To reach our growth targets, and better serve our pan-European customers, we will continue to pursue a focussed acquisitions programme. We have targeted an annual growth for the Group that is twice that of the market as a whole. Expansion will mainly be organic, but there is substantial acquisition potential over the next few years.
During the period 2005–2009 we merged 45 companies and operations into the Group, corresponding to a total sales volume of 2.5 billion SEK. Among those companies are Trailereffekter and LVD in Sweden (AxIndustries), Peter Harbo in Denmark and Erling Haug in Norway (Forankra) and the service company TAPS in UK (AxFlow) – all crucial to developing the offerings or geographical coverage of our business groups. The track record of these and other acquired companies in our environment is so far very encouraging.
Assessing acquisition candidates
Our acquisition strategy is quite simple. We look for companies in the business-to-business sector with a strong market position in their segment or niche and sales ranging from 20 to 500 MSEK. Acquisition candidates should have a matching or complementary business proposition (or geographical location) that ties in well with our present structure. Prospective acquisitions are evaluated according to their business activities, track record, growth potential and management.
Entrepreneurial family companies
The acquisition strategy is based on majority ownership. We particularly look at companies that are entrepreneurially driven “family companies”, ideally with the entrepreneur still on board. Merging into our group leaves ample room for independence. In exchange for a majority stake in their business we offer a dynamic and financially solid growth platform, combined with a decentralised management model and entrepreneurial business environment.
Our financial strength enables us to continuously examine new opportunities for growth through acquisition. We never consider exit options when judging an acquisition candidate.