Pajottenlander: how to take over a family-run organic farm?
Camille Depuydt, former head of Coolblue Belgium, took over organic fruit and vegetable juice producer Pajottenlander last year. To make the takeover financially possible, the new owner called on a subordinated loan from PMV to supplement a loan from a bank.
Pajottenlander was founded in 1987 as a family business, rooted in a passion for ecology and organic farming. Around an orchard in Pajottenland, the company started growing organic fruit and processed the harvest surpluses into fruit juices. It gradually expanded its range to as many as 35 different fruit and vegetable juices and oat drinks. Quality, a minimal ecological footprint through a short chain and fair trade are central to its approach, as are fair and sustainable relationships with all partners.
Everything comes together
Camille Depuydt took over the company last year. She gave up her position as head of Coolblue Belgium to enthusiastically step into entrepreneurship. “I feel like getting my hands dirty myself. Pajottenlander may be a smaller company, but with a bigger personal challenge. Everything falls together there: my passion for healthy and organic food, a strong brand with local anchoring and the opportunity to further develop a business,” the entrepreneur said at the time of the takeover. In the coming years, she plans to strengthen local production, strengthen the market position and upgrade residual streams.
To realise her dream, Depuydt, who had insufficient own funds to fully finance the acquisition herself, used a Cofinancing+. “I went over all avenues: from bank financing over crowdfunding and lending to attracting private investors or venture capital. In the end, we opted for a Cofinancing+ to complement a loan from a bank. That was cheaper than some of the other alternatives. Moreover, we retain full ownership thanks to that formula and do not have to constantly account for the choices we make,” Depuydt said.