Ardo Merger with Dujardin Foods Officially Gets Green Light

Ardo and Dujardin Foods confirmed on September 10 that the merger of the two West Flanders, Belgium-headquartered companies has been approved by the competition authorities in all countries in which they are active. No restrictions or conditions have been placed on the consolidated enterprise, which will conduct business as Ardo.

Dujardin-logoHowever, due to legal and financial steps that still need to be completed, the official merger will not take place until December 31, 2014. In the meantime, the company announced that it will “focus on our strategy, organization, and an implementation plan that will bring together potential synergies for maximum benefit.”

The declared primary objective is for the new Ardo is to continue to develop as a financially successful business, which invests in the future. The aim is to expand and further strengthen its market-leading position in supplying fresh-frozen vegetables, fruits, herbs and ingredients to retail, foodservice and industrial customers.

The company currently operates 20 production, packing and distribution units in eight European countries, and employs approximately 3,800 people. It grows, freezes and sells around 805,000 tons of product per annum, and will have an estimated consolidated turnover of EUR 815 million.

The future roles of family shareholders and the responsibilities of Rik Jacob will be as follows:

Board of Directors
Upon finalization of the merger, the group will operate with a board of directors consisting of the seven family shareholders: Bernard, Ignace, Jan, Marc, Paul, Philippe and Xavier Haspeslagh. In addition, two to three independent non-executive directors will be appointed. Philippe Haspeslagh will serve as chairman the board.

familie-Haspeslagh-7-neven-03.2014Haspeslagh family members own 100% of the merged Ardo and Dujardin Foods companies. Seen from top to bottom, left to right are cousins Jan, Philippe, Ignace, Paul, Xavier, Marc and Bernard. They are working in various capacities on the new Ardo’s board of directors and executive committee. Rik Jacobs (not pictured) serves as the consolidated company’s chief executive officer.

Executive Committee
The group will be run by an executive committee consisting of three members: Jan Haspeslagh, managing director; Rik Jacob, chief executive officer; and Bernard Haspeslagh, chief operations officer. The executive committee will make decisions jointly, and is collectively responsible to the board on matters of strategy, investment proposals, budget and supervision of all operational activities of the group.

Managing Director Jan Haspeslagh is retaining his existing role. Following the merger he will focus particularly on sales, marketing, new product development, frozen food purchasing and further optimization of the expanding group’s supply chain.

CEO Rik Jacob is responsible for managing central functions, including human resources, information technology, finance, internal business, quality control, and the purchase of non-food items.

COO Bernard Haspeslagh is in charge of agriculture, investments, production technologies, health and safety, and sustainability.

Additional active shareholder functions have been detailed as follows:

Ignace Haspeslagh will take on the position of international business development director (agriculture, production and sales). This job forms part of central functions, reporting to the chief executive officer.

Paul Haspeslagh will support the executive committee as executive director. Under the executive committee, a group management committee will be created with responsibilities for the various functional domains.