production and develop solutions with multiple sensors to analyse this satellite data.
"We are delighted that we are one of the new investors in Aerospacelab and therefore support technological entrepreneurship in Belgium. Just like our bank, Aerospacelab is determined to make a real positive impact on a global level. We strongly believe in their capabilities and are proud that as a Belgian company they can play a decisive role in European space technology," said Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking & Member of the Executive Board of BNP Paribas Fortis.
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity participates in Hannecard
The minority stake in the Hannecard Group is a perfect illustration of the type of companies in which BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity wants to invest. A Belgian company that operates worldwide in a niche market and is fully committed to the international growth and improvement of its services.
Founded in 1896, Hannecard in Ronse is one of the leading suppliers in Europe of industrial roller and roller coverings in rubber, polyurethane, composite and carbide in a wide variety of industries. Among other things, it developed a revolutionary coating system for beverage cans.
The company was looking for a reliable partner to start a new growth phase. Thanks to this participation, Hannecard will be able to fully focus on sustainable and responsible growth in the future, both locally and internationally. Flexibility and quality are top priorities, but sustainability also plays an essential role. Three values that convinced BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity to invest in this ambitious Belgian company.
BNP Paribas Fortis firmly believes in this way of investing to support the Belgian economy. The venture capital budget was therefore doubled from 500 million to one billion euros.
“We have been Hannecard’s preferred banker for many years and have an excellent relationship”, says Raf Moons, Head of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity. "But it is their strongly supported growth plan that has convinced us to take a stake. Hannecard is a solid Flemish SME with the potential to become a global player. With innovative ideas, technological improvements and new product developments, they are steadily conquering a global niche market. This is a story we like to be part of."
Read the article that appeared in De Tijd on 10 February 2021 (in Dutch only).
- BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity supports AstriVax with start-up capital
- BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity invests in Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions
- Umicore signs €500 million sustainable-linked loan
- BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity supports Aerospacelab
- BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity participates in Hannecard
- See all news