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CVC invests in HR services provider SD Worx (Flanders)

British private equity giant CVC has acquired a 22.5% stake in SD Worx, a leading HR services provider headquartered in Antwerp, Flanders. With a price tag of approximately EUR 400 million, this investment marks a significant milestone in SD Worx’s quest for a financially strong partner to accelerate its European ambitions.

Kobe Verdonck (CEO of SD Worx), Filip Dierickx (Chair of the SD Worx Board), and Steven Buyse (CVC Managing Partner)

European #2 for HR services

With a turnover of nearly EUR 1 billion and 7,400 employees, Flanders-based SD Worx has become one of the top 5 European HR service providers in recent years. Looking at turnover, the group ranks second only to its American counterpart ADP.

“Actually, you could say that we are already as big or bigger,” points out SD Worx CEO Kobe Verdonck, who took over the helm from Steven Van Hoorebeke in 2019. “Our 2023 turnover will exceed the billion-euro mark, and we’re much more deeply embedded in the European market, with local offices in virtually every country.”

Rapid growth

SD Worx owes part of its impressive and rapid growth to an increasing demand for HR professionalization and outsourcing. The main driver is the continuing war for talent, which increasingly prompts companies to turn to professional services providers who present themselves as a one-stop shop for all HR management in all its facets: from payroll, recruitment and selection, to headhunting, training and talent management.

The fact that SD Worx fits perfectly into this picture has not escaped CVC’s notice. The British investment fund is now channeling EUR 400 million into SD Worx, making the Flanders-based group worth EUR 1.77 billion (excluding debt).

Applications and acquisitions

SD Worx will use the funds brought in by CVC for two main purposes: to develop more digital applications and to complete a new series of acquisitions. “We want to further develop our mobile platforms,” says SD Worx CEO Kobe Verdonck. “In our mySDWorx app, which over 1 million employees are already using, you can consult your paycheck, request vacation days, manage your salary package, and more.”

“We also seek to connect the platform of leasing companies to the app, for instance, to enable employees to manage their new company car or bike,” adds Verdonck. “Having previously acquired Flanders-based scaleup huapii, we also invested in technology to track employee skills development. But to make our investments in these and other digital applications truly pay off, we need scale. The more we can implement these applications in different companies and countries, the more profitable they become.”

More info

SD Worx
Reported by
newspaper De Tijd
25 July 2023

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