On 24 May, we will know who will be succeeding Karim Hajjar, CFO of Solvay, as the 12th CFO of the Year. The jury also selected 5 deals with a chance to win Deal of the Year. New award: the CF'Hope of the Year.
CFO of the Year
With the CFO of the Year award, Trends and BNP Paribas Fortis highlight the achievements of a Belgian chief financial officer for the twelfth time. The jury pays particular attention to the CFO’s professional knowledge and communication and leadership skills, as well as the contribution they make to the strategic management of the company.
The candidates for the title of ‘Trends CFO of the Year 2023’ are:
- Alessandro Mazzocchetti, CFO Odoo
- Mel de Vogue, CFO ETEX
- Frédéric Deslypere, CFO Sibelco
- Nadine Aerts, CFO SD Worx
- Ann Desender, CFO Barco
Deal of the Year
The Deal of the Year rewards a particular transaction (merger or acquisition, capital increase ...) by which a Belgian company has particularly distinguished itself in the course of 2022. The jury will draw up a list of five deals from which a winner will be chosen. The most important criterion is the financial and strategic added value that the operation created for the stakeholders. The award is being presented for the fourth time.
The nominees for the 'Trends Deal of the Year 2023' are:
CF’Hope of the Year
With this new award, Trends and BNP Paribas Fortis highlight a young CFO of a promising medium-sized company that is experiencing significant growth. The jury's preference is for a CFO working in a private company controlled by Belgian capital. Key criteria include financial and management experience, strategic vision, communication skills and adaptability.
The candidates for the 'CF'Hope of the Year 2023' are:
- Karolien Vlassenroot, CFO Caminogroup/Durabrik
- Cecile Cornez, CFO Tilman
- Elke Toye, CFO Vyncke
The winners will be announced in Brussels Expo on 24 May. Virginie Martens, Head of Corporate Coverage Belgium at BNP Paribas Fortis, is a member of the jury.
We wish all candidates the best of luck! Rewarding and encouraging people and businesses that contribute to our economy, another example of Positive Banking.
Mel de Vogue of Etex is the ‘Trends CFO of the Year 2023’
Mel de Vogue, CFO of the Etex building materials group, accepted the award at Brussels Expo on 24 May, succeeding Karim Hajjar of Solvay. Mel de Vogue joined Etex as CFO in 2015 and was instrumental in laying the foundation of the new strategy adopted by the company a few years ago.
copyright Leyla Hesna
Focus on sustainability
"The then CEO, Paul Van Oyen, understood very early on that sustainability had to be at the heart of the strategy and that this had to translate into divesting some activities and adding others," says de Vogue. Etex sold a number of businesses and eliminated EUR 1 billion in debt. This strong financial position allowed the company to make a major acquisition last year. Etex put EUR 1 billion on the table to acquire Spanish insulation specialist URSA. The finance department, which employs almost 600 people, played a central role in these operations.
At the same time, de Vogue worked to internationalise and feminise his department. Of the twelve directors, there are now five foreigners and three women.
De Vogue won out over four other strong candidates: Alessandro Mazzocchetti (Odoo), Frédéric Deslypere (Sibelco), Nadine Aerts (SD Worx) and Ann Desender (Barco).
WDP wins the 'Deal of the Year 2023'
For the fourth time Trends also awarded a 'Deal of the Year' award. All mergers, acquisitions and capital operations involving a Belgian company in 2022 were eligible. The most important criterion is the financial and strategic added value that the operation created for the stakeholders.
There were five deals in the running, and the one from WDP emerged as the winner. Last year, the real estate company raised EUR 300 million of fresh money – in difficult market conditions. As a result, WDP can finance its future projects without causing its debt ratio to rise sharply.
Elke Toye of Vyncke is 'CF'Hope of the Year 2023'
With this brand-new award, Trends highlights a young CFO of a promising medium-sized company that is experiencing significant growth. Elke Toye, CFO of the West Flemish family company Vyncke, was the lucky winner.
Vyncke designs industrial incineration plants that convert residual streams into green energy. These are large projects involving large sums of money and long lead times. Financial risk management is therefore Elke Toye’s most important task. In her finance department, the CFO prefers to focus on one major project per year. 2023 is dedicated to preparing reporting on ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) sustainability criteria.
Since 2012, BNP Paribas Fortis and Trends have been putting the spotlight on the exceptional qualities of a CFO of a top 500 company in Belgium. Later, the crowning of the 'Deal of the Year' was added, and since this year a 'CF'Hope of the Year' has also been chosen. Virginie Martens, Head of Corporate Coverage Belgium at our bank, was a member of the jury.
Congratulations to the winners and to all the other candidates! Because rewarding and encouraging contributors to our economy is also Positive Banking.
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity supports AstriVax with start-up capital
With EUR 30 million in raised start-up capital, the Leuven biotech company AstriVax can further develop its vaccines. This is the largest amount of start-up money ever raised by a KU Leuven spin-off. BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity is one of the investors in this innovative Belgian company, which can now shift up a gear.
Tackling challenges in vaccinology
AstriVax focuses on the development of innovative vaccines, both preventive and therapeutic. With the start-up capital raised, the company will clinically develop its first thermostable yellow fever vaccine and further develop its candidate vaccines against rabies and chronic hepatitis B.
The company is building a highly innovative plug-and-play vaccine platform for this, based on the ground-breaking work done by co-founders Professor Johan Neyts and Doctor Kai Dallmeier from the KU Leuven Rega Institute. In this way, AstriVax seeks to design and produce vaccines faster and more cost-efficiently. The aim is to combine long-term protection with thermostable production, which requires no cooling. This makes it easy for vaccines to reach patients, even those in tropical and subtropical areas.
Ground-breaking scientific work with social relevance
In addition to BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity, PMV, Thuja Capital, Ackermans & van Haaren, OMX and the KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund are all participating in this financing round, led by V-Bio Ventures and Fund+.
"The Rega team has done fantastic scientific work in recent years, which they can now turn into valuable medical products. Investing in innovative companies with a strong social vision and promising potential, is perfectly in line with our Private Equity strategy", says Raf Moons, Head of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity.
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity invests in Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions
BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity takes stake in Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions. The Lier-based company is a one-stop-shop for all piping solutions.
Van de Velde’s strength is that they offer an all-in-one solution: maintenance, inspection, advice, cleaning, renovation and repair of all kinds of pipes, tubes, storage tanks and sewers. Thanks to their solution-oriented approach, good service, and the use of modern techniques and materials, they have become a leading and forward-thinking player in their niche.
The company has boosted its investments in new technologies and digitalisation, offering robot cleaning and using drones for inspections, among others. The experienced management team focuses on projects with high added value that require specific expertise and technologically advanced material. Thanks to this forward-looking vision, Van De Velde dares to think out-of-the-box and is able to apply its know-how and solutions across the board for many applications in various industries.
"Van de Velde Inspections is an innovative company with a lot of growth potential and a strong management team with an excellent vision. This investment shows that we are not just focussed on large corporates", says Raf Moons, Head of BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity. "Private Equity is increasingly investing in SMEs. Companies such as Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions are an essential part of our Belgian economic fabric, and we are happy to support them."
Umicore signs €500 million sustainable-linked loan
The interest that Umicore will pay on this loan, of which BNP Paribas Fortis coordinates the sustainability aspect, varies depending on the company’s compliance with environmental and governance criteria.
Umicore, a global player in materials technology and recycling, has decided to link the cost of its revolving credit line to the achievement of carbon neutrality and gender diversity objectives. Its performance, which will be measured against specific criteria, will determine the interest margin applicable. The loan is granted for a basic term of five years by a pool of 13 banks. BNP Paribas Fortis acted as ‘Sustainability Coordinator’.
Umicore has chosen to link its interest margin to two major targets:
- the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by 20% in 2025 and 50% in 2030 respectively;
- to have 35% women in a management role by 2030, and to achieve gender parity as soon as possible.
The SLL: a major breakthrough in sustainable finance
When a company takes out a 'Sustainable Linked Loan' (SLL), the amount of interest it pays depends on specific indicators linked to environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) objectives. These indicators are jointly defined by the borrower and the lender. In doing so, the borrower demonstrates the seriousness of its ESG ambitions.
Working with our clients towards a sustainable future
"The finance market has rarely been this interesting for any company currently seeking to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals", Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking & Member of the Executive Board of BNP Paribas Fortis, emphasises. “I am proud that Umicore has chosen BNP Paribas Fortis to set up its first Sustainability Linked Loan to support its ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality and gender diversity. This Sustainability Linked Loan is a clear example of how we and the syndicated banks we represent, intend to serve our clients for a more sustainable future."
- Who will be the new Trends CFO of the Year?
- Mel de Vogue of Etex is the ‘Trends CFO of the Year 2023’
- BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity supports AstriVax with start-up capital
- BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity invests in Van de Velde Pipe Inspections & Solutions
- Umicore signs €500 million sustainable-linked loan
- See all news