Boortmalt began in 1927 as a relatively small malting company near the Leuven-Dijle canal in Boortmeerbeek, Flanders. In the following 5 decades, this local malt house steadily grew and made a name for itself. Two events further changed the fate of the firm: the purchase of the Sobelgra silo in 1980, and the group’s 2004 acquisition by Axereal, which had already owned a malting plant in France since 1994.
From then on, Boortmalt grew exponentially: in the following decade, production facilities were opened in Croatia and Hungary, and existing malting plants were acquired in the UK and Ireland. Today, Boortmalt is one of the top five producers of malt in the world with a total capacity of over 1.1 million tons of malt per year.
In 2017, parent company Axereal pledged an investment of EUR 35 million to add a fourth malting unit at Boortmalt’s HQ in Antwerp. The investment expanded the plant’s annual capacity from 360,000 to 470,000 tons, the equivalent of 17 billion pints of beer per year, transforming the facility into the world’s largest malt factory. Moreover, Axereal invested EUR 15 million in a global malt R&D center at the site.
Why Antwerp? “Demand for malt in South America, Africa and Asia is increasing,” says Boortmalt’s CEO Yvan Schaepman. “In Antwerp, more specifically at the Port of Antwerp, we have everything we need to efficiently supply these high-growth markets.”
At the Port of Antwerp, we have everything we need to efficiently supply high-growth markets in South America, Africa and Asia.
In Boortmalt, Axereal acquired a major piece of Flanders’ history. Boortmalt’s rapid growth proves that the leap was worthwhile. Today, the group supplies malt to leading breweries such as AB InBev and Heineken, as well as to various craft breweries.
“The recent investments underline Axereal’s trust in Boortmalt’s activities going forward,” Yvan Schaepman wraps up. “It also shows that Axereal and our minority shareholders—Tereos, Temasek and Unigrains—are confident in the assets of Antwerp as a central production and distribution hub for malt.” Highlighting their dedication to Flanders, Axereal and Boortmalt were even nominated for Flanders Investment & Trade’s Foreign Investment of the Year Trophy in 2018.