Belgian pet chain Tom & Co has found an investor to support its ambition to become a leader in the European market through acquisitions. Verlinvest, an investment fund related to AB InBev, climbs on board.
The press release does not mention the related amount or the exact share Verlinvest, the holding company of the de Spoelberch family, has acquired. According to Belgian business newspaper De Tijd, however, the fund has acquired about half of the shares. With the capital, the retailer wants to accelerate its growth to become a major player in Europe.
Tom & Co has recorded record results over the past two years: turnover grew by 15 % in 2020 and by 10 % in 2021, to 264 million euros. The retailer now has 180 stores: 129 in Belgium, 2 in Luxembourg and 49 in France. E-commerce is also a growth area. It is a fast grower in a booming sector, as during the Covid lockdowns, more people bought a pet and spent more money on it too.
With its newly found capital, the chain of pet shops wants to continue its momentum and expand into the rest of Europe. Last autumn, owners Thierry Le Grelle, Lionel Desclée and Philippe Dechamps went looking for an investor to help finance this growth. They have now found it in Verlinvest.
This investment fund was set up in 1995 by the de Spoelberch family, who are also shareholders in AB InBev. The holding company invests mainly in growth companies in FMCG and health, including brands such as Oatly, Vita Coco, Tony’s Chocolonely, Vitaminwater and Remy Cointreau.
“Verlinvest shares our long-term vision and is an expert in building strong brands”, Thierry le Grelle explained. “With the support of this new shareholder, we will be able to actively participate in the consolidation of the sector through acquisitions and thus achieve our ambition to become a leader in the European market.”