Retail Consumer Products

Retail & Consumer Products

Consumers are becoming ever more discerning. The focus on individual consumers is growing. The emergence of e-commerce offers opportunities for market players such as international retail chains, manufacturers who wish to sell their products directly to consumers, and companies that want to turn big data into smart data. The traditional concept of the ‘shop’ is changing rapidly in response to these opportunities. The combination of online and offline sales is presenting major challenges to manufacturers and retailers alike. What is more, the Authority for Consumers and Markets is making more efforts to regulate unfair business practices, and, in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force. The GDPR will give European regulators the power to impose substantial fines on companies that misuse personal data. The Retail & Consumer Products Team at Houthoff has in-depth knowledge of the retail sector. The inevitable shift towards omni-channel sales will complicate distribution and data processing, and require strategic partnerships and effective chain management in order to create and maintain a level playing field. At Houthoff, our experienced specialists are well-prepared to handle the legal consequences of these developments.

Our expertise within the retail and consumer products sector

More and more of our clients in manufacturing and production are entering into strategic partnerships and participating in joint ventures. They endorse Houthoff’s knowledge of this sector and engage our specialists to structure these new partnerships, taking new business models into account. It is no longer possible to imagine the current economy without digital platforms.

Suppliers often find themselves facing legal and infrastructural challenges. Our retail lawyers advise these parties on smart solutions for such challenges.

The GDPR will require retail chains to critically assess their data processing activities and revise them if necessary. In that context, our Retail & Consumer Products Team will execute thorough compliance processes for large international retail chains and other clients.

Franchise structures can be complex. We advise various parties on this niche area, always keeping in mind both the PR aspects and the relationships between those involved.

Our Retail & Consumer Products Team understands the issues facing industries involving supermarket concepts, electronics, automotives, bicycles, watches, and food/non-food. The players in these industries work closely with our specialists in the fields of M&A, finance, product liability, labour law, tenancy law, privacy law, and IT law. Our lawyers have excellent relationships with other retail lawyers throughout Europe. The integration of this knowledge leads to well-thought-out and practical solutions that can address all stages in the life cycle of our clients' companies.

  • Houthoff represented Active Capital Company in the sale of FTNON, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of food processing equipment specialized for the fresh cut and thermal treatment of fruit and vegetables, to JBT Corporation, a US-based leading global technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food processing and air transportation industries. FTNON's USA and China based subsidiaries were, as part of this transaction, sold directly to JBT.

  • Houthoff advised Poiesz Supermarkten B.V., a chain of supermarkets in the Northern Netherlands, on the acquisition of Zorggroep Friesland B.V., sole shareholder of  Van Smaak B.V.. Van Smaak B.V. delivers meals to healthcare institutions and individual customers and has the whole relating process (including the purchase of the raw materials, processing and logistics) in house.

  • Houthoff represented Active Capital Company in their acquisition of Lumat International from their previous owners. Lumat is a supplier of High Tenacity Yarn, Polyester, Polyamide, (Nylon), Aramide and Synthetic continuous filament yarn.

  • Houthoff has advised tesa SE on the acquisition of shares in the capital of  Nijkerk-based Polymount International B.V. from its current shareholders. Polymount is active in the business of developing, manufacturing and sale of a producer of self-adhesive ‘twinlock’ sleeves used in printing presses. The new combined infrastructure of Polymount’s Twinlock division and tesa will create opportunities for synergy and growth on a global scale.

  • Houthoff has advised Smart Holding B.V. in a transaction whereby Smart Holding agreed on the acquisition of all outstanding shares in the capital of Mascot Europe B.V. from its shareholder MagVat Holdings B.V.

    Both Smart Holding, via its subsidiary Nedac Sorbo B.V., and Mascot Europe are, together with its respective affiliates, active as wholesalers in consumer goods.

  • Headquartered in the Netherlands and with more than 75 years of towbar expertise, the Brink Group works closely with OEMs on various programs and also serves the Aftermarket segment of the towing and trailering industry. The Brink Group produces nearly one million towbars annually, and the Brink Group’s products can be found on approximately 25 million vehicles worldwide. The Brink Group currently operates nine facilities in eight countries around the globe.
    With annual revenue of approximately $150 million, the Brink Group’s addition to the Horizon Global portfolio will support the Company’s industry-leading manufacturing and product innovation capabilities. After the acquisition, Horizon Global will be well positioned to provide a robust and respected product portfolio that will more effectively serve its global customers across the OEM, OES, Aftermarket and Retail channels.

    The parties expect to complete the transaction by the end of the second quarter 2018, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.
  • Houthoff represented Sligro Food Group in the strategic, long-term partnership with Heineken Netherlands for beer and cider logistics in the Netherlands, and the sale of other parts of the Heineken beverages wholesaler to Sligro Food Group. The partnership makes Heineken Sligro’s number one partner for beer and cider.

  • The growing importance of e-commerce often creates conflicting interests between manufacturers or wholesalers and retailers, particularly if these retailers perceive the e-commerce activities of their suppliers as unfair competition for their stores. Houthoff has supported the franchisees of one of the Ahold banners in working out a solution that seeks to find a solution for this conflict by introducing detailed rules, a compensation scheme and clear rights and obligations for both parties. 


Rixt de Vries

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 69 00
+31 6 2248 0662
Walter van Overbeek

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 61
+31 6 5160 8209