Justus Martens started his career as a commodity banker in 1989 at MeesPierson in Amsterdam; one of the oldest merchant banks in the world. There he was active in advising and financing traders and processors of commodities around the world. In 1993, he left with a team for a competitor, ING Bank, to continue the same activities from Amsterdam, and later from New York and Curaçao. In 1996, he became an entrepreneur and established the Global Foods Group in Curacao (www.globalfoodsholding.com). Global Foods developed into a large global trader, processor and distributor of sugar and other agricultural commodities, with factories on three continents, offices in seven countries and more than 450 employees. As from 2005, the group diversified into the production of sugar, ethanol and bio-electricity from sugar cane, and founded the CNAA group in Brazil (total investment: USD 1 billion). Today, this company has more than 60,000 ha’s of sugar cane plantations and over 3,000 employees.
Since the majority of the equity for CNAA was provided by a number of very reputable private equity companies (including Goldman Sachs), the group has been actively involved with private equity funds and structures in this transaction. As entrepreneurs and investors, the partners of Global Foods have been involved with private equity investments for over 15 years. Justus not only has extensive experience as an investor and working with investors; he also has been a hands-on operational manager of small and large companies, dealing with a full range of corporate issues (i.e. business development, recruitment, management, contracting, administration, financial management, financing, marketing, sales, cooperation, legal, tax planning, reporting, regulation analysis).
As founder and principal of both the Curacao Growth Fund and the Aruba Growth Fund, he has been active in private equity and corporate finance for almost ten years now, in the role of buyer, seller or client. With River Corporate Finance, Justus also provides corporate finance advice and services to third parties that require 'regional' support.
Justus earned his BBA from Nijenrode University and holds MBA’s from University of Florida (Finance, 1988) and Nijenrode University (International Business, cum laude, 1989). He has served on the Board of CNAA, Biox International and Awash Foods.
Erik Baas started in the audit practice of Ernst & Young in the Netherlands in 1985 and subsequently worked for E&Y in Curaçao, Italy and the Netherlands, where he joined the E&Y Corporate Finance group in 1998. When leaving E&Y in 2006, Erik held the position of director. In the period 1998 to 2006, Erik was involved in a large number of deals and worked with many Dutch and European private equity players (i.e. CVC, NPM, Gilde, HAL, Doughty Hanson, Rabo securities, Waterland, ABN AMRO Capital, GIMV, Oranje Nassau Particpaties and Boekhoorn M&A) and corporates such as Shell; BASF; Impress; Celtel; Allianz; Philips and Friesland Campina. He advised clients on both the buy and sell side.
In 2006 Erik moved back to Curaçao to become CFO and later CEO of ENNIA, then partner at BDO and eventually managing director of SGG Trust and Fund Services in Curacao (now IQEQ).
In 2015, he started the Curacao Growth Fund together with Justus Martens and is as such involved in all aspects of corporate finance (buying; selling; financing; refinancing; restructuring etc) and at the same time also provides regional corporate finance services to third parties through River Corporate Finance.
Erik holds an accounting degree (RA) from the Dutch Institute of Chartered Accountants (NBA).