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History

FleuraMetz has an illustrious and adventurous history going back over forty years. Here is a brief summary of that history, with no aspirations to completeness. We can roughly divide our history into three phases: pioneering, building and merging.

The basis for FleuraMetz was laid by some remarkable pioneers in the Dutch flower trade.

At the end of the 1960s, Ton Zonneveld joined up with brothers Jan and Co Berkhout to launch Berkhout-Zonneveld flower trading company at Beverwijk Auction, exporting to wholesalers in Bremen and Hamburg. In the mid seventies, the rapidly expanding company, now called Fleura, moved to Aalsmeer (the Netherlands). In 1978, under the management of Hein Kalter in Hannover, the first Cash & Carry opened under the name H.B.I. (Holland Blumen Import). Interestingly this actually concerned the acquisition of one of Fleura’s wholesale customers which was unable to fulfil its obligations. Headed by Co, who managed the Dutch company Fleura, and Hein, who was at the helm of H.B.I., turnover and the number of H.B.I. outlets in Germany grew steadily.

At the end of the 1970s, Gerard Metz started delivering cut flowers to florists in Antwerp from its base in the former Westland Flower Auction (the Netherlands). In the mid eighties, trade in Antwerp started to stagnate, so he set his sights on Paris where he supplied cut flowers and pot plants directly to the florist, bypassing the local wholesaler. The company started to expand and at the end of the 1980s, Gerard Metz B.V. had around 250 customers, making him one of the bigger operators in the Paris region.

In the 1990s and early years of this century, growth accelerated headed by a new generation of entrepreneurs.

During the early nineties, Frank Koenen took over from Gerard as the new owner. The delivery area was expanded to include all of France and new markets were added either through own initiatives or business acquisitions. Countries like Germany and the United Kingdom were consistently served by the Metz Group via the ‘Direct concept’, resulting in continuous growth. This growth accelerated following the launch of the Internet at the turn of the century and the combination of Metz’ first successful online order system ‘Iris’ with direct purchasing from regular growers. In 2008 the Metz Group delivered to around 4000 regular customers in France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland. At this point, Metz was the market leader in the Direct concept.

With the arrival of Robert Kalter as the new owner at the end of the 1990s, the Fleura/H.B.I. combination was also at the brink of a period of long-term growth. The Cash & Carry concept was further rolled out throughout Germany, making Fleura/H.B.I. market leaders in the country. Another successful sales concept was also intensively promoted: Truck Sales, which involved the driver/salesman visiting the shops and selling from the truck. The acquisition of Cash & Carry companies in the Netherlands (Jules Sleutjes) and Switzerland (Hottinger) resulted in a leading market position. Fleura was similarly successful in Austria. In the Czech Republic and Poland, Cash & Carry outlets were opened too. Besides trading in flowers through two florist concepts, Fleura continued to focus on delivery to flower wholesalers in Europe. This task has continued to be important and has developed well. In 2008, Fleura was the market leader in both the Cash & Carry and the Truck Sales concept.

Merger from a position of strength to reinforce the market position of the florist in Europe and North America.

In 2007, Fleura and Metz launched the purchasing combination MFI (Metz Fleura International, now renamed Mondial Flower International). The aim was to combine forces for imports.  The boards of Fleura and Metz got on well from the start and soon achieved their first joint import successes. The corresponding vision of the future, the corporate culture and complementary markets and sales concepts were a good basis for entering into discussions. This resulted in a merger between Fleura and Metz on 3 July 2009, with Frank chairing the Executive Board and Robert heading the Supervisory Committee.

FleuraMetz focuses on the florists, aiming to strengthen their market position by creating scale advantages for sourcing and logistics. Achieving cost leadership is our mission. Better support for the florist in services like marketing is one of our priorities. Externally, but also internally, people are central. As such FleuraMetz wishes to be a leader in the field of HR. In 2018 FleuraMetz delivers flower, plants and accessories through the three leading sales concepts to the flower trade in Europe, North America and Australia. With 60 Cash & Carry outlets, 120 Truck Sales drivers and thousands of Direct customers, FleuraMetz is the market leader in the retail florist segment. FleuraMetz also has three sales divisions focusing on the wholesale segment: FleuraMetz Export Flowers, FleuraMetz Export Plants and 4-Attention (deco).

FleuraMetz employs approximately 1400 people. Its annual turnover is about USD 500 million.