Growing through acquisitions is a key strategy for Addtech. By acquiring niche market leaders, Addtech is always able to identify new growth opportunities, regardless of the broader economic situation. But there is one aspect that must always fit – the culture.
In seeking out companies, there is a particular phrase that is often used at Addtech: It is allowed to take time. Because each acquisition is unique, the process is too. Some acquisitions progress rapidly, while, for others, its can take several years to progress from the initial contact to signed agreements. It is not strange to view each acquisition as unique. Part of the explanation behind Addtech’s success is that the companies are often run by the same people who originally founded them. They can attest to the importance of a good fit, even in cultural terms.
Someone who knows what it feels like to be bought out is Anders Claesson, Managing Director of Sittab, which was acquired in 2013. He was one of three owners, and at first he did not want to sell at all. Sittab was doing well, achieving success and profitability with its ergonomics products for construction machines. Anders Claesson felt there were good reasons to continue on his own. But after a few meetings, he chose to rethink.
“When we were being bought out by Addtech, they treated us in a very correct manner,” says Anders Claesson. “There was a genuine interest in getting to know us at Sittab properly. They wanted to know who our key individuals were and answered our employees’ questions regarding what the acquisition would entail. It was almost as if their DNA held how they should respond.”
Addtech also applies a “cluster approach” to its acquisitions. When a new subsidiary enters the Addtech family, it is placed alongside similar or complementary companies in shared business units within a business area. This allows the companies to quickly immerse themselves in an environment where they can grow alongside like-minded companies. For the sellers of Sittab, the extent to which the buyer’s culture matched theirs was ultimately a decisive factor.
“In the end, my partners and I reached our decision when we realised what an amazing ‘family’ we would be joining, with all of its market-leading subsidiaries and skilled employees,” Anders Claesson continues. “Following the acquisition, all of my expectations were met and Sittab is even stronger today than I could have dreamt.”
Over the years, Addtech has acquired some 100 technology trading companies run by entrepreneurs and built up a successful process for the Group’s integration and development of these companies. Not only do the acquisitions bring new market positions, they also bring new expertise and strengthen the Group’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“Since being acquired by Addtech, we have grown substantially and our entrepreneurship has developed further,” says Anders Claeson.
An important part of the strategy is to acquire sustainable companies with market-leading niche positions and to develop them sustainably in the long term. For Daniel Prelevic, Deputy Business Area Manager for Industrial Process and coordinator of the Group’s acquisition efforts, the extent to which companies have progressed on sustainability is playing an increasingly important role in analysing and valuing potential acquisitions.
“Addtech is truly passionate about acquisitions – we take a genuine interest in developing the operations alongside their founders and aim to do this long term. This means entering lifelong partnerships with the companies. We sometimes joke that we embark on a lifelong marriage and never get divorced, but actually, we almost never sell companies,” says Daniel Prelevic.
There are plenty of attractive acquisition candidates, both large and small, he comments:
“We find opportunities continuously and are constantly on the lookout, in several markets. The opportunities are plentiful because the business units and the business areas are able to expand and build positions in existing market segments, or to supplement this with new segments. Working with acquisitions is highly stimulating, not least because you learn so much. At Addtech, we are inquisitive by nature, we always want to learn more because that enables us to support our companies even better.”
Acquisitions, past five years
|Number of acquisitions||12||14||11||10||10|
|Acquired annual sales*||741||960||698||503||643|
|Number of employees||170||276||171||129||161|
|* Refers at the time of acquisition on a full-year basis.|
Background to our acquisitions
Subsidiaries may conduct minor supplementary acquisitions to strengthen their existing operations within their niches.
Business units can expand and build market and/or product positions within select market segments.
Business areas can add new, supplementary market segments in areas where we perceive conditions allowing is to gain leadership of the market.
Why sell to Addtech
- Retain relationships
- Realise values
- Generational shift
- Secure the workplace
- Add expertise and networks