Roel Nizet: ‘Fullwood Packo too big for napkin, too small for tablecloth’

Fullwood Packo is in a tight spot. The newly appointed interim and crisis manager Roel Nizet, who was director of that company from 2016 to 2018, is now tasked with managing the restructuring and sales of the manufacturer.

Fullwood Packo makes milking installations and robots in England and has a department for milk cooling tanks in Belgium. With roots in British Ellesmere-Shropshire, the company has now been active in the Netherlands for 75 years and has been in existence for almost 240 years.

It must be known by June 1 what will happen to the Fullwood Packo

Roel Nizet, interim and crisis manager Fullwood Packo

The Dutch owner Pindustry in Vleuten, Utrecht, founded in 2014 by Andries Verder, Tjalko Reedijk and Steef Klop, bought the manufacturer in 2015. Now Fullwood Packo is up for sale again.

Is Fullwood Packo Bankruptcy?

‘No, definitely not. We are in a challenging situation. There have been significant losses, especially last year. Pindustry, the investment company from Vleuten, has since 2015 invested a lot of money in the originally British company. They have now stopped doing that. Pindustry is otherwise a sound investment company, but it also makes its own choices.

What will happen to the company?

‘We are investigating where we stand and what is possible. We want to restructure the group as a whole and its various parts. In fact, a French sales company that has never made a profit is the only one in a liquidation phase. We have a solid order book for the milking robots at the English factory, but there will also be layoffs.

‘We are now investigating whether we can sell the Fullwood Packo Group in whole or in parts. This includes the Belgian refrigeration technology division in Zedelgem in West Flanders. I can not say which parties we are talking to, but a management buy-out for parts of the company is also an option. ‘

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Fullwood Packo has a turbulent history. The former Packo & Fullwood in Zedelgem went bankrupt in 2004 under the then shareholders Punch International and British FW Holding. The parent company Packo Agri divested the milking machine department, and the Dutch dealers had to abruptly take over the import, and spare parts supplied themselves with the company Mewitec set up for the purpose in Soest in Utrecht. Since Pindustry’s takeover in 2015, a lot has been invested in the company. There were new products and updates for the Merlin robots, outdoor milkers and the first batch milking system. Individual parts of the organization, such as the importer Mewitec, were incorporated. But the collaboration with Afimilk automation also gave a positive impetus.

Why is this restructuring necessary?

‘Fullwood Packo is ultimately too big for the napkin and too small for the tablecloth. Large capital costs are required for product development and engineering. For example, you have to make one thousand to two thousand robots a year, but 350 robots are sold. Then the budget does not close.

“It just needs to have some scale increase so we are looking for acquisition candidates who can offer it. Of course, a development like the corona with supply problems and the war between Russia and Ukraine does not help either. But that is not the main reason for this restructuring. ‘

When will there be clarity on what should happen to the company?

‘We have made an effort to have clarity before the summer. So it must be known internally by June 1 what happens to the Fullwood Packo. ‘

What does this situation mean for the farmers now running a Fullwood Packo installation?

‘Meanwhile, all parts continue to run unchanged. Fullwood Packo customers do not have to worry about current affairs at all. Sales, delivery of spare parts, service and warranty conditions will continue as normal. ‘

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