Stratfield in Zwolle: Werken aan waarde voor aandeelhouders

Then you suddenly realise that your business is of value

Interview with André van Ginkel & Danielle Manneke-van Ginkel, both business owners at the Van Ginkel Group

‘It’s actually only very recently that we started to think about our share ownership,’ said André van Ginkel and Danielle Manneke-van Ginkel. Together, they have been running the company with Mark van Ginkel, who could not be present, since 2003. What started off as a mobile blasting company in 1970 has now grown, within a period of 50 years, into a leading, innovative full-service supplier in blasting, preserving and metallizing steel constructions, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Customers in the building, infra and offshore sectors in Germany, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom know where to find the blasting and preserving specialist in Valburg.

‘The van Ginkel Group is a real family business. It was set up by our fathers in 1970. In 2003, André and I both became directors and in 2006 the share transfer took place. Quite honestly, this didn’t change things for us much,’ says Danielle, looking back. ‘We became big by starting in a small way. For this reason, we grew in a controlled manner and were able to finance new and innovative machines from our own capital, for example. This approach has ensured that we are a healthy company. Although it was a question of survival for our fathers – certainly during the early years – we are in the black and fortunately a little bit more than that.’

‘Owing to our good reputation and the fact that we are financially healthy, interested parties also approach us to have a cup of coffee together,’ adds André. Then you suddenly realise that our company represents value. If you are involved with growth, professionalisation and innovation on a daily basis, you don’t always realise this. Or, in any case, not sufficiently. Those cups of coffee have in fact taught us a lot, even if it did only entail how to look at certain matters from a different perspective, how to assess them and also how to present them. These insights certainly helped us when we acquired a controlling interest in Petersen Metaalbescherming in Harderwijk at the beginning of this year. In fact, our relationship with Stratfield also dates back to this period. Leendert Stam offered us sound advice during the takeover. His knowledge, experience and often surprising views on matters ensured that we concluded a good deal, after which all those directly involved went home fully satisfied.’

Back to share ownership; what in their experience do André and Danielle think is the difference between being a director and a shareholder? André: ‘I mainly see my share ownership as something that belongs to me. I’ve been working for the company as director for quite a long time and that suits me perfectly. However, I still need to grow into my role as shareholder.’ Danielle also feels that she was more of a director than a shareholder during the past years. ‘Well, director,’ Danielle qualifies this straightaway. ‘At van Ginkel, we don’t think in terms of position and rank. We get the job done together. And yes, sometimes someone needs to take responsibility for a decision and that’s what we do.’

‘However, we are gradually beginning to realize that we need to look to the future in a way that is not purely in terms of business efficiency,’ say both André and Danielle in conclusion. ‘And indeed, more in terms of our roles as shareholders. This also leads to various kinds of questions. Because how can we guarantee that our company will continue to run in a healthy way if we later distance ourselves from the company? And how much value do we attach to the fact that a van Ginkel remains in charge of the company? As ambitious directors, we have lived and worked in the here and now for years. As shareholders, we are now going to have to start thinking quietly about the future.’