Verdellen restarts Heveco

October 25, 2006

Former production manager and minority shareholder Geert Verdellen is the new owner of a slimmed down …

Former production manager and minority shareholder Geert Verdellen is the new owner of a slimmed down Heveco. He sees his initial task as winning back the confidence of both customers and employees.

The largest Dutch mushroom company Heveco, founded in 1979, went into suspension of payment in September. The company was experiencing serious financial difficulties caused by a variety of reasons; setbacks partly caused by a fire at its English daughter company (Thakeham), heavy competition and green mould problems in Dutch compost tunnels. 2005 saw losses of some five million euros with similar losses being expected this year.

Following speculations about a new start being made under leadership of Hubert Heijer founder and majority shareholder of Heveco, or a takeover by Monaghan, it was announced in early October that former production manager and minority shareholder Geert Verdellen (45) was taking over the three Dutch subsidiaries of the company. Bankruptcy had already been declared at that stage.

Verdellen is the younger brother of co-founder Peter Verdellen. In mid 2005 he left the company as production manager to take over cutting company Keijsers Champignons.

Heveco is facing total debts amounting to 35 million euros.

Heveco has six production locations In the Netherlands. Production may possibly be concentrated on fewer locations, to cut costs and improve management. 

35 of the 650 jobs at Heveco in the Netherlands will probably be lost.

Talks about the future of the German daughter (302 employees) are still on going. The English branch (355 employees) has already been sold to Irish employment agency Lanos. 

Asda remains Hevecos largest customer. The former management and the administrators have signed a new contract with the supermarket chain. The UK market is essential for Heveco, as 100,000 euros worth of mushrooms are destined for England daily.

Verdellen is currently busy forming a management team.

More on the Heveco story, including an interview with Geert Verdellen, in Mushroom Business nr. 19, published on November 1.

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