Management Buy-In places Bever Zwerfsport in hands of Bert Hondebrink and investment company GIMV

03-09-2004 08:00

Bever Zwerfsport, the specialist and market leader for outdoor articles in the Netherlands, has been taken over by buy-in manager Bert Hondebrink and by investment company GIMV, via its Corporate Investment Netherlands (Halder) business unit. Bever Zwerfsport’s founder-owner Fred van Olphen has transferred his entire interest into a specially set up holding company. At the same time Fred van Olphen has transferred the management of the company as of the 1st of September to Bert Hondebrink, who has become General Manager of Bever Zwerfsport. Van Olphen will remain involved for a time in an advisory capacity.

Fred van Olphen: “Given the primary importance of our company’s and employees’ future, we have been looking for a long time now for the most suitable partner to take over Bever. Bert Hondebrink has a good vision for Bever’s future. Halder’s own approach also fits well with it. I have every confidence that Bert and Halder, together with the present management team, will be successful in further professionalizing and expanding the company.”

Bever Zwerfsport (www.bever.nl) was founded in 1977. With 27 outlets in the Netherlands and one in Belgium, it is the market leader in the Netherlands for upper segment outdoor articles and accessories. With, among other things, its "Outdoor Innovators" and "Women's Outdoor World" store formulas, Bever Zwerfsport offers a complete range of outdoor products to its customers, who range from fanatical walkers or campers to professional mountaineers and expedition members. Bever Zwerfsport has annual sales of around 38 million euros and more than 250 full-time employees.

In buying into the company Bert Honderbrink is returning to his roots. During its first six years of existence, Bert worked for Bever as a salesman and mountaineering specialist. After completing his studies at Delft's technical university he went on to build a successful career in the international high tech market, working among others for Intergraph, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Philips, i2 Technologies and Ray & Berndtson. In the early 1990s he ran his own IT company in Hannover (Germany). Bert has always had outdoor sport in his blood, and in early 2003 joined Fred van Olphen on the Baffin Island Expedition (Canadian Arctic).

Bert Hondebrink: “I have known Bever Zwerfsport since my student days, when I worked for six years there as a salesman. After 18 years in the international high tech market this is a fantastic opportunity to combine my passion for outdoor activities, sport and nature with my work. Fred van Olphen Halden and I share a common vision for Bever’s future. I see this also as a unique opportunity for all parties involved… .”

Halder is a part of GIMV, which is Belgium’s largest listed venture capital provider, with over 1.2 billion euros of assets under management. Halder focuses on medium-sized buy-outs of profitable industrial, service and trading companies with good market positions and further growth prospects. Halder participations in the Netherlands include Holonite (finishing elements for the construction industry), Euretco (non-food retailing), Novagraaf (brand rights and patent protection) and ANP (press office).

For Halder investment manager Ivo Vincente “Bever fits our investment philosophy like a glove. The company is the absolute market leader in the outdoor segment, has a strong management team and outstanding opportunities for further growth. Halder is looking forward enthusiastically to supporting this growth.”

No financial details on this transaction have been published.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Frank De Leenheer – Investor Relations GIMV
Tel: +32 3 290 22 18 – E-mail: frankdl@gimv.be
Mr. Ward Bouwers – Investment Manager Corporate Investment Nederland (Halder)
Tel: +31 70 361 86 18 – E-mail: bouwers@halder.nl

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