Agrifood

Agrifood

The innovative agrifood sector presents excellent opportunities for national and international investors. Increasing numbers of non-European parties are getting involved in the Dutch agrifood sector. Automation, robotics and biotechnology developments are contributing to improved efficiency in the sector, creating a demand for new strategies and changes to corporate structures. Houthoff’s comprehensive knowledge and vision of the sector are incomparable and facilitate these changes in a way that no one else can. As market leader, our multidisciplinary Agrifood Team represents national and international clients in virtually every link of the supply chain. The team’s work includes monitoring the increasingly intensive strategic partnerships developing between different supply chain parties.

EXAMPLES OF OUR EXPERTISE WITHIN THE AGRIFOOD SECTOR

M&A transactions within the agrifood sector are often complex and require comprehensive legal assistance. Our Agrifood Team advises both investors and strategic partners from home and abroad on transactions on the Dutch market. We also assist Dutch companies on cross-border transactions by partnering with the best lawyers from our international Lex Mundi network. Innovative agriculture companies have benefited from the proper protection of their varieties and innovations via breeders’ rights, patents, and other intellectual property rights. Houthoff is one of the few firms that specialises in this field.

Agrifood producers often find themselves facing complex and wide-ranging requirements when it comes to aspects such as their production processes and putting their products on the market. This makes it vital for them to satisfy competition regulations and the conditions for market access, as well as acquire proper certification. Agrifood producers recognise our broad experience and expertise in these areas. They engage us to assess their contracts or proposed partnership structures, to find solutions for combating unfair trade practices or false competition, and to apply for such certifications as the MPS-Florimark Production label.
  • Houthoff represented Klaas Puul in its merger with Foppen Groep. Both Foppen and Klaas Puul are well known business in the salmon and shrimp processing industry and have long histories as family owned businesses in the food industry. The businesses have been in existence for respectively 100 and 50 years.

  • Houthoff assisted the three shareholders of the food ingredients supplier Acatris with the sale of 100% of the shares in Acatris Beheer B.V. to Caldic Ingredients B.V. This creates the opportunity for Acatris to geographically expand its own ingredient blends via the international Caldic distribution channels.
  • Houthoff advised Dümmen Orange on the acquisition of the Calla business of Golden State Bulb Growers Inc. and G. Geerlings & Zonen B.V. and the Calla breeding Sande companies. Pursuant to this series of acquisitions, Dümmen Orange was able to establish itself as a global leader in Calla breeding.
  • Houthoff advised Dümmen Orange on the acquisition of the business of Grow-Tech LLC, a world wide developer and manufacturer of grow plugs and microgreen growing media.
  • Houthoff advised Dümmen Orange on the acquisition of De Eeuwige Lente B.V. The target company specialises in breeding, propagation through cuttings and rooting. Over the years the company has specialised increasingly in Saintpaulia, with Euphorbia Milii a relatively recent addition to its product range.
  • Houthoff represented Helios Investment Partners, jointly with Vinson & Elkins, on its acquisition of 100% of Fertilizers and Inputs Holding B.V. which holds Louis Dreyfus Company’s Africa-based fertilizers and inputs operations. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.
  • Houthoff advised Dümmen Orange on the acquisition of the Phalaenopsis young plant business of SOGO Team Co. Ltd. SOGO is a Phalaenopsis young plant supplier located in Taiwan delivering plants to Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa employing around 250 workers.
  • Houthoff advised Oerlemans Foods Nederland B.V./H2 on the sale of its frozen potato processing division to Lamb-Weston/Meijer V.O.F. through a sale of all shares in Oerlemans Foods Nederland B.V. to Lamb-Weston/Meijer V.O.F.
  • Represented a.o. Alcodis S.A. in an agrifood product liability matter involving product recalls in several countries worldwide.
  • Houthoff advised JBT Corporation (NYSE: JBT), a global technology solutions provider to the food processing and air transportation industries, on its acquisition of Stork Food & Dairy Systems B.V. for a consideration of EUR 47 million. Stork Food & Dairy Systems B.V. is a Netherlands based company focused on developing, producing and supplying integrated aseptic sterilization and filling systems to the beverage and food processing industries. The transaction was finalized on July 31, 2015.
  • Dutch machine producer Food Technology Noord-Oost Nederland BV (Ftnon) has bought a 51% stake in Dutch robot maker Lacquey. The sum of the takeover was not disclosed, but was financed by Active Capital, which owns Ftnon. Houthoff advised Active Capital Company.
  • Houthoff advised one of the shareholders groups in Cygne BV on the sale of Nidera Capital NV to Cofco Corporation. Nidera is a major international agribusiness and trading company with annual turnover of USD 18.5 billion in 2015. Nidera has domestic and internal operations in 19 major export and import countries and distributes its products to more than 60 countries in the world.
  • Advising H2 Equity partners on the sale of its majority stake in its portfolio company Dümmen Orange to BC Partners. Dümmen Orange is a leading breeder of cut flowers and potted plants with production in Europe, Central America and East Africa. The transaction is a subject to regulatory approvals and it is expected to be closed in the coming months.
  • Houthoff advised Dümmen Orange on its acquisition of Max Roots and Quick Plug. Quick Plug is a global supplier of various concepts for growers and propagators within the horticulture sector.
  • Houthoff advised Dümmen Orange on the acquisition of Hobaho from FloraHolland. Hobaho specializes in auction, brokerage and breeding of flower bulbs. The addition of Hobaho broadens the offering of products within the Dümmen Orange assortment via existing sales channels.
  • Houthoff, together with Alston & Bird, advised Dümmen Orange on the acquisition of McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture, a US-based wholesale plant brokerage firms, to fulfil its strategic ambition for enhanced distribution and customer reach. 

Our specialists know the agrifood sector inside and out, and use this knowledge to develop practical, thoroughly considered solutions. They combine their knowledge of subjects such as food safety, intellectual property law, competition law, agricultural law, and product liability law to formulate future-proof solutions that will help you now, and continue to help you in the future. Whenever necessary, Houthoff can rely on its excellent relationships with national and European authorities, such as the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets [Autoriteit Consument en Markt], the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority [Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit] (NVWA), Naktuinbouw, the Plant Varieties Board [Raad voor Plantenrassen], the Dutch Customs Administration [Nederlandse douane], industry organisations, the European Commission, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Thanks to these cooperative relationships and the Agrifood Team’s comprehensive knowledge of the sector, the solutions that Houthoff offers go the extra mile.

Publications

Gerrit Oosterhuis

Key Contact

Brussels
Advocaat | Counsel
+32 2 507 98 13
+32 4 7394 8686
Greetje van Heezik

Key Contact

Brussels
Advocaat | Senior Associate
+32 2 507 98 10
+32 4 7586 8593