Vectis invests in engineering firm SBE

“Financial partner on board to accelerate further growth”

In order to support its growth plans, engineering and consultancy firm SBE from Sint-Niklaas is partnering with Vectis Private Equity, which has acquired a minority stake in the company. Vectis is thus realising its second investment in its fourth fund. This fund was raised at the beginning of last year with EUR 80 million of subscribed capital. “We have the ambition to grow even further. This financial step fits perfectly within this expansion strategy”, says SBE managing director Koen Thomas. Koen and Jan Thomas will continue with the strategic and operational management of the company.

For both managers, this transaction is a logical and well-considered next step on the growth trajectory of SBE. “Our company consists of a group of talented and committed people, united by a common vision and a strong culture, who together write our story. We are very excited to welcome Vectis Private Equity as an investor. With Vectis, we are obtaining an experienced and strong partner who can guide and support us on our future growth trajectory,” explains managing director Koen Thomas.

SBE, with headquarters in Sint-Niklaas, is a second-generation family business that is active as an engineering and consultancy firm. The company was founded in 1988 by Ir Rik Thomas and is currently managed by his sons Ir Koen and Jan Thomas.

With offices in Belgium (Sint-Niklaas and Namur), the Netherlands and Spain, SBE today employs about 200 people. The company is specialised and reputable in hydraulic engineering (including ports, locks, quay walls and terminals) and civil engineering (tunnels, bridges, roads & sewers). It is also active in urbanism and landscape, electromechanical installations and industrial constructions. The group realises an annual turnover of EUR 20 million. For the past two years, SBE has been certified as a Great Place to Work.

SBE works both directly for governmental bodies and contractors. The company is known above all for its innovativeness and its technical competence in expertly guiding large and complex infrastructure projects throughout their entire duration. SBE has a special focus on sustainability in everything it undertakes.

A few reference projects in which SBE plays an important role include the Seine-Scheldt connection (Belgium and northern France), the Oosterweel connection (Scheldt tunnel and right bank) and the new Zeebrugge lock.

With major challenges regarding climate change, rising sea levels, mobility, energy efficiency and evolving technology, the engineering consultancy sector is facing a quantum leap and is forced to scale up and specialise further. SBE wants to further develop the organisation to prepare it for the future. The partnership with Vectis fits into this framework.

About Vectis Private Equity

Vectis Private Equity is an independent private equity fund that focuses on investments in Belgian SMEs and manages ca. 125 million EURO in assets. The team has years of experience in accompanying SMEs in their growth and is very familiar with the challenges these companies face. Since its creation, more than 15 years ago, Vectis has invested in more than 30 Belgian companies and has also realised about 20 additional add-on acquisitions. This makes Vectis one of the most active private equity investors in this segment of the Belgian market.