Hema will most likely remain in Dutch hands. A consortium including supermarket chain Jumbo wants to take over the department store.
It is not really complete yet, but there is a good chance that supermarket chain Jumbo and investment company Parcom will take over Hema. Those two parties will have eight weeks to take a closer look at Hema’s books and arrange financing with banks. If that works out well, then nothing stands in the way of purchasing Hema.
The Dutch Parcom is forming a consortium with Mississippi Ventures for this acquisition. That is the investment vehicle of the Van Eerd family, the owner of Jumbo. The consortium will pay some 440 million euros to the creditors who have owned all Hema shares since June. According to Tjeerd Jegen, who will remain the top man at Hema, there will be “a stable operational basis” after the takeover.
Parcom is a medium-sized investor, emerged in 2015 from insurance company NN and, among other things, owner of construction company Jan Snel. Because of its Dutch roots and its financial contribution, Parcom is “the perfect partner,” says Jegen. Jumbo and Hema already know each other well because the supermarket chain took over a number of Hema stores last year and started selling Hema products in its own stores. Each of the two parties will own 50 percent of the shares.
The two say they are impressed by Hema’s “resilience”. They also see this reflected in the figures for the second quarter, which ran for Hema from May to July. Although the department store recorded 4 percent less turnover than in the same months of last year, it scored better than in February, March and April. Turnover was a quarter lower at the time – not surprising, because Hema kept all Dutch stores closed for a while.
Hema is still incurring a loss – 12.3 million euros, against 11.8 million last year – but this is partly due to one-off costs related to the takeover by the group of creditors. The recovery will continue in the third quarter, the company itself reports, with an important role for online sales so far, as in the rest of the year.
The announcement of the acquisition puts an end to long-term struggles around Hema. The company was acquired in 2007 by British investor Lion Capital. But the amount involved in that takeover was passed on to Hema itself, in the form of a debt burden that weighed heavily on the company. Even the interest on those debts was hardly affordable for Hema.
Businessman Marcel Boekhoorn, who took over the company in 2018, was also unable to get Hema out of trouble. He lost control of the company to a group of creditors in June. They cleared 300 million euros of the 750 million in debt and in return received all the shares. Another 150 million in debt could not be claimed because they were uninsured. Hema is now going to change hands with a debt of 300 million.
Not spoiled with patronage
Hema started in 1926 as Hollandse Eenheidsprijs Maatschappij Amsterdam and says it makes “the daily life of its customers better, more fun and easier”. And although the traditional Dutch department store has not been spoiled with patronage in recent years, it can still count on a lot of sympathy.
A group of private sympathizers including PvdA senator Mei Li Vos even set up a foundation, Het Enige Nederlandse Alternatief (Hena), with the intention of raising money and investing in Hema, in order to get the company out of the hands of investment funds. . That foundation now speaks of “good news”. “This consortium puts Hema back in the hands of shareholders with a long-term perspective.”
The trade union CNV Vakmensen also “sees hope”. “Employees need peace and security,” says director Martijn den Heijer, “after all these years of uncertainty.”
Citizens want to buy Hema in need, will this plan save Hema?
Initiators of the Hena foundation raise money for the purchase of a minority share in Hema.