Kate Santos Explains What The Sale Of Dümmen Orange To BC Partners Means To You

Kate Santos Operations Director Dümmen Orange
Kate Santos, Operations Director, Dümmen Orange

Over the weekend, Dümmen Orange announced that the Dümmen family has sold its majority stake in the Dutch flower breeding company Dümmen Orange to European private equity firm BC Partners. The deal is valued at more than $560 million, around 11 times its core earnings, according to a Reuters press release.

The company, owned by the Dümmen family and investment firm H2 Equity partners, has locations all over the world, including farms in Central America and East Africa. This is BC Partners’ first foray into the flower business.

We caught up with Kate Santos, operations director for Dümmen Orange, to find out how the company’s sale to BC Partners affects Dümmen Orange customers, if at all. Here’s what she told us:

Why did the Dümmen family decide to sell their shares? Why to a private equity investment company?

Similar to the reason that H2 sold its shares to BC Partners, all parties involved felt that the timing aligned for the mutual benefit of the Dümmen family and BC Partners. While the Dümmen family has divested their shares, they still maintain a strong level of involvement and directive in the organization: Tobias Dümmen is working on a number of projects focused on supply chain improvements and innovations, Sonja Dümmen still plays a critical role in leading the marketing and new product positioning in Germany, and Iris Dümmen Schultz supports Managing Partner and CEO of Dümmen Orange North America Perry Wismans and the other management team members in Germany.

What will the role of BC Partners be in Dümmen Orange, going forward?

BC Partners is a new shareholder supporting Dümmen Orange. It will be replacing the role H2 partners played in the financial support of the organization. Operationally, nothing will change from how the organization was run prior to this acquisition.

How will the sale of Dümmen Orange to BC Partners impact growers?

The new partnership with BC Partners will ensure further investment in areas like product development and the supply chain –- improvements our customers will benefit from in the coming years.

The sale of Dümmen Orange to BC Partners is best correlated to a change of banks for our organization. There will be no disruptions in how grower, broker or retail customers interact with Dümmen Orange. Our mission and our teams remain unchanged and our focus is stronger than ever to provide quality, reliable and innovative products and services to our customers in the upcoming 2016 season.

How will the sale of Dümmen Orange to BC Partners affect its products and distribution?

There will be no immediate effect on Dümmen Orange’s products or distribution. In the coming years the increased investment BC Partners can contribute toward product development and distribution (supply chain) will be perceived in the product quality and innovations offered by Dümmen Orange to our customers.

What can growers expect to change as a result of the sale?

Growers should expect a continued focus on them, through improvements in product supply, reliability and service. The partnership with BC partners ensures that Dümmen Orange has the resources available to continue to strive toward and achieve those objectives.

What will the leadership structure look like –- any changes?

The leadership structure remains unchanged. Biense Visser will maintain his role and responsibility as the Corporate CEO for Dümmen Orange. As it relates to the North American market, Perry Wismans will maintain his role as a managing artner on the Board of Directors, as well as CEO for North America, supported by Frank Magnusson, finance director for North America and myself as operations director.

What are the company’s future plans for additional purchases?

Dümmen Orange does not have any actionable purchases on the horizon at the moment, but as always we are keeping our eyes open for opportunities that will be a benefit for Dümmen Orange and more importantly for our customers.

Anything to add?

While there is currently a lot of attention on our organization due to this change, it is important to note that our focus in North America has not wavered from the current booking season, supporting our customers to align their purchase decisions with the best product, and ensuring that our supply chain delivers quality product on time. As of now, we are on track for a great 2016 season.


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