Updated: Dec 22, 2021
French Groupe ATF, a major player in the social, solidarity and circular economy, has acquired Belgian broker Ecubel Computer Trading, the local leader in the second-hand IT equipment market, for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition is the fourth external growth operation of the group, which previously acquired in 2013 the e-commerce website Laptopservice.fr (online sale of reconditioned IT equipment), in 2015 the company Bis Repetita (purchase and reuse of IT equipment) and in 2017 the company TradeDiscount (online sale of second-hand IT equipment)
The acquisition of Bis Repetita enabled the Groupe ATF, based in the Paris region, to extend its presence in the Occitanie region. The acquisition of Laptopservice.fr and TradeDiscount were driven by the group's desire to strengthen its e-commerce strategy. This new acquisition allows ATF to take a new step in its growth strategy by developing its international activities.
Founded in 1985, Ecubel specialises in the purchase of IT equipment from companies for re-use. The company had a turnover of €3.5m in 2020. Groupe ATF will retain all of Ecubel's staff and the CEO, Wim Teerlinck, will become Groupe ATF's International Development Director.
"We are delighted to welcome the Ecubel teams in the Groupe ATF, with whom we will be able to work on the deployment of all our services in the Nordic countries. Ecubel will benefit from the support of our key account network to accelerate its development in Belgium and Northern Europe", declares Sylvain Couthier, President of Groupe ATF.
"Groupe ATF offers a complete range of services that meet the CSR objectives of companies, reducing their environmental impact while promoting the employment of people with disabilities - which is in line with the continuity of Ecubel. Furthermore, the second-hand market is particularly dynamic and I am looking forward to working alongside Groupe ATF to strengthen our presence in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany as well as in all the Nordic countries", adds Wim Teerlinck, CEO of Ecubel and Director of International Development of Group ATF.
Specialising in the purchase and re-use of IT equipment, Ecubel processes 30,000 items of IT equipment per year, in addition to the 300,000 IT equipments processed by Groupe ATF.
"The reuse, disassembling and recycling of IT equipment are at the heart of Groupe ATF and Ecubel's activities. They are effective levers for reducing waste production and resource extraction", explains Sylvain Couthier.
Processing IT equipment so it can be re-used enables companies to meet their legal obligations and increase their environmental, social and societal impact:
processing of electrical and electronic waste in compliance with the European WEEE directive (waste from electrical and electronic equipment), which promotes the re-use of computer equipment;
data suppression in compliance with the GDPR, in Groupe ATF’s production workshops or on the companies' sites, or even destruction of hard drives in compliance with the GDPR;
subcontracting to legally adapted companies, which is a way of complying with the OETH (French law setting targets regarding the employment of disabled people), in addition to sustaining solidary jobs;
valuation of CSR impact in extra-financial performance reports, thanks to the availability of ready-to-use indicators.
Currently, Ecubel does not employ any disabled people, but it will benefit from Groupe ATF’s know-how, employing 40% of disabled workers, in HR engineering and the design of production tools adapted to these jobs. The aim is to develop an approach based on the circular and solidarity economy in all the group's entities, in France and internationally. Sylvain Couthier comments: "when Bis Repetita was acquired in 2015 and TradeDiscount in 2017, the companies employed no disabled workers. Today they employ 15% and 13% respectively. We want to develop the same model with Ecubel and thus support initiatives to develop the employment of people with disabilities."
Wim Teerlinck adds: "I am happy to join the Groupe ATF, whose values based on the solidarity and circular economy we share. We look forward to working together to develop an economy that is not only more environmentally friendly but also more inclusive for people who are far from employment, and in particular those with disabilities."