What working at Oaklins is like

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What do our own employees say about Oaklins? Our partner Frank de Hek joined Oaklins Netherlands in 2007 and became partner in 2016. Frank currently leads Oaklins’ horticulture and private equity teams. We asked him a couple of questions about life at Oaklins.

Why do you work for Oaklins?

I joined Oaklins just before the financial crisis in 2007, and have witnessed many interesting economic developments in the 15 years that I’ve been here now, with the COVID-19 pandemic and energy crisis only being the latest challenge. When I joined the company, we were with just 13 people, but over the years, we have grown to a team of more than 40 ambitious professionals.

For me, this was my first job after graduating, but I’m not the only one that has been here for a long time. We have a very limited employee turnover, which really speaks for our company culture. I really appreciate the diversity of the work, the atmosphere at the office and the nature of the job, being able to work with passionate and ambitious entrepreneurs as clients. We can make an important impact on deals which is very rewarding. Lastly, we also enjoy a good work/life balance for investment banking standards.

What do you do at Oaklins?

I specialize in horticulture transactions, which came naturally after several deals in the sector together with an optimistic outlook on expected deal flow in the respective niche. We have expanded our efforts in this space throughout the years and I am currently global head of the Oaklins Horticulture team, meaning that if we do a deal in that space with one of our 70 offices worldwide, I am involved. The Dutch-based horticulture team now even does more deals abroad than in the Netherlands.

An example is the sale of a Dutch flower breeder, For Ever, to private equity firm Synergia, which we closed in 2020. It was a big challenge to close the deal as COVID-19 hit the global economy while we were in the middle of the sale process, resulting in an uncertain financial outlook of the company. Although this could negatively impact the possibilities of acquisition finance and potential buyers could become insecure, we were nevertheless able to close the deal with some creativity and problem solving from our side.

Another deal I did recently is the sale of Simadan to Parcom Capital and Swire Group. Simadan was a large Dutch conglomerate owned by a Dutch entrepreneur, active in biodiesel production, waste collection and ingredients distribution. The company’s span of activities, together with a range of different views from different stakeholders in the process, provided us with some challenges but after a long preparation phase, we were able to successfully sell the company in several parts.

What does a typical week at Oaklins look like for you?

Every week is different, and every day is different. In M&A, lots of unexpected things happen continuously. Generally speaking, my work consists of bringing in new mandates, brainstorming on process strategy and what propositions should look like, negotiations and much more.

What are you most proud of regarding the company?

Throughout the years, we have built a very strong position in the Dutch market and we are still continuously working to expand and improve on that position. I am convinced that those steps will boost our market position and growth in the coming years, making Oaklins and our team even more successful.

We’re hiring! To find more information about our work and our current job opportunities, please visit https://www.oaklins.com/nl/nl/

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