Seed World

Kébol Acquires Witteman & Co., a part of Ball


Kébol B.V. has purchased the assets and activities of Witteman & Co. B.V., a 150-year-old Dutch company that sources and distributes bare root perennial products and conducts business as Darwin Plants — owned by Ball Horticultural Company.

The acquired assets include the Darwin Plants portfolio of bare root propagated perennial varieties sold in markets around the world, as well as its related mail-order and liner distribution business. The transaction does not include business activities or the vegetative perennial assortment of U.S.-based Darwin Perennials, which remains under the helm of Ball.

“Our 2007 acquisition of Darwin Plants based out of Hillegom, the Netherlands, helped put Ball Horticultural Company on the map, as far as perennials are concerned,” says Mike Klopmeyer, general manager of Darwin Perennials, a division of Ball Horticultural Company. “Kébol’s acquisition will allow both parties to leverage their strengths: Kébol gets an additional assortment allowing it to utilize its warehousing and distribution facilities year-round, while Ball Horticultural Company continues to have access to Darwin Plants’ important perennial bare root supply chain.”

Kébol intends for Darwin Plants to become part of Kébol’s overall activities, being brought to market under the name Darwin Plants by Kébol. After transition, all of Darwin Plants’ previous activities will move to Kébol’s location in Rijsenhout, The Netherlands. The sale is scheduled to close by the end of June 2017.

“Darwin Plants’ bare root offering, long-standing relationships and worldwide network of customers make it a great complement to our existing strength in sourcing, sales, distribution and warehousing,” says Jos van der Drift, director of Kébol. “The natural seasonality of the Darwin Plants assortment perfectly offsets the natural seasonality we’re seeing in our amaryllis, tulips and other bulb products.”

Fred Meiland, general manager of Darwin Plants, who will join Kébol and remains Darwin Plants’ general manager after the transaction is complete, adds: “This agreement is the best of all worlds for the future of Darwin Plants’ product lines. Kébol’s state-of-the-art warehousing facilities and product offering, with an offsetting shipping season, means working more efficiently, without sacrificing product quality or the integrity of the supply chain.”