Belgium’s ElaN Languages Acquires Dutch Language Service Provider AVB Vertalingen

ElaN Languages Acquires AVB Vertalingen

Belgian-headquartered language service provider (LSP) ElaN Languages announced in November 2023 that it has acquired Netherlands-based AVB Vertalingen. The terms of the deal, which closed at the end of June, have not been disclosed.

AVB was founded more than 40 years ago by the mother of its Managing Director, Isabella van Rooij, who went on to assume leadership of the company in 1999. The LSP serves government and business sectors in the Netherlands with a mix of translation and interpreting services. 

ElaN also has a history of family ownership, having been founded in 1999 by Wim Vanschooren and brothers Peter and Eric Vaes. Further, a management buy-out (MBO) in 2018 saw current co-CEO, Robrecht Belien and his father assume ownership of the company, before French private equity firm Andera Partners took a majority stake in the business in April 2022.

Belien told Slator that the rationale behind the AVB acquisition was a desire to grow geographically and within the interpreting sector. AVB’s activities are 65% interpreting and 35% translation, he said. 

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AVB is ElaN’s third acquisition of 2023, making the company one of the most active LSP buyers in a year that has been comparably quiet in language industry M&A. ElaN also acquired Belgium’s Eloquentia and Germany’s Lingua-World earlier in 2023. 

Belien declined to share AVB’s revenues but told Slator that this is the company’s largest acquisition to date. AVB is listed on the Slator 2023 LSPI with self-reported revenues of EUR 14.0m (USD 15.0m) for 2022, and growth of 75% from the year prior. 

Andera’s press release about the acquisition noted that AVB’s “turnover exceeds EUR 16 million,” while ElaN had “a turnover of around EUR 30m following the June 2023 acquisition of Lingua-World.”

AVB is also the third Dutch company to join ElaN, after the acquisitions of Netherlands-based translation agencies PassworD and Translavic in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

In addition to its Belgium headquarters, ElaN now has more than a dozen branches in Germany, as well as a presence in the Netherlands and Poland. With its revenues looking likely to approach USD 50m in 2023, ElaN is set to join the ranks of the top 15 European LSPs and the top 40 LSPs globally.