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Taking our first steps in the Netherlands: Zwijndrecht as our new base
Following a couple of acquisitions, we’ve been able to establish a foothold beyond our borders. In November 2021, we welcomed eReM to the group, followed in February 2022 by the panel building division of Croonwolter&Dros. CEO Joris Vrancken comments: “In Belgium, we offer a complete solution: we design, build, maintain and upgrade electrical panels of all possible makes and for all possible applications. Now, we’re bringing that solution to the Netherlands.”
eReM is a specialist in industrial automation projects. Panel building forms one element of that, but they also have software engineers inhouse. The eReM deal is a full takeover, but at Croonwolter&Dros we’re involved in a carve-out: we’re only acquiring their panel building division. The rest of the company will remain part of the overarching construction and engineering firm TBI Holdings. The 25-strong team will all be moving to the eReM site. They’ll be moving from Dordrecht to Zwijndrecht, just ten kilometres away, to become part of a team of 85 specialists at that location.
Croonwolter&dros: panel division carve-out
- Was part of construction and engineering firm TBI Holdings
- Team of 25, mainly panel builders
- Specialist in infrastructure and utilities.
- Will be moving to Zwijndrecht site
“Following that move, everything will fall into place to develop that location into a true all-rounder. That’s our eventual aim: to turn Zwijndrecht into our new base in the Netherlands. That will finally give us the access we dreamt of towards the port of Rotterdam, among others. Zwijndrecht will become a site at which we’re able to offer our entire range of services to give customers complete peace of mind in terms of their electrical panels.”
“In Belgium, we’re known as a 360° panel partner: we’re able to offer the best possible solution to any possible question. For every make, and for every challenge, regardless of the stage of life your panels are at. Design, build, maintenance and upgrade. This is the approach we’re now launching in the Netherlands too, as there are few players on the market who offer this complete range of services.”
Why eReM? Why Croonwolter&Dros? “During takeovers, one of the things we look at are niches in panel building. Which fields of expertise does the company have? In which segments to they have a solid foothold? Croonwolter&Dros has its past in the maritime sector, but is now mainly focused on infrastructure. Through the TBI group, the team has been involved in major infrastructure projects in the Netherlands, such as the new A16 motorway around Rotterdam”, Joris explains.
“In turn, eReM’s niche is industrial projects. Their approach is comparable to that of EBB in Genk, which we acquired as part of a previous deal. Croonwolter&Dros are 100% focused on the building market: everything they do is geared towards that purpose. The same applies to eReM, but for the industrial sector. Acquiring these businesses adds extra knowhow to P&V Group, and the companies themselves gain access to expertise in other sectors and other stages of life of electrical installations. The more we grow, the more powerful these synergies will become.”
“Over the coming months, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves to further optimise processes at the Zwijndrecht site and integrate the Croonwolter&Dros team. The potential is there to grow organically towards a turnover in the region of 13 to 15 million euros.”
“On top of that, we’re looking to accelerate our growth in the Netherlands through new acquisitions of businesses that grant us access to new markets as a group.”
Integrating systems, optimising processes and creating growth are the order of the day, in other words. It’s been a year now since Joris and his team faced exactly the same task at EBB. The Genk-based building specialist joined the ranks at the end of 2020. So, what’s Joris’ view on that journey, in hindsight?
“We took major strides forward together. EBB already was incredibly strong company. They wouldn’t have been able to grow into one of the largest players in the Belgian building segment otherwise. Regardless, we still managed to accelerate their growth — mainly in the Building Management Systems division, as EBB is a BMS integrator as well as a panel builder. That team has now grown from eight to twelve people.”
“Everything was already in place at EBB to take those next steps, and I’ve got exactly the same belief in eReM: there’s a solid foundation there to build on. Just like with EBB, I’m seeing a lot of similarities between our own philosophy and that of eReM. They’ve got the same focus on customers, the same belief that quality guarantees your right to exist, the same family business feel and the same multi-brand story.”
Specialisation and centralisation
“On top of that, we’re also looking at whether we can specialise our sites further in one specific make or series. We might be able to assemble all Prisma panels at a single location, for example, or one site might take the lead in everything to do with DCS.”
“We also intend to centralise certain services, such as HR, marketing and procurement, to name just a few. That way, new integrations in the future will run like a well-oiled machine”, Joris concludes. “But let’s stay focused on Zwijndrecht for the time being…”
P&V Group: in figures
- +375 experts in panels / panel building
- +50 permanent service contracts
- +80 million euros in turnover
- Active in four sectors
- +500 satisfied customers
- 4 branches in Belgium and The Netherlands