Entrepreneur Plants: Willemse acquires its Dutch competitor Bakker.com

Plants: Willemse acquires its Dutch competitor Bakker.com

Willemse, which presents itself as the French number 1 in online plant sales, has become the European leader in its sector thanks to the takeover of its main competitor, the Dutch company Bakker.com.

The two companies are complementary. With its 6,000 references, Willemse, located in Neuville-en-Ferrain, in the north of the Lille metropolis, is more specialized in plants for the exterior and the vegetable garden. What Bakker.com also does with its 8,000 references, including 3,000 common with French. But the Dutch, so far number 1 in Europe, is more oriented indoor plants.

A great opportunity

For Willemse, which employs 50 people, this takeover “is a great opportunity because Bakker.com is present in eight European countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in Italy and Luxembourg. This gives us an international dimension and allows us to expand our range,” says Ludovic Dewavrin, who took over the company created by his grandfather in 1962 in 2015.

Based in Lisse near Amsterdam, Bakker.com went into compulsory liquidation at the end of May due to financial difficulties generated by high costs and over-investment. The SME weighs, in terms of turnover, three times the weight of Willemse. She made 15 million euros in 2020 as in 2021, an activity boosted by the various confinements. The current financial year, which will end at the end of the month, is in slight decline, a decline attributed to the decline in purchasing power and the war in Ukraine which has slowed down consumption in general.

New mobile app

With this acquisition Ludovic Dewavrin aims to double his business volume for the next fiscal year. The northern SME keeps the assets of its Dutch competitor, but does not take over either the logistics activity or the premises. “We hope to be able to quickly reopen the website for our European customers who will be able to benefit from our personalized support and our advice, our strong point”, adds the young manager.

Willemse will also release a new version of its mobile application called Groww in early July. “It will now be free and very innovative, based on plant recognition,” explains the CEO.

The SME intends to keep the Bakker producers and expand its current portfolio of around twenty French growers to meet European customers. These will be served from its 3,500 square meter logistics platform in Neuville-en-Ferrain.

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