Rob Thielen is the Chairman of Waterland, which he founded in 1999. He developed Waterland into one of the best performing private equity groups in the world, active in 8 core countries, with acquisitions in over 20 countries across 4 continents. The Group has invested over EUR 15 billion in more than 400 companies across the four investment sectors of Waterland.
He is also a founding partner of Elbrus Capital, a Russia and CIS-focused private equity firm with a capital base of approximately $ 1 billion. Up to now it has invested in 17 companies of which a large number are market leaders in their sectors in the Russian Federation.
Before he started Waterland, Rob gained extensive experience in numerous (cross-border) mergers and acquisitions as manager/shareholder of RWP, later acquired by the Investec group. He was also general manager of his family’s fashion retail group. Earlier on, he worked as a turn-around consultant with IMCG and as account manager with the Corporate Finance Group of ABN AMRO Bank.
Rob was a non-executive member of the board of RPS plc, a London Stock Exchange quoted company active in environmental consultancy and of arxes NCC AG, an IT service provider quoted at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. He was a member of the visiting faculty of the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University).
Rob graduated in tax law at the University of San Diego in California, USA, and obtained a degree in tax law at the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, the Netherlands.
Waterland Private Equity
As chairman of Waterland Private Equity Investments BV, Rob Thielen is responsible for the entire company. Thielen founded the company in 1999. The head office of Waterland is located in Bussum, in the Netherlands, with additional offices in Belgium (Antwerp), the UK (Manchester), Germany (Munich and Hamburg), Denmark (Copenhagen) and Poland (Warsaw). Waterland is an independent private equity firm that enables entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions. Waterland enables the companies in which it participates to grow organically and through acquisitions, with substantial financial support and commited industrial expertise. It advises companies in financial, strategical and operational issues. These can be national as well as international acquisitions and/or alliances. Waterland plays an important role in the current, dynamic,business climate as a partner that enables others to take a powerful position in the quickly increasing international markets of the world. By now, Waterland has participated in more than 250 companies. The equity of Waterland is currently about 2.5 billion euro’s. Besides their equity, Waterland also has extensive possibilities for leveraged financing. Rob Thielen’s Waterland is a member of the Dutch Private Equity Association (NVP), the Belgian Venturing Association (BVA), the Bundesverband Deutscher Kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaften (BVK), the Polskie Stowarzyszenie Inwestorow Kapitalowych (PSIK) and the European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EVCA).
Currently Rob Thielen and Waterland are mainly investing in companies that are offerings products or services relating to the aging populations of the world, luxury brands, leisure companies, and companies active in outsourcing and durability. Especially health care is an interesting field for investments, due to its resistance to negative econmic circumstances. Waterland has plenty of oppurtunities for investments, especially with banks holding on to their money. Waterland also has ample space for investments, given their recent round of financing. In 2009 Waterland collected more than €800 million euro’s, amongst others from large Dutch pension funds.
Rob Thielen and Intertrust
In 2008 Rob Thielens Waterland Private Equity Investments BV acquired Intertrust from Fortis. The Dutch state wanted to quickly sell off the company, due to the accusations of facilitating tax evasion, that were made to the company. Intertrust advises in creating fiscal strcutures that are benficial to their clients. Waterland wanted to grow the company through acquisitions. At the time, the Financial Times noted that Intertrust had cost about 350 million euro’s. However, Rob Thielen and Waterland only paid about 250 million euro’s for Intertrust. Rob Thielen played an important role in acquiring Intertrust for the right price. At the time of buying, Intertrust was 75% owned by Fortis Bank Nederland (FBN) and 25% by Banque Général de Luxembourg (BGL), which was owned by BNP Paribas. After two years, Waterland looked to sell Intertrust and put the company up for sale for 500 million euro’s. Blackstone, Cinven, Goldman Sachs Asset Management en Pamplona Capital Management showed their interest. Blackstone followed through and eventually bought the company from Rob Thielen’s Waterland for more than 700 million euro’s. The Intertrust deal, in which Rob Thielen played a vital role, was one of Waterland’s many profitable participations.