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vandelanotte supports houtzagerij demey’s transfer

Testimony of a Client

Vandelanotte supports Houtzagerij Demey’s transfer

At Houtzagerij Demey, which operates sawmills in Ypres and Boezinge, a passion for timber is nearly genetic. This family business has been turning pine and poplar into pallets for four generations now. There is also a division that produces wooden vegetable crates. A few years ago, when Frans Demey, the eldest of the three brothers, was approaching the age of 65, the family began planning for the future. “We soon decided to engage Vandelanotte to act as a neutral expert,” Frans Demey relates.

Vandelanotte supports Houtzagerij Demey’s transfer

The third generation to head Houtzagerij Demey consisted of brothers Frans, Bart and Peter Demey. Kristof, Frans’s son, had also been active in the company for several years by then. When Frans turned 63 two years ago, these four began seriously considering the company’s future. It did not take long for them to decide to ask the team at Vandelanotte, where they were already a client, for support in this process.

“My brothers and I have always worked together well and properly. We wanted to deal with this step in a correct fashion as well. By involving a third party, we mainly hoped to ensure neutrality. Should my son and I wish to take over the business, for example, I wanted to avoid pushing the conversation in a certain direction. We did not want anyone unfairly privileged or disadvantaged. To put it another way, we all needed to have a chance to speak our minds so we could come to the right decisions together.”

Vandelanotte started by arranging meetings with all stakeholders present, followed by individual interviews that went into greater depth. This allowed Vandelanotte’s team to gain an accurate impression of everyone’s concerns. “That was a good thing, as not everyone will say everything that is on their mind in a group,” says Frans. It was soon clear that the youngest of the three brothers wished to leave the company altogether. Furthermore, Kristof did not feel comfortable continuing the business on his own. “While these were not exactly secrets or surprises, it was good to be able to state it all in confidence. The conclusions were addressed during feedback sessions.”

“Intend to sell your company? Do not try to do it alone. You really need people with the right expertise and experience.” Frans Demey , Houtzagerij Demey

One phone call

A consensus was soon reached. Frans, Bart and Peter would leave the company. Vandelanotte guided the entire sales process. “The most important question was who we wanted to take over the company. We did not intend to sell to a finance firm and surrender all control. We all had the same desire, to see the company continue its existence,” says Frans. “We needed someone with an affinity for the industry. We ended up making only one phone call, to a company with which we had been doing business for 35 years and where we knew of an interest in acquisitions: PGS (Palettes Gestion Services).”

Vandelanotte’s multidisciplinary team supported the process from start to finish. “You can not do this kind of thing alone, you really need people with the right expertise and experience,” says Frans. “They kept track of everything, from the business’s valuation to our interactions with the buyer and all aspects of the sale: financial, legal, taxes, etc. My youngest brother left the company a year or so later. My other brother, my son and myself are all still actively involved. That was definitely appreciated by the new owner,” says Frans.

Demey is very happy with the support provided by the Vandelanotte team and by Veerle Cool and Jan Degryse in particular. “The whole process went smoothly,” according to Frans. “My advice to other entrepreneurs planning to transfer their company? Be sure to arrange for proper support!”

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In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.


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