After spending more than 20 years building a company, you suddenly get the chance to acquire it. Moments don't get much more decisive than that. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and, when successfully executed, it is a dream come true, as was the case for the management of car leasing firm Noordlease.
Founded in 1982 and based in the northern Dutch city of Groningen, Noordlease is an innovative, transparent and customer-focused operational car leasing company employing 50 people and providing both business-to-business lease and private lease services. With a fleet of 10,000 cars, it is the market leader in the Dutch private lease market and a top 10 player in the overall Dutch market, with a leading position in the northern regional market.
When Noordlease's CEO Robert Nienhuis and CFO Gert Veenstra learned that their shareholder, German car producer BMW, was planning to divest Noordlease, they decided to explore the possibility of a management buyout. "We had been running the company and making all the strategic decisions for the past 20 years, so BMW's decision to divest provided us with a fantastic opportunity to explore complete independence through a management buy-out," says Nienhuis.
"As owners we would be able to further expand our business according to our own vision and ambition," adds Veenstra.
"A management buy-out would however not have been possible without the dedicated support of strong partners. When we came into contact with NIBC we found there was instant chemistry between us," he continues.
NIBC and NOM, the investment and development agency for the northern Netherlands, worked together to help management obtain the financial support for their buy-out ambition and attract risk-bearing capital to both safeguard the business’s continuity and provide a platform for future growth. The Noordlease transaction combines all of NIBC’s sector, structuring and product expertise. The investment provides us with an observer seat on the Noordlease supervisory board,
which underlines our long-term partnership approach, whereby we combine our financial investment with dedicated in-house expertise and our broad network to guide and enable management with their ambition for the future growth of their company. Looking back on this once-in–a-lifetime opportunity, Nienhuis concludes, "There was a 'Think YES' mentality. NIBC thinks in solutions, where most other banks concentrate on impediments."