Eurofins completes trio of acquisitions in Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland

13 March 2018

Eurofins, one of the globe’s largest players in food, environment and pharmaceutical products testing, has continued its M&A drive with the announcement of a trio of European deals. Clinical biology specialist Labo Van Poucke was picked up in Belgium, medical testing business NMDL-LCPL was acquired in the Netherlands, and environmental testing firm City Analysts was added in Ireland – all three deals closed in the first two months of the year. 

Belgium: Labo Van Poucke

Founded in 1969, family-owned business Labo Van Poucke specialises in performing medical analyses requested by general practitioners and specialists. The company, based in the city of Kortrijk, offers testing for hematology, serology, chemistry, immunology, microbiology and molecular biology. In addition, Labo Van Poucke also offers analysis of drinking water as well as veterinary analysis.

Labo Van Poucke has been accredited by the Belgian Accreditation Body (BELAC) since 1997, and operates in compliance with the ISO 15189 standard for medical laboratories. The company is licensed by the Belgian Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP) for clinical pathology testing and is also licensed by the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) for isotopic tests. 

With the purchase, which adds 34 staff and revenues close to €5 million to its European footprint, Eurofins has bought its way into the clinical testing market in Belgium, adding to its strong footprint in the specialty clinical diagnostics testing market across the continent. 

Netherlands: NMDL-LCPL

In neighbouring Benelux country the Netherlands, Eurofins acquired NMDL-LCPL, a specialised medical testing business providing molecular diagnostics and pathology laboratory services. NMDL-LCPL is comprised of two business units: the Nederlands Moleculair Diagnostisch Laboratorium (‘NMDL’) and the Leids Cytologisch Pathologisch Laboratorium (‘LCPL’).

Eurofins completes trio of acquisitions in Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland

NMDL-LCPL has a particular strong presence in the South Western part of the Netherlands, serving over 2,000 general practitioners as well as hospitals, independent treatment centres and other laboratories. NMDL offers molecular diagnostics services, including molecular virology and bacteriology testing, while LCPL is the largest pathology laboratory for general practitioners in the Netherlands and offers advanced pathology services, including cervical cytology and molecular biological tests.

One of the major projects NMDL-LCPL is working on currently is the bevolkingsonderzoek (BVO) for the Dutch national cervical cancer screening programme. Under this programme, NMDL routinely performs high-volume molecular diagnostic HPV testing, with a portion of the samples requiring follow-up pathology screening to be performed by LCPL. 

“NMDL-LCPL’s comprehensive service offering helps its clients to provide effective and quick diagnosis for their patients, playing a crucial role in the early detection of pathological and microbiological disorders,” said Gilles Martin, Eurofins’ CEO. “We are extremely pleased with the deal, it provides us with a valuable entry into the Dutch clinical diagnostics market.” 

The acquired company will work closely together with Labo Van Poucke, with the two serving as a “first entry platform for further growth into the clinical diagnostics market in the Benelux,” said Martin.

Ireland: City Analysts

Meanwhile in Ireland, Eurofins has propelled itself into a market leading position in the environment testing services segment with the bolt-on of City Analysts, less than six months after it acquired Environmental Laboratory Services (‘ELS’). “The City Analysts team is an excellent addition to the Eurofins family – they share our commitment to quality, customer focus, team spirit and integrity,” remarked Martin. 

City Analysts is a centre of excellence for accredited cryptosporidium analysis and toxicity testing and is according to Martin “unique in providing mobile laboratory services” throughout Ireland. The company further has expertise in niche areas of water testing, including aquatic microbiology, toxicology and parasitology. As one of the few laboratories in Europe with accreditation for aquatic toxicity testing, City Analysts has strong links with the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland. 

The deal sees a specialist testing facility in Dublin and 37 professionals transfer to Eurofins’ existing workforce in Ireland, as well as a distribution and collection network, covering all of Ireland. Eurofins itself recently significantly expanded its laboratories and facilities in Dungarvan, allowing the group to double the volume of samples tested annually at this site. Martin: “the developments exemplify our commitment to Ireland and reinforces Eurofins’ environment testing portfolio.” 

Globally, Eurofins is on a M&A-rampage. Over the past twelve months the company has closed about 60 acquisitions, for a total investment of around €1.5 billion.

Firms struggling with turning M&A deals into equity value

18 April 2019

At a time when merger & acquisition activity is on a high, new research highlights that a majority of deals closed aren’t in fact contributing to equity improvements. 

To come to their conclusion, researchers at Willis Towers Watson and Cass Business School analysed the performance of all deals closed in the first quarter of this year with a deal value of above $100 million. For all those deals, 180 in total, the share price of the acquirer was tracked, and benchmarked against an index (MSCI World Index) which monitors equity performance across 20+ developed countries. 

The analysis found that across all regions globally, deals on average had a negative result on the equity value of the acquiring party. Buyers in North America and Asia-Pacific in particular struggled with value creation from their acquisitions. In the US and Canada, companies that were involved in a takeover or merger had a negative performance of 10.1 percentage points compared to the North American index. Asia Pacific buyers lagged 5.0 percentage points behind their regional index. 

Globally, the average stood at 5.4 percentage points behind the index. “The international M&A market as a whole is showing disappointing results, on the back of a volatile transaction climate and global political uncertainty, from trade wars to increasing protectionism,” said Gabe Langerak, a Dutchman who leads Willis Towers Watson’s Mergers & Acquisitions practice for Western Europe.Firms struggling with turning M&A deals into equity valueEurope however bucks the trend and is the only region where large mergers & acquisitions in the first quarter of 2019 had a positive impact on the stock prices (2.8%). Langerak: “The relatively stable – or less unstable – political and economic situation seems to turn out beneficial, and as a result European companies have outperformed their international peers.” It is not just a short term catch – the continent has been performing better for years, with the three-year average at 5.1% above the index. 

Striking, according to the researchers, is that international deals are outperforming national deals. For example, cross-border transactions score 0.9% higher than the index, while cross-regional deals even surpass the index by 3.1%. 

While the ‘financial’ performance of M&A deals is by no means impressive, there are however little signs of deal activity to slow in 2019. “Growing cash reserves, technological disruption and the stagnating growth of emerging markets are still pushing companies towards the M&A market,” explained Langerak. A recent report by Bain & Company found that global merger and acquisition activity spiked last year, growing from $2.9 trillion in 2017 to $3.4 trillion in 2018

The role of private equity, which accounts for a large share of deal activity, is another force lifting M&A activity. Investors are cash rich, and face pressures to spend the money in order to help their backers (mostly institutional investors and family offices) reap better than market average returns. According to one estimate, private equity now sits on $1.7 trillion of funds that is available but can’t be invested (‘dry powder’), with investors struggling with higher multiple and a limited supply of top, well priced targets. “As potential candidates now seem more expensive than during previous M&A peaks, such as in 1999 and 2008, it is more difficult than ever to close successful deals.” 

Langerak concludes with a tip for deal makers; “For M&A experts that want to make a move, it is key to focus on selecting the right acquisition candidates. Proper preparation, integration and the right people are essential to gain the right insights before taking a leap.”