Private equity firm Nordian Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Ab Ovo International, an IT-services firm based in the Netherlands and Germany. The transaction was advised by corporate finance consultancies Accuracy and Mazars Berenschot Corporate Finance, management consultancy Strategy Development Partners, law firms AKD and Corp, and tax specialist JSA Tax Consultancy.
Ab Ovo is an international provider of enterprise software solutions serving the distinctive markets of transport and logistics. The company offers technology solutions for issues in the areas of planning, scheduling and optimisation (Advanced Planning and Schedulingor ‘APS’) to among others rail cargo operators, shipping companies, infra providers, and a variety of passenger transport companies. Ab Ovo also provides a range of IT related consultancy and project/interim management services to logistics companies. The firm has approximately 100 employees based in the Netherlands (Rotterdam [HQ], Amsterdam) and Germany (Düsseldorf).
Founded in 1997, Ab Ovo currently is one of the leaders in the European industry in its field. In particular in recent years the Netherlands-based company has grown rapidly, yet in line with its growth ambition – its strategy stipulates further, accelerated expansion – Ab Ovo’s management team last year set out to explore means to grow its funding base. Ab Ovo hired Mazars Berenschot Corporate Finance and AKD to guide them through the process – the external advisors facilitated discussions and negotiations with a range of potential international strategic and financial parties in a process that ultimately resulted in a successful transaction with Nordian Capital Partners, a Dutch mid-market private equity fund. Details of the deal have not been disclosed, what is known however is that Nordian, formerly known as Rabo Capital*, has purchased a majority share in Ab Ovo.
With the capital injection, Ab Ovo is according to Willem Jan Groenewoud, chairman of the IT-firm, ready for pursuing the “next phase” of the company's growth trajectory. Key objectives include the ramp up of Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) capabilities, consolidating its position in the Rail Cargo System (RCS) landscape, and establishing a footprint in high potential growth markets in new - logistics related - sectors. “With the investment power of put on the table by Nordian, we can further bolster our international ambitions, through further professionalising our rail propositions and the launch of new offerings in the maritime and freight forwarding market,” comments Groenewoud.
Perry Bos, partner at Nordian, says on behalf of his fund that they are “delighted to become co-shareholder of Ab Ovo”, adding: “The company closely matches our investment criteria; growth, international presence, and a focus on the Business-to-Business segment.” The buyer was advised by corporate finance experts from Accuracy, a commercial due diligence team from Strategy Development Partners, M&A lawyers from Corp, and tax experts from JSA.
* Nordian is backed by its funders Rabobank, Commonwealth Investments and PGGM Asset Management. Portfolio companies include Chrysal (post-harvest cut-flower nutrition and preservatives), Kipp & Zonen (solar and atmospheric measuring instruments), Redwave (professionals for energy sector), Vandervalk+Degroot (drain and sewer cleaning), Unicorn Grain Specialities (treated grains), Coppens (fish feeds), Dutch Grill Specialties (treated meats products), Luzac (private education), Bangkok Ranch (Peking ducks), and Koop (water management).