History and ownership structure
ForFarmers has developed from a local compound feed cooperative in the East of the Netherlands into the market leader in the European feed industry. The rich history of the company goes back to 1896, the year when one of the legal predecessors of ForFarmers was incorporated. In the decades that followed, the company expanded through like-for-like growth, mergers, and takeovers. In 2000, the cooperatives ABC and CTA in the Eastern part of the Netherlands resolved to merge. The key activity of these cooperatives was the purchase of raw materials and the production of feed for the affiliated members. The cooperative that resulted from this merger was ABCTA. In 2005, the Cooperative ABCTA resolved to continue under the name ForFarmers in order to realise its international growth ambitions.
Division of company and cooperative
In order to grow internationally, the company and the cooperative were separated in 2007. Henceforth, the cooperative has used the name FromFarmers. The ownership of the equity (82.5%) of the cooperative is registered in the name of the members over a period of ten years. In this way the members became individual fellow owners of ForFarmers and this avoids the equity of existing members diluting.
In Germany, in line with its international growth ambition, ForFarmers took over the Bela Group in 2006 and the BM company in 2007. The company thus acquired its first production locations in Germany and enhanced its position in the German market. The acquisitions of Hendrix (active in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium) and BOCM PAULS (active in the United Kingdom) in 2012 provided for further growth. Both Hendrix and BOCM PAULS were respected companies with a history in the feed industry of no less than a hundred years. ForFarmers thus acquired a leading position in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the same year the interest in Cefetra (57.4%), a trading house in compound feed raw materials, was sold. After 2012, a number of (smaller) acquisitions followed, including HST Feeds Ltd (2014), Wheyfeed Holdings Ltd. (2014) and the agricultural activities of Countrywide Farmers (2015), all in the United Kingdom.
To underline the unity within the organisation and the homogeneity of approach and method the organisation has opted for the name “ForFarmers” as one powerful trade name for the whole organisation. This strengthens the position of the company in the international market and provides for a more uniform branding and appearance. The organisation does however continue to sell other brands for specialist activities. Horse feed activities take place under the brand name Pavo, in the organic market in the Netherlands ForFarmers uses the brand Reudink, and in the chick breeding market the name PoultryPlus.
Up to 2006, approximately 80-85% of ForFarmers’ customers were also members of the Cooperative. ForFarmers now has more than 25,000 customers. The Cooperative has approximately 4,000 active members who are also ForFarmers customers.
As at 31 December 2015 the Cooperative FromFarmers holds 61.0% of the control in ForFarmers B.V.; 25.4% of which is held in direct possession by the Cooperative and 35.6% by members with participation accounts. Together with the depositary receipts of the members, the control as from that date amounts to 68.2%. The remaining 31.8% is held by third parties.