At the end of 2016, Erwin Van Tendeloo and the Laroy Group reached an agreement with the administrator regarding the purchase of stock and trade fund from the bankrupt Karlie Flamingo Belgium. A new company was then established. The management of Flamingo Pet Products is now in the hands of Guy Toremans and Erwin van Tenderloo. An interview with Guy Toremans, the new CEO of Flamingo Pet Products.
“If there would not have been a solution for Karlie Flamingo Belgium, the turnover would have been divided between various domestic and foreign companies,” says Guy Toremans. “Only part of it would have gone to the Laroy Group. That would have allowed our competitors to get a faster toe-hold in the Belgian market, and that we wanted to avoid. So we had to take action. In spite of Karlie Flamingo’s bad delivery record before the bankruptcy, most of its customers had remained loyal. Even after the bankruptcy, the majority of customers were expecting a solution. Only some of them left for another supplier.”
Purchasing the stock and setting up Flamingo Pet Products was not only a tactical decision by the Laroy Group. “It fits perfectly with our ambitious growth plans in order to play a major role in the international pet industry. Flamingo is going to help us with that. What’s more, the company does not just have a great customer base but also a strong team with lots of experience.” Flamingo Pet Products is a separate company within the Laroy Group. “We opted for this corporate structure because we believe in the Flamingo brand. After all, the brand has a good reputation in the pet industry.”
Toremans has no intention of moving the company’s location. “Flamingo Pet Products will continue to be run from Geel in Belgium. There’s no point in moving it. We believe in the added value of Flamingo as standalone company with its experienced, motivated personnel. Viewed from that angle, it was also important for the Laroy Group to have the former owner Erwin Van Tendeloo on board.”
Close relationship with suppliers
With Van Tendeloo as Managing Director, the Laroy Group wants to restore Flamingo to its former glory. “When Erwin Van Tendeloo sold his company to the German Karlie Group six years ago, it was one of the top European companies,” Toremans continues. “Flamingo had a full private label range and several strong brands in addition.
The company was known for its innovation and its excellent service to its customers. Van Tendeloo had also built up a close relationship with the suppliers. We guarantee that we want to bring back these standards in the new company.”
According to Toremans, almost nothing will change for the customers. “Customers can go to their trusted contact person to purchase pretty well the same range as before. We’re gradually switching over to the Flamingo brand and we want to get back to a 96 per cent delivery level as quickly as possible. We’re also starting to launch new products.”
Yet before Flamingo Pet Products can operate at full strength, some improvements will have to be carried out in the short term. “First of all, we’ll have to bring structure to the organisation and bring stock up to level,” says Guy Toremans. “Of course, we’ll have to re-establish the trust of our customers and suppliers. We expect to be back up to speed around the summer.”
Although the long-term vision has yet to be defined, Guy Toremans already has ideas about it. “We want Flamingo to return to being a European top player in the long term, with a carefully selected private label range, plus innovative, creative premium products. Besides that, the service level should be once again irreproachable and customers should never be just a number.”
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