Holding around Gert Van Erum buys out Fortis Private Equity stake in Vanerum Group

A new holding controlled by Gert van Erum has taken over Fortis Private Equity's stake in Vanerum Group. Fortis Private Equity had acquired an 18% stake in Vanerum Group (“Vanerum”) in September 2002 at the time of the buy-out by Gert Van Erum, combined with growth capital for the further expansion of Vanerum.

During the period of Fortis’s involvement, Vanerum’s revenues grew from some EUR 20 million to more than EUR 40 million and profitability (EBITDA) increased from EUR 1.4 million to EUR 5 million.


Since 2002, Vanerum has developed from being a traditional manufacturer of school boards and furniture into a hybrid group of companies focused on furniture and equipment for visual communication and learning environments, with an average growth rate in turnover of around 20% per year. During the last 5 years, Vanerum has successfully acquired and integrated several brands and companies, including the successful SMART product line.

Activities are conducted out of the company's headquarters in Diest, Belgium, but Vanerum has several offices in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. With around 200 staff, the total turnover is approaching EUR 50 million, over 50% of which is created in the Netherlands.

 Gert Van Erum, Managing Director Vanerum Group said: “As a family company managed professionally, we have grown our firm thanks to a continued focus on quality, service, innovation and reactivity. We have been very pleased with Fortis Private Equity as a partner supporting our growth to the next level and are ready now for new challenges and acquisitions. Our original targets have been met: successful integration of acquisitions, strengthening our financial position and more professionalism in management. We are ready for the next phase: together with our new investors we want to focus on developing a new strategy focusing on integrating more technology in our product line and further acquisitions.

Brigitte Boone, CEO of Fortis Commercial and Investment Banking comments: “This successful exit from Vanerum is a good example of Fortis Private Equity playing a role in assisting ambitious companies and strong management teams in growing their business beyond a certain level. Fortis, with its international network and its supportive position is the right partner for a company with increasing international activities like Vanerum.

With over 35 years of experience, Vanerum Group has become one of Europe’s leading suppliers of integrated environments for learning and visual communication. Every day, Vanerum changes the way people study, work, and communicate visually throughout the world, providing products and solutions for education and corporate markets.
In 1968, Robert Van Erum formed the foundation of Vanerum. The success story started with the trade in blackboards and continued with a wide product diversification and the offer of total packages. After the takeover and integration of companies such as Elbe, Crahait, Elwe, Comprex, DDS and Limid, the group was formed as we know it today: the provider of solutions that promote the learning process, the transfer of information, and visual communication, with several companies and brands like Vanerum, Weyel, VSV, Limid and Vanerum Sign&Display.
Moving into the third millennium, Vanerum has developed into a company with a reputation for quality, performance and outstanding service. By consistently pursuing new paths in design, by introducing new and innovative materials and by truly advanced concepts, integrating technology in traditional environments, Vanerum is changing the way learning places look. With 200 employees, sales offices in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany and partners all over Europe, the USA and Asia , Vanerum has truly become one of Europe’s leading suppliers. More info is available on www.vanerumgroup.com


Fortis is an international provider of banking and insurance services to personal, business and institutional customers. We deliver a total package of financial products and services through our own high-performance channels and via intermediaries and other partners. Fortis ranks among Europe’s top 20 financial institutions, with a market capitalisation of EUR 34.6 billion (31/05/2008). Together with ABN AMRO, we have a presence in over 50 countries and a dedicated,  professional workforce of more than 85,000. All this makes us a leader in financial services in Europe, a top 3 private banker and a top tier asset manager. More information is available at www.fortis.com.

Fortis Merchant Banking is the internationally operating wholesale bank of Fortis. As a focused and worldwide organisation, we provide tailored financial services to corporate and institutional clients. We are active in several areas, including treasury, fixed income, energy, commodities and equities (including derivatives and structured products), corporate finance, capital markets, cash management, asset financing, project finance, private equity and structured credits. We also pecialise in fund administration, global custody, securities lending and clearing services. More information is available at www.merchantbanking.fortis.com.

Fortis Private Equity, part of Fortis Merchant Banking, manages all of Fortis’s private equity assets. Its total direct and indirect investment portfolio amounts to upwards of EUR 1.5 billion. Private Equity teams based in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Asia concentrate on direct investments. Fortis Private Equity is also building up a diversified fund-of-funds portfolio through indirect investments, principally in buyout and capital venture funds in North America, Europe and more recently in Asia.

Vanerum press contacts:
Ben Jochems +32 1 335 52 60

Fortis Press Contacts:
Brussels: +32 (0)2 565 35 84
Utrecht: +31 (0)30 226 32 19