The Sioen family wants to take the textile company off the stock exchange and has made a takeover bid of 23 euros per share.
That says CEO Michèle Sioen. Trading in the stock has been halted. A quarter of a century ago, Sioen went to the Brussels stock exchange, where it is now worth 360 million euros.
The family remained in control all the time and has a stake of about 65 percent. It now wants to pay 23 euros per share for the remaining shares. That means that the family has to cough up some 160 million euros to get the full 100 percent. That will be financed with loans.
‘The fair has given us many opportunities. Thanks to our stock exchange listing, we have become big and strong. We wouldn’t have made it this far without it. But the stock market is no longer of use to us’, says the CEO.
With the money from the IPO, the company expanded its factory in Mouscron, among other things, and made work of vertical integration by investing in spinning and weaving.
Sioen then increasingly went technical, and invested heavily in innovation. This resulted in a wide range of textile products. This includes firefighting clothing fabrics, bulletproof vests, fabrics for airbags and fabrics for growing seaweed.
Six years ago, the company went on the takeover tour. Among other things, it bought top players in the production of fabrics for sailing boats and in the sale of life jackets.
Gate smashed open
In 1996, Sioen was the company that, with its insanely successful IPO, opened the gate to the stock exchange for many family businesses (Kinepolis, Duvel, Van de Velde, VPK, Miko, Omega Pharma, etc.).
In recent years, many of those companies have again disappeared from the stock market tables. The Macharis family took packaging specialist VPK Packaging off the stock exchange, the Moortgat family acquired the remaining shares of the Duvel Moortgat and Marc Coucke beer group, and Omega Pharma acquired full ownership of the Waterland investment fund.
The fact that such companies are moving away from the stock exchange is a signal that counts. Duvel and VPK have previously proven that you should no longer take the manic-depressive stock market for granted in order to finance a strong expansion as a family business. There is its own cash flow, debts are (spot) cheap and private equity & family offices beg to be allowed to give you money.
For the Sioen investor it is a pity, just at the moment when many major acquisitions in recent years (Ursuit, Dimension-Polyant, James Dewhurst) are starting to pay off.