TriFinance Market Intelligence Update #1

24 November 2021

This is the first article offering you curated content, selected by TriFinance experts. Our people constantly scrutinize the press and media looking for important market developments that can be of importance to your business. Adding brief comments, they will explain why these flagged trends and developments could be relevant for your organization. Starting today, we will share these insights with you on a monthly basis 

  • We're always connected, but are we connected at work?
  • A new legal status regulation for employees of local governments
  • What about the future of NewB?
  • Who are the unknown champions among Belgian private companies?

We're always connected, but are we connected at work?

by Jasper van Gils & Susan De Boever (TriFinance CFO Services)

Since Covid, the new reality we are living in is called ‘omni-connection’ -the complete experience of work: feeling connected, being included, and knowing we belong, regardless of our physical location. When we are omni-connected, we use technology and human ingenuity to make sure we are seen, can fully contribute, and have equal quality of experience.”

Despite the fact that our devices are constantly on, only 17 percent of people feel connected to work.

Business & people both can gain from omni-connection.

  • Financially - 7,5 percent gain in revenue each year for omni-connected companies
  • Trust - 35 percent more likely to do high-quality work in a trustworthy environment
  • Retention - employees like to stay in an omni-connected company (59 percent  of employees)
  • Productivity - 90 percent of employees can be productive everywhere

You can apply the following four actions if you want to create value with omni-connected experiences

  • human leadership - be emphatic, transparent, trustworthy
  • open culture - where authenticity, purpose & psychological safety are central
  • the agile organization - flexibility in the way of working
  • encourage technology - the ability to experiment

To make your working place great for now and for the next decades, it will be important to take action to be omni-connected. Due to Covid, people are also more critical of their work & work environment. Omni-connection can motivate candidates to join the company.

Read more: HRTech


A new legal status regulation for employees of local governments

by Rens Creusen (TriFinance Public Sector)

In May 2022, the Flemish government agreed upon a new proposal for the legal status regulation (‘rechtspositieregeling’) of local and provincial government officials. This regulation describes the rights and duties of local government officials. It includes, among other things, policies on employee selection, career development, salary, holidays, and absences. The new proposal is up for further negotiation with the social partners before being implemented within the local governments.

The most remarkable about the newly designed legal status regulation is that it is very ‘modern’ for government standards. The Flemish government will grant local governments the authority to create their own salary scales which creates the possibility for local governments to set their own rules on career progression.

All in all, this increased flexibility comes with opportunities as well as challenges. Local governments may need help with the implementation of their newly thought-out employee policies. And while local governments find it increasingly difficult to find suitable personnel - as the labor shortage is hurting the local governments as well - it is important to get this right from the start.

What about the future of NewB?

by TriFinance Financial Institutions

To maintain its banking license, the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) obliged the ethical cooperative bank NewB to retrieve 40 million euros by the end of September. NewB had to do this to clear up its starting losses and to be able to provide more credits to its clients. The bank confirmed this week that it was unable to retrieve the required capital.

Over the last few days, the bank negotiated with the Walloon and Brussels’ Governments to find the required capital. Even with this governmental support, NewB would have been unable to earn nearly 40 million euros.

The NBB hasn’t decided to revoke the banking license of NewB yet, and a few scenarios are on the table. NewB could continue selling investment and insurance products without a banking license, or the bank could go into liquidation. However, the bank is not facing bankruptcy and will be able to repay all its clients.

Read more: De Tijd

Who are the unknown champions among Belgian private companies?

by Kimberley Gijsen (TriHD)

Belgium is often seen as a typical SME country. However, there are many companies with a turnover of more than 1 billion euros, a magic limit. De Tijd made a raking of the 28 largest Belgian private groups. The condition was that the company must be at least 50 percent Belgian-owned. For this list, the public and financial sectors were not taken into account.

5 companies were highlighted by De Tijd. If you wish to have a look at the complete list, be sure to check out the article.

  • Steelforce: with some 250 employees, they are just among the top 10 largest steel traders in the world. Due to the extended fiscal year, price increases and the help of their Japanese investor they generated a substantial growth in turnover.
  • Alcogroup also saw revenues rise in 2021 due to high demand for their product and price increases. In Europe, it is the second-largest producer of ethanol
  • Maes Energy and Mobility. Their biggest increase in turnover is mainly due to more expensive fuel prices. Just like Belgomine, the group behind the Avia gas stations. Both are in a sector with wafer-thin margins.
  • Trendy Foods is one of the major distributors mainly of food, beverages, and tobacco in Belgium and Luxembourg.

2021 was a good year for Belgian unlisted large companies. The largest private companies saw their turnover increase by a quarter last year. Net profits almost doubled. However, the companies cited do not see the future as bright. Rising energy prices, falling demand, impending recession and margins coming under pressure.