Knowledge base item

Pondres is ready for growth in the fulfillment market

Support in the process of restructuring and financial growth.

Florijnz Corporate Finance has supported Pondres in the process of restructuring and financial growth. Van Waarde magazine of the Nederlands Instituut voor Register Valuators (NiRV) wrote an article about this project.

The IT platform is in order, the financial preconditions have been met and even the corona crisis gave the company a tail wind. For Pondres, all the signs are green for realising its further growth ambitions, says CFO Maarten Wolters: "We have built a wonderful IT highway, and are now only using four of the eight lanes. Now it's time to seize the opportunities with our customers."

Pondres started 62 years ago as a sender of personalised print products using punched cards. Today it provides omnichannel customer communications for an optimal customer experience for companies such as Shoeby, Allianz, DAF Paccar and Zeeman. High-impact direct mailings, digital communication and e-fulfillment are the most important pillars of this. According to Wolters, the logistical handling of online orders has great potential. "Opening a parcel is also a great contact moment, with lots of opportunities to improve the customer experience and encourage customers to make follow-up purchases."

Future-proof

Wolters: "When I joined Pondres in 2018, it was clear that we needed to invest in IT and fulfillment to remain distinctive and future-proof in a changing market. Our financial space was too tight to realize this. We needed about 1 million Euros to realize our ambitions and to grow from 18 million Euros to 25 million Euros turnover per year. We want to achieve this growth mainly in the SME+ segment. These entrepreneurs usually have a small marketing and communications department. We actively think along with them and have a wide range of solutions to make their customer communication more personal, more relevant and above all more effective."

Financial restructuring

Wolters encountered the necessary resistance in his talks with financiers. Partly with the help of Florijnz Corporate Finance, he did manage to convince all the stakeholders. Marieke Klaassen-van Beurden, senior advisor at Florijnz: "In 2015 Pondres had been taken over by a group of investors against a debt position that was too high after the fact. Pondres had to let its financiers see through those figures, and show what had been invested and why Pondres was ready for the future." Wolters: "In discussions with the bank and with shareholders, it is very valuable if an independent party looks along at the substantiation of your vision and starting points for a financial restructuring. Gradually we managed to implement the financial restructuring and raise new capital. Then we succeeded after a thorough selection process outside the bank to find a broader working capital financing to facilitate sales growth. Again, Florijnz has assisted.

Eliminated competition

Wolters: "We now have our house in order financially and technically. We are able to offer customers tailor-made solutions at the front end, while the back end is standardised. In fact, an IT highway has been built with eight lanes, of which we only use three or four." In short, Pondres is ready to grow further and has had a strong six months despite the corona crisis, says Wolters. "In offline retail a lot of orders and campaigns shifted, but e-commerce activities increased enormously. That also seems to be a structural increase. Older people who ordered products via the internet for the first time will continue to do so. Since mid-March we have done everything possible to respond quickly to the new reality. It was great to see that the efforts and enthusiasm of 170 colleagues enabled us to respond so quickly to the changing customer needs."

Sparring partner

Many companies in the sector are in dire straits. Wolter: "If, as a service provider, you have a narrow market focus and happen to serve sectors that are hit hard by Corona, and you have a narrow proposition and high fixed costs, things will go downhill very quickly. We actively seek out those companies before it's too late and see if the business can be saved. We want to grow faster and a consolidation strategy fits in with that. By consolidating, we can achieve a great deal of synergy in terms of knowledge, costs and revenue together with those fellow companies, and we can safeguard jobs. Florijnz is also an important sparring partner for us in creating the right M&A approach."

Source: https://vanwaardemagazine.nl/#page/11

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Marieke Klaassen
Marieke Klaassen van BeurdenSenior Corporate Finance Advisor
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