Vebego International BV

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Vebego International BV

Vebego International BV
Postbus 23092
Cortenbach 1
NL-6367 Voerendaal
The Netherlands
Telephone: +31 45 562 83 33
Fax: +31 45 562 83 34
Web site:

Private Company
1943 as Hago
Employees: 14,736
Sales: EUR 505.86 million ($500 million) (2001)
NAIC: 551112 Offices of Other Holding Companies; 561320 Temporary Help Services; 561720 Janitorial Services; 561210 Facilities Support Services

Vebego International BV is a private, family-owned holding company specializing in the services industry. Based in Voerendaal, in the Netherlands, Vebego is active in four primary areas: Cleaning and Facilities Services; Facilities Management; Personnel Services; Products and Systems. The company also operates a Greenfields division responsible for the development of innovative business areas. Cleaning and facilities services, the companys founding business, remains its largest component, generating more than 67 percent of Vebegos revenues of EUR 506 million in 2001. In the Netherlands, the companys Cleaning and Facilities Services operations are carried out by subsidiaries Hago, Fortron, Westerveld Schoonhouders, Stoffels Cleaning, and Bleijenberg. Vebego has also established a strong international cleaning services component, notably through subsidiaries Care, in Belgium, Ambach Hospach in Switzerland, Hago in Germany, Carrard in France, and Indigo in the United Kingdom. Personnel Services is Vebegos second largest component, generating nearly 24 percent of sales, principally through the companys Tence! (Netherlands) and Tence! Interim (Belgium) subsidiaries. Vebegos Facilities Management operations are grouped under subsidiary Prisma Facility Management, operating in the Netherlands and Germany. Facility Management produced 4.3 percent of the companys sales. Products and Systems supplies technical cleaning products through subsidiary Alpheios, in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. This subsidiary generated nearly 5 percent of company sales in 2001. In terms of geographic breakdown, the Netherlands remains by far the companys core business area, at more than 55 percent of sales. France, Belgium, and Switzerland combine to add more than 30 percent of sales, while the United Kingdom (7.3 percent) and Germany (3.5 percent) are also important growth regions for the company. Vebego also has operations in Italy and Portugal. The company is owned and run by brothers Ton and Ronald Goedmakers, sons of founder Ton Goedmakers.

Cleaning Start in Wartime

Vebego had its start during World War II when Ton Goedmakers founded a cleaning company called Hago in Voerenlaan, in the Netherlands. Goedmakers at first concentrated on window-cleaning services. The company quickly signed on a number of high-profile customers, including Dutch State Mines (later DSM), and Dutch electronics giant Philips. Hagos work for Philips enabled the company to expand to include a wider range of cleaning services. Hagos relationship with Philips soon extended to contracts for cleaning Philips facilities throughout much of the Netherlands, enabling the company to establish itself on a national level.

Another early and important customer was the Diaconnessenhuis hospital in Eindhoven. This contract brought Hago into the healthcare cleaning services segment for the first time. Healthcare was to become one of Hagos most prominent markets, and the company later gained a position as the leading provider of cleaning services to the healthcare industry in the Netherlands. By then, Hago had more or less completed its national coverage, with five regional companies.

In the 1950s, Hagos growing operations brought it into contact with Swiss cleaning products and systems developer Wetrok AG. Hago became the exclusive importer of Wetrok products for the Netherlands. Initially, Hago reserved the Wetrok line for its own cleaning operations. In 1958, however, the company set up a new subsidiary, Alpheios, which began sales and distribution of Wetrok products and systems for other Netherlands-based contract cleaning companies. Alpheios developed a full range of technical cleaning products and systems, while Wetrok and its products continued to play an important role in the company. Meanwhile, Alpheios expanded internationally, opening subsidiaries in Belgium and France.

Alpheios represented a move into industrial cleaning products. In the 1960s, Hago became interested in extending its cleaning expertise into the consumer market as well. The company began importing bulk quantities of cleaning products and in 1968 formed a new subsidiary, Toron. At the beginning, that subsidiary merely repackaged its bulk imports into consumer-sized containers. In the 1970s, however, Toron began acquiring licenses for the manufacture of cleaning supplies for third-party brand names. In 1979, Toron branched out, forming the Dicom manufacturing partnership to produce bath soap and shampoos.

By then, Ton Goedmakers had been joined by son Ton Goedmakers, Jr. Together, the father-son team restructured the companys now diversified operations under a holding company, Vebego, a name adapted from the longer name Verenigde Bedrijven Goedmakers (Goedmakers United Businesses). Vebego then began to plot its national and international development.

Diversified Holding Company in the 1980s

At the end of the 1970s, Vebego made a number of expansion moves. In addition to creating the Dicom consumer cleaning products joint venture, Vebego gathered its window-cleaning operations under a new specialist subsidiary, Fortron. The company began to expand its Hago cleaning services businesses as well, opening a subsidiary in Germany. International growth remained a company target, and in 1979 the company, building on its relationship with Wetrok, extended its Cleaning and Facilities Services business into Switzerland.

In that year, the company made its first significant acquisition, that of Amberg Hospach AG. Founded in 1972, Amberg Hospach had chiefly developed business in the Zurich region. Under Vebego, the subsidiary extended its operations with a series of branch openings throughout much of German-speaking Switzerland, before entering the French-speaking region in the early 1990s.

Vebego continued building its Cleaning and Facilities Services division in the 1980s, notably with the acquisition of Westerveld Schoonhouders in 1990, based in Hilversum. That company, founded in 1945, was active in the western region of the Netherlands. The following year, the company acquired a stake in Stoffels Cleaning, based in Terneuzen. Founded in 1954, Stoffels added a new regional component to Vebegos Cleaning and Facilities Services operations with a focus on the Dutch southwest. By the end of the decade, Vebego had taken full control of Stoffels Cleaning. By then, the company had acquired another regional component, with a stake in Bleijenberg, based in Vlissingen.

The 1980s was also a time of strong international growth for Vebego. A series of partnerships brought it into a number of new foreign markets, beginning with Belgium and Spain, and then extending to France, through subsidiary Carrard Propreté; Italy, through Impresa Pulizia, based in Cuneo; and the United Kingdom, through Indigo Services UK, based in Romford, England. In 1989, the company strengthened its position in the Belgian market with the acquisition of Care NV. Established in 1974, Care was, like many of the Vebego companiesand like Vebego itselfa family-owned company. Vebegos respect for the family-oriented nature of many of its subsidiaries led the company to adopt, in 1987, a decentralized management structure, which allowed its subsidiaries to operate as more or less autonomous businesses, under the central guidance of the Vebego holding company.

Vebego had by then extended its operations into a new area, that of Personnel Services. In 1985 the company acquired a stake in temp agency Uitzendburo Walcheren, before taking full control of that business. Vebego quickly made a series of acquisitions, including that of Bis, based in Roosendaal; Interval, based in Weert; and Spring Time, based in Amsterdam. The company also launched its own business, in a partnership located in Zeeland, called Zuidgeest. By the end of the decade, however, Vebego united all of its temp agency businesses under a single banner, Tènce!

Family Commitment in the 21st Century

In the late 1980s, Vebego began preparing a move into a new service category, Facilities Management. By 1990, the company had finished development of this new arm, and launched subsidiary Prisma Facility Management, as a partnership. Soon after, Vebego decided to sell off its Consumer Products operations, a process begun in 1995. Vebego nonetheless maintained its Alpheios industrial cleaning products and systems subsidiary, which also served as a research and development facility for products and systems used by other Vebego subsidiaries.

The exit from consumer products allowed the company to focus on developing its remaining businesses. In 1996, the company acquired a 50 percent stake in two Belgian personnel services companies, Interwork and Locamet, which together formed a network of 11 offices in that country, and had been owned by venture capital firm Brant Beheer. Vebego renamed its new Belgian operations as Tènce! Interim; later that year, Vebego acquired full control of Tènce! Interim. At the same time, Vebego acquired full ownership of Prisma Facility Management. In 1998, the company began expanding that business into Belgium, then launched a second Prisma subsidiary in Germany.

Company Perspectives

The Vebego Mission to strengthen and build relationships with clients and partners by being an organization of people, for people. Vebego is committed to serving organizations and people in their working environments and at home, through providing quality services and care. Through quality services and care, Vebego supports the provision of a good and enjoyable working and living environment for both our clients and our employees.

Vebego grew steadily throughout the 1990s, starting the decade with sales of approximately EUR 275 million, and beginning the new century with revenues of more than EUR 500 million. Despite suggestions that the company might ultimately go public, Vebego steadfastly remained committed to its family-owned status. Meanwhile, the company launched a new division, called Greenfields, dedicated to exploring new and innovative business areas. One of the first of these was launched in the year 2000, with the founding of Vitz Consultants Vitaliseringsdiensten, a consulting service specialized in helping customers define and improve their in-house cleaning services operations. Then, in 2001, Vebego created another new subsidiary, Belfien, a company dedicated to providing a range of comfort and convenience services, including housecleaning, gardening, security and other services, to homeowners and residential properties. At nearly 60 years, Vebego had captured a leading share of the Netherlands cleaning and facilities services markets, a strong share in the personnel services market, and a growing presence on the European market.

Principal Subsidiaries

Alpheios International B.V.; Alpheios B.V.; Alpheios Belgium N.V.; Alpheios France S.A.S.; Amhoco AG Zug (Switzerland); Belfien B.V.(50%); Care N.V. Deurne (Belgium); Carrard S.A.S. Reims (France); CIP SRL Cuneo (Italy); Groupe Service Ouest S.A.S. (France); Hago Nederland B.V.; Hago Huiszorg B.V.; Hago Gebäude-Service GmbH & Co KG (Germany); Indigo Services Group B.V.; Indigo Airport Services Ltd. (U.K.); Indigo B.V.; Lactivité S.A.S. (France); PCL Ltd. Yately (UK) 51; Peters Cleaning B.V.; Prisma Facility Management B.V.; Prisma Facility Management N.V. (Belgium); Prisma Facility Management GmbH & Co KG (Germany); Prisma Facility Management S.A. (France); SBV Holding B.V. 50%); Schoonmaakbedrijf Fortron B.V.; Stoffels Cleaning B.V.; Tènce! Interim N.V. (Belgium); Tènce! Personeel & Projecten B.V.; Tènce! Uitzendbureau B.V.; Toron B.V.; Uitleenbedrijf De Pooter Axel B.V. (50%); Uitzendbureau Zuidgeest B.V. (50%); Vebego International B.V.; Vebego Management Consultancy B.V.; Vebego Products B.V.; Vebego Products N.V. (Netherlands Antilles); Vebego ServicesAmberg Hospach AG (Switzerland); Vebego Services B.V.; Vebego Services S.A.S. (France); Vebego Services GmbH (Germany); Vebego Services Serviços de Limpeza S.A. (Portugal); Vitz Consultants Vitaliseringsdiensten B.V.; Westerveld B.V.

Principal Divisions

Cleaning and Facilities Services; Facilities Management; Personnel Services; Products and Systems.

Principal Competitors

ISS-International Service System A/S; Facilicom Bedrijfsdiensten BV; CSU Total Care BV; Asito BV; Tennant NV; Euroclean SA; Iris SA; Etablissements Francis Laurenty SA; ELVIA Reiseversicherungs-Gesellschaft.

Key Dates

Ton Goedmakers establishes Hago as a window-cleaning service.
Alpheios, a cleaning products and systems distribution subsidiary, is formed.
Toron consumer products subsidiary is formed.
Firm changes structure to that of holding company under the name Vebego.
Vebego enters Switzerland with acquisition of cleaning services company Amberg Hospach.
Vebego begins acquiring personnel services companies and launches new subsidiary Tènce! Uitzendburo; acquires Westerveld Schoonhouders.
Company acquires Stoffels Cleaning.
Company adopts decentralized management structure.
Vebego launches Prisma Facility Management subsidiary.
Company sells off Consumer Products division.
Company acquires two Belgian personnel services companies and forms Tence! Interim subsidiary for Belgium.
Prisma extends operations into Belgium and opens subsidiary in Germany.
Vebego launches Vitz Consultants Vitaliseringsdiensten subsidiary as part of new Greenfields division.
Belfien, another Greenfields project, is established to offer cleaning and other services to households and residential properties.

Further Reading

Nederland voor meeste bedrijven niet groot genoeg, Het Financieele Dagblad, December 3, 2001.

Omnink, Gert, De inhaalrace van de schoonmakers, Rotterdams Dagblad, 1997.

Schoonmaken op de serieuze kaart zeten, De Ondernemer, December 2000.

M. L. Cohen