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26 Oct 2016

Rijk Zwaan continues to grow autonomously

Rijk Zwaan Zaadteelt en Zaadhandel (Rijk Zwaan) generated 388 million euros in net sales in the 2015/2016 financial year, representing a 14% increase on the previous financial year. Rijk Zwaan continues to pursue a strategy of autonomous growth. This enables the family-owned company from the Dutch town of De Lier to compete with listed multinationals while also offering its employees an enjoyable and long-term job.

Growing need

Virtually all crops and almost all countries in which Rijk Zwaan is active contributed to the company growth. The turnover increase is partly due to the growing global need for high-quality vegetable seeds. Rijk Zwaan develops varieties for 25 different vegetable crops and sells the seeds produced from them in more than 100 countries. In the past financial year, a new subsidiary was established in Greece: Rijk Zwaan Hellas.

Research and development

The operating profit for the 2015/2016 financial year was 85 million euros and the net profit amounted to 72 million euros. Over the past year, the company has invested approximately 120 million euros in research and development, which is equivalent to around 30% of revenue. A significant part of this was spent in the Netherlands.

The major investments in research and development have been partly funded by research and development grants and tax credits from the Netherlands, France and Spain and are focused on enabling faster development of improved vegetable varieties. Among other things, Rijk Zwaan is working on increasing production, improving resistances against diseases and pests, good processability and even better flavour. The company does not market any varieties that are the result of genetic modification.

129 new employees

Rijk Zwaan’s primary objective is to offer its employees an enjoyable and long-term job. After a thorough selection procedure, the company offers all employees a permanent contract right from the start. In the 2015/2016 financial year, 129 new employees (FTE) were recruited, of which 58 are based in the Netherlands. Over the next five years Rijk Zwaan expects to take on approximately 1,500 new employees, around 500 of which will be based in the Netherlands.

Rijk Zwaan expects the demand for high-quality vegetable seeds to continue to rise, partly as a result of world population growth. In order to capitalise on this and to further strengthen its market position, Rijk Zwaan will continue to invest heavily in the years ahead. In the current financial year, the investments will be focused primarily on laboratories, offices, greenhouses and machinery. Over the next five years the company plans to invest 250 million euros, of which approximately 150 million will be spent in the Netherlands.

Expansion in De Lier en Fijnaart

On 17 October the first stake was driven into the ground for the new Seed Quality Center in De Lier. New research and testing facilities will ensure that the company can continue to meet the market’s phytosanitary and quality requirements in the future. Work is also soon due to start on extending the R&D facility in Fijnaart where, over the next two years, the laboratories, greenhouses and offices will be expanded so that improved vegetable varieties can be launched even more quickly and efficiently.