Insights from the 2022 Benelux Private Equity & Venture Capital Breakfast

On September 22nd, 2022, senior decision-makers from private equity, financial institutions, advisory firms and holding companies gathered at the CMS headquarters in Amsterdam to discuss industry trends and exchange opinions. 

The panel was moderated by Mark Ziekman – Partner, Corporate/M&A, CMS and Poul Pedersen – Executive Chairman of Pedersen & Partners. Lively debate insights were provided by the panel members: 

  • Joost Heeremans – Partner, Rivean Capital
  • Erwin de Jong – Partner, Dutch Mezzanine Fund
  • Peter van Leersum – Partner, H2 Equity Partners
  • Jeroen Lenssen – Senior Director, Riverside
  • Taco Rietveld – Partner, RB Family Capital
  • Yvonne Rooijakkers – Head of Fund & Co-investments, Rabo Investments

Pedersen & Partners summarised the key takeaways from the debate as follows:

  • The Benelux M&A market has slowed down in the last quarter.
  • The deal environment is difficult due to multiple external factors including inflation, supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, and a talent shortage which impact both portfolio firms and new investment activities.
  • Valuations are going down, and deals are not being concluded at the usual speed.
  • There is lot of dry powder left from earlier fundraising, so markets will improve in the future.
  • Banks have become reluctant to provide leverage. This is an opportunity for debt funds.
  • Exit is getting more difficult, but US-based buyers seem to be interested in buying European firms supported by the strong dollar.
  • It has become harder for technology firms and technology-focused funds to raise money in recent months, and valuations have come down significantly. 
  • Portfolio management continues to grow more professional, including well-structured plans for ESG, internationalisation, etc.
  • The Benelux PE market is crowded, with lots of funds operating in a small market. A certain amount of consolidation can be expected, as new fund managers find it hard to raise money right now.