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Based in Lommel (Flanders), Chrisal developed an innovative technology to make products that use “good” bacteria to clean hospitals and rid the bedroom of house dust mites, among other applications. The family business has now been acquired by HeiQ, a Swiss a leader in material innovation: “We are anticipating a great leap forward,” says Chrisal CEO Robin Temmerman.

From degreasers to probiotic cleaning

The founder of Chrisal, Corrie Gielen, began producing environmentally friendly degreasers back in the 1980s. Since then, the company has shifted its focus to probiotic products. Just like Yakult uses “good” bacteria in its yogurts, Chrisal uses bacteria in detergents and cosmetics, among other things.

The production of cleaning products for hospitals is the main focus of Chrisal, which exports to some 30 countries. In recent years, research has shown that probiotic cleaning greatly reduces the risk of infections with the dreaded hospital bacteria.

Breakthroughs in the textile industry

But that’s not all. Chrisal’s leading probiotic solutions are also used to keep dairy robots E.coli-free or prevent salmonella contamination in poultry products. What’s more, in the textile industry, Chrisal and Bekaert-Deslee co-developed a mattress protector with built-in bacterial protection against house dust mites.

House dust mites produce proteins that can cause an allergic reaction. Our probiotic products feed on those proteins, reducing the health risks.

Robin Temmerman
CEO of Chrisal

Chrisal’s breakthroughs in the textile industry caught the attention of HeiQ, a Swiss company with a market capitalization of about EUR 85 million and some 200 employees. Specializing in textile innovation, HeiQ focuses on developing materials and chemicals to make textile fibers fire-retardant or water-repellent, or to combat odors and give sportswear a cooling effect. It works for companies such as Nike, Hugo Boss and Patagonia, as well as customers in the diaper and bedding industries.

"A major boost"

HeiQ now owns 71% of Chrisal following a deal that valued the Flanders-based company at EUR 15 million. In March 2021, HeiQ already bought a 51% stake for EUR 7.5 million. Now, HeiQ bought an additional stake of 20 percentage points. With Chrisal, the Swiss are acquiring a new technology. “This will give Chrisal a major boost,” says Robin Temmerman, CEO of Chrisal. “For us this was just a side project, but HeiQ sees potential in it and will further commercialize it.”

Investing in future growth

HeiQ is also providing additional funds for Chrisal's cleaning products business unit, investing an extra EUR 500,000 in marketing. Production was also recently expanded, representing an investment of EUR 600,000. “All of this is necessary, as we are anticipating a big leap forward,” Temmerman says. “The German Robert-Koch-Institut recently updated the guidelines for hygiene in hospitals and specifically recommended probiotic cleaning. Since then, we have been talking with just about all the major players in the professional cleaning market about the production of probiotic products. The first trial orders have already been delivered.”

For 2023, Chrisal is working toward a 35% growth to reach a turnover of more than EUR 5 million. “There is still room to grow here in Lommel,” Temmerman says. “We recently bought the site neighboring ours, doubling our plot of land, and we also installed an extra laboratory to develop new probiotic products.”

Flanders' biotech scene

Chrisal is one of numerous biotech companies that add to the success of Flanders’ business and research ecosystem for life sciences & health. Want to unravel this ecosystem in a virtual yet interactive way? Head to the Flanders360 platform and discover 300+ successful companies, universities, R&D centers, incubators and other players active in Flanders’ life sciences & health industry.

Alternatively, check out our industry overview to learn more about the available tax, legal and other incentives for establishing your life sciences & health hub in Flanders.

Reported by
newspaper De Tijd

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