‘If you don’t have a piggy bank, you risk bankruptcy’ – Trends magazines on PC

‘If you don’t have a piggy bank, you risk bankruptcy’ – Trends magazines on PC
‘If you don’t have a piggy bank, you risk bankruptcy’ – Trends magazines on PC

Vondelmolen is in very good health, but it is not yet clear whether the company will also make a profit in 2022. In one year, costs have increased by 30 percent.

The freshly baked gingerbread, which is stacked in large trays, gives off a pungent smell. During the tour, Jan Borms, the managing director of Vondelmolen in Lebbeke, constantly emphasizes his company’s investments in more energy-efficient production. He puts his hand on the outside wall of the 35 meter long baking oven. “Can you feel it? It hardly gives off any heat.” For example, there are three brand new ovens in the production area, each costing 1 million euros.

The freshly baked gingerbread, which is stacked in large trays, gives off a pungent smell. During the tour, Jan Borms, the managing director of Vondelmolen in Lebbeke, constantly emphasizes his company’s investments in more energy-efficient production. He puts his hand on the outside wall of the 35 meter long baking oven. “Can you feel it? It hardly gives off any heat.” For example, there are three brand new ovens in the production area, each costing 1 million euros. “They use a fifth less energy than the previous ovens,” says Borms. “But we do bake with gas. Nobody in the industrial bakery world works completely without gas ovens. In theory we could place a windmill, but then we would have to use much more energy for the same result. Getting a permit for a windmill is also not obvious. It takes an average of eight years, according to our consultancy.” The fifth-generation descendant Jan Borms (53) runs a very healthy company. Founded in 1867, Vondelmolen is the Belgian market leader in gingerbread. 60% of the turnover is exported. But whether the gingerbread manufacturer will also make a profit in 2022, Borms cannot say yet. “Normally I should know that in September, but not today. Our costs have increased by 30 percent in one year. The main raw materials, rye and sugar, have doubled in price during that period. And at the beginning of January there will be another wage indexation. of 10 percent. Wages make up 30 to 40 percent of our production costs. I am not against wage indexation, but up to a certain level of the net wage.” Energy prices beat everything. “In normal years, energy costs 1 to 2 percent of our turnover. This year, that cost will rise to a tenth of the turnover. Gas was multiplied by ten in price, electricity times five. Fortunately, we have solar panels, which cover 30 to 40 percent of the supply consumed electricity. But Vondelmolen uses four times more gas than electricity. Vondelmolen cannot fully pass on the increased costs to its customers. “And those costs are also increasing faster and faster,” says Borms. “Our prices are quickly out of date due to additional increases. Abroad we can pass on our costs better than in Belgium. Our country has too many department stores, which also often compete on price. But of course the retail chains are not having an easy time either.” Borms expects prices to stabilize sometime next year. “But that doesn’t mean they will drop to the lower levels of the past. These are challenging times. If you don’t have a piggy bank, you risk bankruptcy. That certainly applies to young companies with a lot of bank debt.” On its most recent balance sheet, NV Vondelmolen had zero bank debt for the 2020 financial year.


The article is in Dutch

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