Nell Gerberas in Klazienaveen was declared bankrupt by the court on Wednesday. High gas prices appear to have been the culprit. The nursery, which has existed for over 35 years, was the only one of its kind in the North.
Jan Nell, owner of the greenhouse horticulture company, could not be reached for comment. Deputy curator Jeroen Sprangers of Rein Advocaten says that the nursery has stumbled over the high gas prices. “The gerbera is a plant that requires a relatively large amount of energy. Since gas is currently barely affordable for this company, this means the end.” The debt is relatively small, but because of this explosively increased cost item, operation has become virtually impossible.
The company employed about forty people, half of whom were permanent employees. Sprangers is looking at potential takeover candidates with a slanted eye, but expects little from them in the current market conditions. The greenhouses will most likely be offered for sale or for rent. The new party could focus on production with less intensive energy consumption. Couldn’t Nell have chosen this himself? The curator thinks not. The chance of a new loan for the necessary investments is virtually impossible.
Cees Ruhé, northern chairman of Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands, says that not only Nell, but also fellow horticulturists are currently suffering from the high gas prices. According to him, growers try in various ways to reduce costs as much as possible to avoid a similar fate. “Many entrepreneurs set up their cultivation later or switch to another less energy-intensive product. Growing colder is a different strategy. There are plenty of such actions.” “As far as gerberas are concerned, for a good production they need to be well lit. Without it you have a very modest harvest.”
Nell had a combined heat and power system that made it possible to return excess generated power to the grid. However, this was not sufficient, so that Nell remained dependent on gas.
According to Ruhé, there is also another grower in the area who has sold his business, also because of the high energy costs. “After this spring, yield prices fell. If you’re only dealing with high energy prices, that’s difficult. But if you’re dealing with both, it can be the end of the exercise in some cases.