The Turnhout silicone group around self-made entrepreneur Vic Swerts is making the largest acquisition in its history.
Soudal takes over sector colleague Al Muqarram in the Arab Emirates. This family business is not a giant with a turnover of 30 million euros. Still, Soudal puts a substantial amount of an estimated 50 million euros on the table.
CEO Dirk Coorevits is happy with the acquisition. The deal gives Soudal access to the lucrative and exploding construction market in the Middle East with its chemical construction products. Until now, it was largely a blind spot in the silicone empire. ‘We already sold there, albeit to a limited extent through a small office in Dubai. Al Muqarram not only gives us access to the Persian Gulf region, but also to East Africa, India and Pakistan. By also producing there, we avoid expensive import tariffs in the Arab region and we have access to cheaper raw materials from the petrochemical sector there. ‘
I expect that in 2021 we will reach the milestone of 1 billion euros in turnover, through this acquisition and by building on the average organic growth of 8 percent in recent years.
Due to the takeover, it looks like our country will have a new billion-dollar company richer next year. The extra turnover brings Soudal a step closer to its ambition to achieve 1 billion euros in turnover, which Swerts already announced out loud in 2011. ‘Despite the corona crisis, we will close 2020 with growth – albeit only 1 percent – and a turnover of 900 million euros,’ says Coorevits. ‘Through this acquisition and by linking up with the average organic growth of 8 percent of the past years, I expect that we will reach the milestone of 1 billion euros by 2021.’ Six years ago, Soudal took half of that.
Swerts, who has now passed the 80’s, founded Soudal 55 years ago and expanded the company into the largest European producer of silicones, PU foams and adhesives. With more than 3,500 employees and 22 production sites on 5 continents, the Belgian family business has grown into a global player in chemical construction products. In 2011 it was honored as Company of the Year. Swerts was in the news earlier this year when he bought a quarter of the entertainment group Studio 100 together with the investor Frank Donck.
Remarkable in Soudal’s expansion story is that Coorevits does not so much cite the demand for the construction products, but cites the limited own production capacity as the main obstacle to faster growth. ‘The silicone market is growing 5 percent per year. With our presence in 130 countries, we take up a large part of this, ‘says the CEO. ‘But you have to get that produced. A brand-new factory is ready in Moscow, but our engineers cannot reach the site due to the corona restrictions. ‘
In March, the construction of the group’s largest factory on a 4.5 hectare site will start in Turnhout, an investment of 40 million euros. Over the next two years, Soudal will invest 110 million euros in eleven other locations. It recently bought an 8-hectare site in an industrial zone in Taixing, in eastern China.
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