Welcome to our Annual Report for 2015, a remarkable year in which we have continued to forge long-term relationships with our clients based on trust and transparency. By focusing on their most decisive moments in business and in life, we maintained our steady momentum, and achieved profitable and sustainable growth.
We have also been inspired by the roll out of our ‘Think Yes’ campaign, with its unrelenting focus on clients and ‘can-do’ spirit. This wide-ranging initiative has enabled us to stand out from the crowd in our markets and achieve unprecedented levels of client satisfaction.
I look forward to working in this way with all our stakeholders again in 2016, as we continue to build the NIBC that we aspire to be: entrepreneurial, inventive and professional.
Paulus de Wilt
CEO and Chairman of the Managing Board
New mid-term financings for independent German brewer Karlsberg Holding GmbH and its soft-drinks subsidiary Mineralbrunnen Überkingen-Teinach AG (MinAG), take care of both companies’ working capital needs, and create a strong proposition for potential bond holders. NIBC arranged the EUR 15 million facility for MinAG finalised in December 2014 and expanded it in December 2015, while the EUR 20 million borrowing for parent company Karlsberg Holding GmbH closed in June.
The 138-year old family-run business relies heavily on the strength of its brands and on innovation to be a leading player in its main beer markets, namely, Germany and France. With the latest financing in place, senior management can focus on developing the business, and attracting capital market funding to meet its strategic ambitions.
“We are always asking our employees to think of new ideas and ways to innovate, and have a culture in which people are allowed to create and even to fail,” explains Karlsberg CFO Ralph Breuling (L). “We also look to work with financial partners that fit our business mind set and company values. We like banks with whom we can talk openly about positives and negatives, and they don’t need to be the biggest.”
As long-standing clients, NIBC has sought to ensure that its team is providing useful input and acting as a partner at all times.
“The recent financing makes the most of the synergies between the two companies, and we proactively came up with the idea of doing both deals with a similar tenor” says NIBC Executive Director Jochen Boxheimer (R). “It was about creating solutions for real long-term stability, and we were able to deliver them because our whole team has taken time to get to know the company in depth.”
Docdata is a leading player in the European e-commerce market, offering a wide range of e-commerce services to A-brands, retailers and e-tailers. The EUR 155 million sale of Docdata to US-based Ingram Micro enables it to realise its growth ambitions and reach sufficient scale to be a strong global competitor in the years ahead.
The e-commerce sector is characterised by rapid consolidation and the ‘winner-takes-it-all’, favourable to players offering solutions on a pan-European scale. Buyer Ingram Micro, present in 38 countries, wanted an e-commerce foothold in Europe and to leverage Docdata’s e-commerce technology and knowledge in other regions.
In parallel, Docdata’s second business, IAI, specialised in security solutions for documents such as passports and bank notes, was sold as well for EUR 22 million to Assa Abloy, a global leader in security solutions.
“It was time for both companies to team up with a bigger player, because of the way the market was changing,” explains Docdata CEO Michiel Alting von Geusau (R). “Both transaction processes were intense. Because we had NIBC on board for many years, we were prepared for all scenarios and able to move quickly. Our teams worked well together and NIBC did a good job in making sure we had multiple bidders at all times to optimise competitive tension.”
Docdata was comprised of two independent divisions and was a listed company at the same time. “This is where the complexity arose,” says Arwolt van Mameren, Director M&A at NIBC. “No single buyer was interested in acquiring both companies due to the different nature of the two businesses. Hence, our challenge was to design a fit-for-purpose transaction structure and process, resulting in an optimal result for all stakeholders.”
“We already worked with Docdata regarding its strategic options and M&A agenda since 2011,” says Arwolt van Mameren (L). As a result, NIBC was able to come up with a spot-on solution for its clients’ defining moment. These transactions further solidified NIBC’s position as financial advisor in complex public M&A situations.
The acquisition of a 25MW biomass plant in the Netherlands in 2015 exemplifies the bank’s strategy of selectively investing short-term risk capital on the back of product and sector expertise, and in partnership with strong management teams. BECC B.V. is a joint venture between NIBC (49%) and a team of partners (51%) with in-depth knowledge of the plant.
The plant located in Cuijk was fuelled with clean wood chips to produce electricity before it was mothballed in 2010 by its previous owners, the electric utility firm RWE, after it no longer fitted with its core activities. BECC expects that the re-commissioned plant will produce around 250,000 MWh of green electricity and heating each year for industrial clients by Q4 2016, after its steam grid is appropriately expanded.
“We’ve had a very positive experience with NIBC because they really understand the entrepreneurial side of this proposition,” explained Daniel Goedhuis (R), Managing Director, BECC. “Their views came from the financial side and even in the initial phase of the negotiations they were very positive and cooperative, always trying to find solutions for the various challenges we faced in making sure the deal went through.”
For NIBC Associate Director Roel de Bree (L), the deal represented the perfect opportunity for NIBC to showcase it expertise and become part of a promising new venture that supports the creation of a circular economy.
“Our venture managers share the same entrepreneurial attitude and ‘Think YES’ mentality as we do,” says de Bree. “This is the type of investment that society expects from an organisation like ours, and it came at a decisive moment for all those involved. Although it isn’t a large investment for us, it is a very special one that has the additional benefit of having prevented this valuable biomass plant from sinking into dismantling.”
March 2015 saw the launch of NIBCity, a new initiative to create an agile and client-focused working environment at the company’s head office in The Hague. The project, led to the creation of an informal meeting area on the ground floor, a renovation and refurbishment of the office space, the implementation of a practical and flexible IT set up, and new workshops and digital trainings for employees.
“When you walked into our offices about a year ago, everything was fixed in its place and there wasn’t an atmosphere that would allow you to sit anywhere else but at your desk,” recalls NIBC Head of Facilities & Services Judith Jansen (L). “What we needed was a more energetic environment so people could work optimally, and in a more dynamic way, with a diversity in work spaces including smaller breakout rooms, instead of two or three large ones on each floor.”
Nine months later, the office has undergone a dramatic transformation. It now features open plan environments on every floor with blocks of 4-6 functional desks, each equipped with monitors and docking stations, concentration desks and lounge settings, so employees can work in the way that best suits their changing needs. Similarly, the downstairs restaurant area and coffee corner is a bright open space, in which employees and clients can meet in comfort for short, informal meetings.
“It’s wonderful to see people using the new environment as it was intended, and they love these buzzy environments in which they can meet informally –it has been a positive change,” says NIBC Managing Director Saskia Hovers (R). “Sitting at a different desk and alongside different people, gives us a better understanding of what everybody else does, and allows us to collaborate more effectively within and between our client and product teams, which often surpass departments and geographies, leading to direct advantages for our clients.”
NIBC increased its financing to PCI Groep in September 2015 to enable the Dutch office machines supplier to further achieve its digital objectives and expand its national client base. The financing is the latest of three since the beginning of 2015, the most recent of which allowed PCI to acquire industry peer Dantuma in March, thereby broadening its portfolio and strengthening its offering in document management and automation. NIBC also acted as a buy-side M&A advisor to PCI.
PCI supplies photocopiers, printers and automated document management tools to businesses and helps them better manage their digital document systems. By raising its senior secured loan to EUR 40 million, the company is able to continue its rapid transition from a hardware-centred business, to one that is increasingly dominated by software and services.
“We wanted to finance acquisitions in a sustainable way, but found that the larger banks were not engaging with us because of our profile, so we came to NIBC for an inventive approach,” explains PCI General Director Bas Kamphuis (L). “It wasn’t long before we had our first ‘Captive’ solution in place, through which we can finance deals based on the underlying value of our contract cash flows. NIBC was the only bank to support this idea and embrace it, and that’s something we really appreciate.”
According to Halbart Völker (R) Head of Industries & Manufacturing from NIBC, the solution provided is untypical for a Dutch company the type and size of PCI, and which is undergoing a transition phase.
“It would have been difficult for the larger financial players to provide this,” he says. “We are glad to be targeting with our product and service components in this way, and that we have been able to make a difference to PCI. I hope that we continue to build this partnership, and support them in any steps they decide to take in the future.”
Independent financial advisor Viisi has become a major intermediary in the Dutch residential mortgage market, and an important channel to high-street customers for NIBC’s mortgage products. From its offices in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam, Viisi prides itself on having provided clear and impartial financial advice to fee-paying customers since 2011.
“We are independent and don’t give our advisors any directions,” explains Viisi’s co-founder Frank Tukker (R). “They look at the rates and terms and conditions on each product and simply show the facts to customers, while another consideration is a bank’s handling speed. It is in our customer’s interest that banks don’t slow down the process, and NIBC’s service levels are excellent. They’re very good at assisting us with customer enquiries and exceptions.”
With interest rates at historic lows, there has been a pick-up of activity in large areas of the residential market. NIBC has looked to differentiate its offering by capturing opportunities in underserviced segments, such as buy-to-let and self-employed, and instilling a customer-focused service mentality with intermediaries like Viisi. Independent intermediairies have a market share of approximately 50
“We enjoy working with Viisi because the quality of the information they provide is always to a high standard.” says Sales Manager at NIBC Direct Ronald Klapwijk (L). “In our daily business this leads to a high percentage of first time right and good conversion rates. For each mortgage application, we look at the individual situation of every client, as opposed to a ticking the box approach. If there’s a good reason to accept it then we will.”