Rabobank Group

THE SCOOP

Let's cooperate

Utrecht, Netherlands-based Rabobank has a reputation for working with the agricultural and food industry sectors-and it's no wonder. The bank began as a pair of rural cooperative bank conglomerates founded in the Netherlands in 1898: the Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Bank and the Coöperatieve Centrale Boerenleenbank. Although very similar in their operations-each cooperative consisted of several small local banks, which were owned and run by their members-Raiffeisen-Bank had Protestant connections, while the Boerenleenbank was Catholic. This kept the two entities separate until 1972 when they merged after several decades of increasing cooperation. In 1980, the new business took the name Rabobank Nederland, taking two letters from Raiffeisen and two letters from Boerenleenbank. At the same time, several local Dutch banks revamped their organisations to form Rabobanks, making them eligible for support from the central Rabobank Nederland. That doesn't mean, however, that Rabobank Nederland has power over smaller member banks; it's actually the opposite. Top-level organisational control remains in the hands of member banks, while Rabobank Nederland operates as their subsidiary.

Although Rabobank built its business by providing retail banking and loans to farmers and rural communities, it later became an Allfinanz group, allowing it to provide diversified financial services, including corporate and investment banking and insurance products.

More than local

Rabobank today serves 9.5 million clients worldwide, operating through its 153 local Dutch Rabobanks, the central Rabobank Nederland and Rabobank International, its wholesale banking and international retail banking business. Through a number of subsidiaries the firm also offers investment research services, internet merchant banking, specialised advisory services, Swiss private banking and more. Clients include individuals, small and midsized businesses and larger corporations, though Rabobank still derives a majority of its business from the agribusiness and food industry sectors. In recent years, it has made significant strides in the American agricultural industry, through investments and acquisitions (most notably, the 2007 purchase of California's Mid-State Bank & Trust).

Approximately 29,000 Rabobank employees work for local Rabobanks, which boast 1,100 branches in the Netherlands and remain tightly tied to their communities. Rabobank Nederland serves as a "central bank" for the smaller Rabobanks, supervising their management, balancing liquidity, assisting with marketing and IT, and providing capital market services. It includes another 6,100 staffers. Rabobank International is active in 27 countries and employs more than 15,000 people in a half-dozen global divisions: structured finance, global financial markets, leveraged finance, direct banking, trade and commodity finance and the telecom, media and internet group. It includes a wholly owned Irish subsidiary, ACCBank, and a 59 per cent stake in Poland's Bank BGZ.


 

Reaching the world


Rabo Development is a Rabobank subsidiary attempting to spread the firm's model of rural, locally owned financial services providers far beyond the Netherlands. Through Rabo Development, Rabobank has purchased interests in several emerging banks, including Tanzania's National Microfinance Bank; China's United Rural Cooperative Bank of Hangzhou; Mozambique's Banco Terra; and Zambia National Commercial Bank. Combined, these banks serve over two million customers.

The latest addition to the Rabo Development portfolio came in 2008 with the purchase of a 40 per cent stake in Paraguay's Banco Regional, a 22-branch bank that operates in the southeastern part of the country. (Interestingly enough, Banco Regional has its roots in a Mennonite dairy cooperative with connections to Friesland-and natives of the area still speak a dialect called 'Plautdietsch.')

Small team, big deals

Most of Rabobank's corporate advisory clients are Dutch and multinational agriculture companies. The firm's M&A team is small-just about 30 professionals-but it had plenty of work in 2008. In the agribusiness sector, it advised Dutch VION Food Group on its acquisition of the UK-based Grampian Country Food Group and assisted Milk Partnership Ltd. on its joint acquisition, with Arla Foods, of a minority stake in Arla Foods plc. The telecom and services industries are keeping pace for the firm, too. Rabobank advisors helped arrange the €185 million sale of Scarlet Telecom (Netherlands) to Belgium's Belgacom, advised Poland's Netia SA on its €98 million acquisition of Tele2 Polska and advised Capgemini France on its €255 million acquisition of Dutch Business Application Services BV. In equity capital markets in 2008, Rabobank led Royal Delft's €6.5 million rights offering and handled Scarlet Telecom's €75 million tender offer on pre-IPO bonds.

The deals continued into 2009, as Rabobank signed on as adviser to Kendrion NV's €94 million sale of Kendrion Distribution Services to Amari Plastics and Bosch GmbH.

Bye, Bert

Two independent boards govern Rabobank's operations worldwide. The supervisory board is the highest authority, governing general operations as well as the operations of the executive board. The executive board is responsible for the management of Rabobank and its related entities. As chairman of the executive board Bert Heemskerk serves as the bank's chief executive, a role he has held since 2003. In 2008, he was also named head of Rabobank International. However, in early 2009, Heemskerk announced that he would retire in June 2009. His replacement is Piet Moerland, a 20-year Rabobank veteran who joined the executive board in 2003.


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Rabobank Group


Croeselaan 18
Utrecht 3521 CB
Phone: + 31 30 216 0000
Fax: 31-30-216-1976
www.rabobank.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman, Executive Board: Piet Moerland
  • 2009 Employees: 60,568

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