The small print

Naturally, we realise that this page is probably the least interesting to you as a reader. After all, who in our ‘instant society’ wants to know everything about the backgrounds and principles? A rare occurrence – at least, as long as everything is going well. A company on the rise is not concerned with the criteria. However, a company on the decline will be the first to call us. Our first question in that case is: ‘Have you read the accountability statement?’ This is why it is useful to read about what underpins our work.

Rising or falling

The sector is constantly evolving thanks to internationalisation, scaling up, chain reduction, professionalisation, mergers and acquisitions. The horticulture and greenhouse horticulture industry has become a knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive sector. This is why we constantly adapt the definitions, methodology and assessment criteria in accordance with current developments. There have been changes this year as well. In making the assessment, Hillenraad employs a multidisciplinary business model. The model is based on four pillars: a qualitative assessment (six factors), a quantitative assessment of key business figures, the average EBITDA growth (CAGR) and finally, the factor called the industry footprint.

We are again seeing solid competition, with many companies doing better than last year. But with everyone doing better, you can still drop down the list if companies in your part of the list do even better. This is because rises and falls are determined not only by your own business achievements, but also by the companies around you. If a few companies that were listed lower in the previous edition show a strong improvement and move up several places, your company may end up lower on the list while still doing better than last year. This can sometimes lead to surprises, but there are only 100 places available.

Open competition

The Hillenraad100 is an open competition for companies in the knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive horticulture industry. Our broad view takes in more than just greenhouse horticulture products. The list contains companies from the entire horticulture cluster with a firm foundation in the Netherlands. The focus is on companies with a strong international perspective. Of over 9,000 companies, a mere 250 are followed intensively by Hillenraad. We look for the leading companies in the horticulture industry. The Hillenraad100 is therefore the leading monitor when it comes to developments and dynamics in the sector.

Hillenraad100 and 500+

For five years, we have distinguished between companies in the Hillenraad100 and the 500+ companies that form the ‘champions league’. While initially the only criterion for this extraordinary category was an autonomous horticulture turnover of €500 million, for the past three years companies with over 1,000 employees on the payroll in the Netherlands have been promoted to the extraordinary category as well. We assess these major companies in the 500+ category.


The Hillenraad100 is composed according to a careful procedure. The point of departure for the assessment is the research by the editorial team of Hillenraad100 and the consultants of Hillenraad Partners. The results are then combined with reviews from the peer group and an analysis from the expert committee. It is an intense process of balancing the scales. The final listing is the combined result of facts, noteworthy information and the experts’ opinions. This makes the list vital and distinctive.

Cluster model

The strength of the horticulture cluster lies in its comprehensiveness, and a comprehensive cluster is self-perpetuating. That is why the list includes companies from seven main categories: propagation material, delivery, cultivation, processing, sales organisation, trade and services. The companies are assessed on intrinsic and comparable characteristics. In addition, various weighting and correction factors are applied, dependent on the position in the chain. In this way, all links and segments in the horticultural chain are equally represented. The number of available places per category and per segment is limited because the list wishes to reflect the entire sector. We also look at the prospects for the market in which a particular category of companies is operating. Companies in a difficult market may temporarily receive a relatively lower rating, similar to the stock market prices of listed companies.

Acceptance criteria

The acceptance criteria of companies are as follows:

  • A firm position with distinctive, leading practices in the knowledge-intensive and capital-intensive horticultural sector in the Netherlands;
  • The companies/entities are based in the Netherlands and report their revenues in the Netherlands;
  • Operations in the horticulture industry constitute a substantial proportion of the overall business activities, and the turnover relevant to the horticulture cluster is denoted in the list with an H100-Q qualification;
  • The company or its legal predecessors have been active in the industry for at least five years;
  • The assessment is based on related group activities. Sister companies or subsidiaries are not eligible for a separate listing;
  • Sector and trade organisations, as well as generic service providers such as banks, insurance companies, accountants, temporary employment agencies and transport firms, are excluded from the list.
  • Companies with several consecutive loss-making years may only be retained in the list in special cases.

Evaluation criteria

Hillenraad employs a multidisciplinary business model for the analysis used for the ranking. The model is based on the four pillars mentioned above:

  • A qualitative assessment (six factors), a quantitative assessment of key business figures, the average EBITDA growth (CAGR) and finally, the factor called the industry footprint. The qualitative assessment is based on a Hillenraad assessment complemented with the results of the new peer group. This covers six elements: strategy and vision, growth potential, innovative power, professionalism of the organisation, sustainability and the achievements of the company in a broader sense.


  • The average EBITDA growth (CAGR) is calculated over the last 3 years, unless figures or insights are missing, in which case a two-year CAGR is calculated. The CAGR works progressively and is recalculated every year based on the most recent figures.


  • The key business figures describe the ratios and the trend movements over time. If in the assessment a trend goes up or down, this is translated into a green, orange or red signal. However, a decline may also come from a lack of complete information, causing a company to lose points in the assessment.


  • The industry footprint indicates the nature, size and chain position of the company; it is a measure of impact in the sector in relation to the position in the chain.

Sources and actuality

The Hillenraad100 uses publicly accessible sources, press releases and, of course, the information submitted by the companies themselves upon request. Virtually all companies provided detailed information. This allowed us to form a better picture of the business. Companies that did not provide any information themselves may, therefore, be somewhat undervalued in the assessment. The listing is based on, among other things, the latest financial information available – in most cases, the annual reports for 2016 or sometimes 2015. For 2017, all qualitative developments up to the middle of August, the final editing deadline, have been included. Events after this date have not been included. Considering the rapid developments in the sector, this can lead to surprises on the final announcement date for us as well, particularly in the case of mergers and acquisitions.

In conclusion

Our goal is to monitor sector dynamics and to place horticulture entrepreneurship in a positive light. The leading factor in the assessment is overall prominence in the sector. We want to put those companies on the list that make a strong contribution to the development of a healthy, competitive horticulture sector.

If upon reading this accountability statement you still have any questions, please call or e-mail us. We are always happy to provide further explanation.