Kiwa is an independent global supplier of Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) services across a wide variety of international markets from renewable energy to food, feed & farm; industrial safety to cyber security; building & construction to drinking water. Alongside these core activities, Kiwa also provides education and training courses, R&D technical consultancy, and data services. To safeguard the company’s objectivity, these latter activities are strictly separated from the core TIC offering.
Globalisation has led to a growing need for trust in all aspects of international manufacturing and trade. This requires measurable, tangible proof to substantiate claims related to the quality, health, safety, sustainability, and reliability of people, products, and services. Kiwa provides this impartial verification through laboratory testing, statutory inspection, auditing, calibration, and certification based on widely-supported and independently-defined standards and requirements. In doing so, it helps to make clear comparisons between - and to build trust in - organisations. Kiwa itself is supervised by multiple accreditation bodies and authorities such as the EU.
As the value of trust increases around the world, Kiwa’s short- and mid-term business strategy focuses on expanding the service portfolio and geographical reach to achieve the right balance of local density and global-scale. The current strategic plan aims to at least double annual turnover through organic growth and acquisition, making sure that the company remains an independent and significant player within a consolidating, globalising TIC market.
As part of this strategy, the company has defined a business transformation programme to harmonise internal processes and create a robust structure. The extensive programme covers all field services, the certification and inspection processes, laboratory services, education, and financial and back-office processes – in terms of both software and, more importantly, internationally-aligned work practices. The entire customer journey from orientation to payment, meanwhile, will be incorporated into a single comprehensive business flow. A phased introduction got underway in 2020 with the programme rolling out in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategy has proven achievable. While the coronavirus had only limited impact on Kiwa’s business or financial health, it did have a profound impact on colleagues around the globe. With numerous inspection and audit visits postponed due to government-imposed restrictions, Kiwa employees ‘in the field’ in particular required a high level of flexibility, quickly learning to adapt by working via online video.
To further support growth, the first North American company was acquired at the beginning of 2021: Photovoltaic Evolution Labs (PVEL), based in California, offers solar panel testing and consultancy services.
This was followed by Dutch-based EMC & electrical lab DARE!! and cyber security organisation Hudson Cybertec; Polish agri-food TIC Cobico; German companies ZERTPUNKT, an education certification specialist, and Wijnveld Ingenieure, a fire safety outfit; Valiguard in Sweden and CyD in Ecuador, both active in agri-food; Australian system certification provider GlobalCert; Spanish system certification provider IVAC; and the UK fire safety expert IFC. Existing stakes in TIC companies across the globe were also increased, most notably a majority in Chinese system certification company BCC, to be finalised in the first quarter of 2022.
Until October 2021, NPM Capital was the principal investor in Kiwa, allowing the company to evolve from a Dutch into a European and then into a truly global TIC organisation employing over 5,000 colleagues in 35 countries across Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. In October, Kiwa became part of the SHV family of companies to drive progress to the next stage and safeguard an independent future. Since then, an integration process was started, deepening alignment on Kiwa’s strategy and to roll out the SHV support framework. In addition, several activities were organised to get Kiwa colleagues acquainted with SHV.
Two major acquisitions soon followed. At the beginning of December, a merger was concluded with Belgium’s leading TIC company Vinçotte, strengthening Kiwa’s footprint in the Benelux. The transaction is subject to approval of the relevant authorities in the Netherlands and Belgium. Then, towards the end of the month, Intega—offering testing and inspection activities in construction and infrastructure—was acquired and delisted from the Australian stock exchange. This acquisition has added complementary services in a well-known industry as well as a local presence on the ground in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada.
The improved net sales in 2021 compared to 2020 were driven by increased revenue within Europe despite productivity challenges in the Nordics following prolonged COVID-19 impact. Kiwa was part of SHV’s consolidated figures since July 2021 and made a positive contribution to net income in this period.