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The Group

The OIKOPOLIS Group brings together several entities at the three following levels.

  1. The owners – reflection of the value creation chain
  2. The parent company – a holding company with an ecological and social vocation
  3. The central activities (= subsidiaries of the parent company) and other participations (= ”Network” participants)
OIKOPOLIS Group 202106

Level 1: The owners – reflection of the value chain

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BIOG farmers and other organic producers

The members of the BIOG cooperative are not only organic farmers but also producers such as organic market gardeners, winegrowers and beekeepers.

Contributors to the organic marketing initiatives and other partners in the OIKOPOLIS value chain

Officially registered in December 2018, the Fondation OIKOPOLIS (OIKOPOLIS Foundation) represents – in terms of the composition of its founder members – the majority of employees from OIKOPOLIS companies and from the BIOG cooperative, but it also includes private promoters of organic farming. Most of them had been founding members of the cooperative and/or the OIKOPOLIS network. In fact, the Fondation OIKOPOLIS was born out of an initial group of 24 people who, in 1997 and on the initiative of BIOG, launched themselves into the construction of the OIKOPOLIS centre and joined forces to form the company OIKOPOLIS sàrl.

However, in terms of philosophical direction, the foundation that arose from this company was independent from the commercial interests of the BIOG cooperative and the OIKOPOLIS group, and it was therefore officially recognised as serving the public good. In order to preserve its economic independence, its Executive Board – comprising seven members – cannot include more than two OIKOPOLIS company employees.

The foundation's object is to “promote a sustainable farming and food culture (agriculture), in particular an agriculture optimised by recognised organic and biodynamic methods, which thus contributes in a significant manner to the protection of nature and the environment, as well as to education (...) ”

In this sense, the foundation supports the following activities in particular:

- Research, advice and training in the field of sustainable agriculture, including the production of organic seeds and the artisanal processing of products from organic farming

- The development of new approaches in the socio-legal system, including the development of new categories of ownership and of innovative legal forms for land use

- The development of new approaches and forms of cooperation in economic life in the sense of the Economy of Common Good

The foundation’s assets are utilised in accordance with the object of the foundation, whose mission is recognised as being in the public interest. Thanks to this charter, donations are tax deductible.

BIOG farmers and other organic producers

The number of private individualsinterested in participating in the “OIKOPOLIS Project” has far exceeded the number of shares issued through the three public subscriptions up to 2013. Strong consumer involvement facilitates the realisation of new projects. At present, this ownership group comprises more than 300 private individuals, a large number of whom work for OIKOPOLIS companies. As a whole, these individuals hold around 10% of the shares in OIKOPOLIS Participations. They have therefore become co-owners of their own companies.

Level 2: The parent company – a holding company with an ecological and social vocation

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Created in 2005, the company OIKOPOLIS Participations SA was among the groups of owners and the principal entities that were already well-established at the time, namely NATURATA, BIOGROS and OEKimmO (since 2019: OIKOPOLIS Services) to fulfil a well-defined mission. This role consists of supporting, through financial stakes, operations and activities that pursue social and ecological objectives similar to those of the BIOG cooperative and central activities arising from this. Thus came into being a structure focused on the holding company, which provides participating companies with support in several respects.

Providing material and moral support for eco-social initiatives

First and foremost, our holding company acts as a financial instrument in partnership with companies in which it holds varying numbers of shares. This then assures, in any case, the operational autonomy of participating companies in the company network.

However, the relationship with OIKOPOLIS Participations not only makes it easier for them to self-finance, it also strengthens their position in the market, with cooperative synergies being created within the company network. In the extreme case, which is unfortunately no exception in the organic sector in this age of industrialisation and globalisation, the two aspects may ensure the survival of small and medium-sized enterprises with a regional focus. It is this supporting effect that is at the heart of the concerns of our holding company.

Expansion is not an end in itself

From our point of view, profit maximisation is not a primary commercial objective. We also reject any majority holding in external companies and the same goes for enlarging our network if this would not serve to increase shareholder value or to create a particular corporate structure.

In this regard, it is important to note that integration into the OIKOPOLIS network often happens at the request of the interested companies. On the other hand, if the momentum comes from within the group, the driver for our activity is not the search for profit, but the desire to strengthen the regional value chains.

Our economic ideal consists of making ongoing activities possible

That is why, when we buy from farmers, we are not simply buying “their” potatoes, because the producer is actually entitled to an expense allowance. On this basis, we regard the purchase price as a fair compensation that allows the farmer to carry out the new sowing, growing and harvesting of food crops which are vital elements for all of us. Participation in external operations or in business start-up projects allows us to contribute to the creation of organic processing and marketing structures that have, until now, been lacking in this country.

That is why the OIKOPOLIS Participations rate of reinvestment is around 90%. Thanks to our corporate communication, this fact is known by shareholders who deliberately choose to support the financing of eco-socially responsible projects. Since the end of the ’90s, OIKOPOLIS Participations has organised three public share subscriptions to help launch and develop the OIKOPOLIS project. In 2006 and 2013, this type of capital raising was done by the holding company, which allowed it to raise equity capital without any problem.

Level 3: Central activities and other participations: the strength of synergy

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The central activities of the OIKOPOLIS group – with their origins in the BIOG cooperative – are (nearly) wholly owned “subsidiaries” of the company OIKOPOLIS Participations, since the parent company holds all (or almost all) the shares. These subsidiaries represent different levels of the value chain in the context of the marketing of organic foods by farmers - arrangement in descending order of the amount of OIKOPOLIS participation (from 100% to 90%):

OPSA Töchter Logoleiste

- NATURATA:

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As a Luxembourg company specialising in retail, NATURATA operates organic supermarkets (under the name “Bio-Marché”) and organic farm shops with a full range of products that are certified 100% organic – notably all the BIOG products – as well as specialist organic stores (NATURATA beauty & culture) and an organic restaurant/café (under the name “Resto & Café”) with catering service, plus several bistros integrated into NATURATA stores. In these establishments, too, we focus on BIOG products, which we process and serve to our customers. Fully independent, NATURATA sàrl is a member of Naturata International e.V., a registered association that comprises other member companies – operating principally in the south of Germany – which also use the Naturata name.

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- BIOGROS:

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As a wholesaler, BIOGROS does not only buy and sell wholesale. In fact, this SARL is also active in the fields of transport, logistics, packaging and processing. With “Cuisine Traditionale”, for example, it operates its own production hall for organic ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products, both for large-scale kitchens, like those in school restaurants and canteens, and for end customers. The organically farmed ingredients are preferably sourced from the BIOG cooperative.

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- OIKOPOLIS Services:

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The service company OIKOPOLIS Services, founded in 2019, also works in several fields of activity. It was the successor to OEKimmO, which was initially a property company that acted solely as property developer and administrator of the OIKOPOLIS centre before grouping more and more central services under its roof.

In addition to a home automation and IT department, it also has, among other departments, communication and accounting departments, whose services are available to the sister companies of the OIKOPOLIS group, for a fee.

- BIOG Cerealis:

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BIOG Cerealis S.à r.l. was founded in 2021 by OIKOPOLIS Participations and ten cereal farmers of the BIOG cooperative and has since acted as an important link in the cereal-flour-bread/baked goods value chain. Previously, BIOG had the organic grain stored in rented silos after the harvest and later had it processed on a contract basis. As this practice reached its limits, the producers wanted to take the cleaning, drying and storage of the grain into their own hands – and ideally the milling and packaging as well.

Due to a lack of financial means, the cooperative would not have been able to realise these projects on its own and therefore looked for another solution within the OIKOPOLIS group. This was found when the OIKOPOLIS investment company (OIKOPOLIS Participations SA) became involved. Following the model of the BIOG dairy founded six years earlier, OIKOPOLIS Participations is now shouldering the lion's share of the required investments, while interested cereal farmers participate in the new company with a rather symbolic amount.

- BIOG-Molkerei (dairy):

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Founded in 2015 by the dairy producers of the BIOG cooperative, this company processes the raw milk from the BIOG farms and organic dairy produce for the Luxembourg market.

More info (BIOG dairy)

Unlike the previous subsidiaries of OIKOPOLIS Participations – NATURATA, BIOGROS and OIKOPOLIS Services –, the OIKOPOLIS share in the BIOG dairy is less than 100%. This is because the initiators of the project, who come from the ranks of BIOG dairy farmers, are also part owners, albeit with rather symbolic shares. This participation model was later adopted at BIOG Cerealis.

- BIO-Gaart Altréier (market garden):

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BIO-Gaart Altréier S.à r.l. was founded at the beginning of 2021 with a high level of participation by OIKOPOLIS Participations SA as the successor to the "Bio-Gäertnerei op der Schanz", which previously operated at the same locatio. This commitment is due to several reasons. First and foremost, the OIKOPOLIS group wanted to ensure that organically grown crops would continue to be produced for the domestic market on the already existing land even after the withdrawal of the previous managers and founders of the "Bio-Gäertnerei". This is all the more so as NATURATA had opened its own farm shop in the immediate vicinity of the lettuce fields in 2019 and was only too happy to offer organic vegetables grown right on its own doorstep.

Since the OIKOPOLIS investment company already had a 10% stake in "Bio-Gäertnerei op der Schanz", it made sense to invest in the successor business as well. A BIOG vegetable farmer and long-time BIOGROS supplier was also on board, who now cultivates the open spaces near Altrier and farms them organically. On the other hand, a former NATURATA employee, who now runs his own farm near Altrier, rents the greenhouses and grows different varieties of organic tomatoes there.

- Other companies:

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Quite a few small companies are affiliated to the parent company OIKOPOLIS, in addition to the subsidiaries that constitute the core of the OIKOPOLIS group. Together, they form an extended network, the OIKOPOLIS network.