Belgian security company wins European Commission contract

Belgian security company wins European Commission contract

For the first time in history, a Belgian security company will be responsible for providing security for all the buildings of the European Commission in Brussels, according to Belgian broadcaster RTBF. The new contact is valued at €286 million.

Belgian company “Protection UNIT” has won the tender and will be in charge of protecting the Schuman area commission building, as well as the bureaucrats and world leaders inside, for the next six years.

A monumental rise

Having first worked in the horeca sector, Belgian Samuel Di Giovanni first launched Protection UNIT in Liège in 2009. The company experienced exceptional growth, growing from a small niche contractor making €7 million per year to a well established national company with more than €160 million in annual turnover in the space of four years.

Just a year ago, Di Giovanni’s fates were much different. The company founder was charged by the Liège courts for insider trading, alongside François Fornieri (the main shareholder of Mithra) for the shady purchase and sale of Mithra stock.

Despite this, Protection UNIT’s board of directors declared that they were still confident in the leadership of Di Giovanni, stating that the company was not concerned by the charge levelled against the founder.

It seems that the board’s confidence was well placed, now winning one of the largest security contracts in Europe. The company has previously won contracts for security at Liège airport.

“Today we have won in the biggest security market in Europe against the two world leaders G4S and Securitas. Moreover, it is a historic first that a Belgian company can take care of guarding the site of the European Commission,” Nicolas Van Ysendyck, commercial director of Protection UNIT, told RTBF.

A call to arms

The company now faces a monumental challenge. It must hire some 1,100 qualified security agents. The company will need to find this large number of staff in time for 1 October– an extremely tight deadline. The company will be responsible for protecting 70 different European Commission buildings.

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Nicolas de Angelis, CEO of Protection UNIT, says that the company expects that staff from the previous contractor will join the Belgian company, as they already know the specifics of the site.

“There is a desire to take over the staff who are in place on the site because they are already trained and know the site procedures. It is therefore very common for the staff of the company who lost the contract to come to the company which won the contract… We hope to convince more than 80% of the agents who are already working on European Commission sites,” de Angelis said.

In addition to poaching staff from other security contractors, the company is also planning to hire an additional 300 people in the Brussels region. To facilitate this, the company has launched a massive recruitment campaign and is partnering with Brussels employment agency Actiris to provide opportunities to jobseekers.

New employees will receive training at two training centres in Limal and Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse. The company also plans to open a new training centre for security guards in the coming weeks. In order to meet EU standards, the guards must be fluent in English, French and Dutch.

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