Are you thinking of selling your business?
Let us get right to the point. For Ernströmgruppen, it's not about buying a business. Rather, we see it as selling development to entrepreneurs who want to build a legacy. So let us briefly explain how we help good companies become even better.
We believe in
long-term, sustainable development
Ernströmgruppen provides you with a stable platform on which to continue building your legacy. Our goal as owners is development, not exit. Together with you, we strengthen your competitiveness to create long-term sustainable profitability and growth.
Collective entrepreneurial power
The sister companies of Ernströmgruppen are characterised by their strong entrepreneurial spirit. Operations are simple and clear, and decisions are made as close to the customer as possible. Our CEOs function more like Managing Entrepreneurs than Managing Directors. We simply love go-getters who are always ready to try something new.
More resources for development
Our sister companies give you access to valuable expertise and rare experiences that you can benefit from.
Perhaps your management team needs support to become even more successful. Perhaps in business development, add-on acquisitions, or business-related sustainability efforts.
You have access to the financial resources of a large company for investments that increase your value proposition and competitiveness.
How will we work together?
The day we shake hands, we will do so because we understand each other well, want the same things, and see a better future together. We will not make things complicated. You will still be an independent company, but now in a larger context that can help you build your legacy.
Unlimited value creation
We will not bring in a new management team, cut costs, maximise short-term profitability, and prepare you for exit. Our goal is not to sell, but to further develop the business, building a legacy for future generations.
Before we’d really made up our minds to sell, we asked ourselves what it was we wanted most. If it was money, then we should sell to the highest bidder and walk away with the cash. But if it was taking part and developing something permanent, then we should sell to someone who wanted to take us along for the ride.
Starting a business from scratch makes you a kind of artist. It takes creativity to bring about new products, processes and brands. Entrepreneurs help families, people and whole communities develop. This kind of business artistry doesn’t just fade away. It doesn’t just stop. Creative people go on working to the very end, just like writers, film-makers or architects. It’s the same for entrepreneurs. They just cannot stop working and creating.
Ernströmgruppen thinks differently, and that suits me fine. It’s a family-owned company with limitless horizons, which is interesting for entrepreneurs who want to continue developing instead of retiring to play golf while waiting for the Grim Reaper, to put it bluntly.
Previously, we were a solitary company. Not anymore. This is an utterly different feeling, something we value greatly. Now there are people we can chat to, people who are better at more things than Excel. People who are themselves entrepreneurs and know how to run a productive outfit. Who understand business logic. I don’t have to deal with investment bankers who don’t understand my business yet tell me how I should run it.
Letting go of your baby is a tough mental process. Will it all work out well in the long run? Will we still enjoy work? How will it feel not being at the top of the pecking order?
The most important thing for us was being able to look our employees in the eye and assure them that this was the best and most secure solution for them. That they would not lose their jobs because some new owner was going to shake things up and cut costs. That the only thing to change in their day-to-day jobs would be the CFO and me, the CEO. Apart from this, it is business as usual.
We were not in selling mode at all when Ernströmgruppen contacted us. Over the years, we had always known we would sell, but not when. We feared getting stuck in a situation that suddenly found us too old or the business cycle forced us to stay on.
Ernströmgruppen showed us their way of thinking – that entrepreneurs should stay put and continue developing and running the company along their own lines. This soon made us switch from disinterested to enthusiastic.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the positive atmosphere that prevailed between the sister companies in the Ernströmgruppen. Nice, friendly people. No high horses here. No snobbery.
Together we can take on bigger projects and have loads to learn from each other. It’s opened many doors we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. We’re always happy to help a sister company, but never a competitor.
At the end of my career, I want to look back with pride at having been part of building a well-renowned, large & well-respected company. It’s what drives me.
Kjell Bernt Kalland
Although I didn’t join Ernströmgruppen by selling a company, I still feel like an entrepreneur. Taking up the position as CEO for Armaturjonsson in Norway – without any experience in the HVAC and plumbing industries or as a CEO – and then growing sales from SEK 90 million to 360 million must surely prove that I have entrepreneurial genes of some kind?
Eric Hielte, in the third generation of family owners, brought me into Ernströmgruppen. What struck me was his vision and willingness to see the bigger picture. Things were not just a matter of numbers, but also very much emotional values.
Today, I’m no longer Armaturjonsson’s CEO. Now I have a bigger assignment heading up Water and Heating – one of our five business areas. Here we have five companies whose operations are close enough to benefit from each other’s expertise and processes, but who are not competitors. My job is to take a helicopter perspective and help the companies find synergies, challenge them to develop further, and to expand the business area further with new suitable companies.
In Ernströmgruppen, we often say we have no Managing Directors, only Managing Entrepreneurs. If we want to grow – and we do – then it’s essential. Hungry leaders are always on the hunt. Where’s the market? How do we make our products better? What macro and microtrends are affecting our business opportunities?
When I look back, I’m extremely proud of the things we’ve achieved at Armaturjonsson. That I handed over a business in the best shape ever to the next generation. Sales are up by 400%, we take part in research projects and sit on industry councils; we enjoy an excellent reputation and the strongest brand in the industry. We went from being a house of brands to a branded house. Constant tweaks and small improvements led to productivity increases every year. We digitised as much as we could. And we required new employees ALWAYS to question everything, otherwise they would just do things the same way everyone else does after six months. We must be challenged to do better. Creating such a mentality in an organisation – to constantly challenge itself to be better – is probably what I’m most proud of.
The Hobohm-Hielte family philosophy has always been ‘Nose in, hands off’. We want owners who run companies like they were their own. When things are going well, they keep well away. If we need help, we get it. It’s something I’ve always liked about the family. Great trust, which in turn creates strong, emotional ownership. Great companies with great people. No doubt it’s this culture that makes us such a great haven for companies who want to build something better, something that lasts.
I was attracted by the long-term approach. Ernströmgruppen doesn’t work with exit plans; they seek to build strong, enduring companies. And our personal chemistry also worked. These people have their feet on the ground and their business sense is as keen as mustard. We’re looking forward to scaling up the business and growing together with them.
It all started when we began making geothermal products in a tiny premises outside Borås, with the tools we’d taken from home. Me, my brothers and dad. Now we’re about to open our seventh European factory and our products are underground in more than 40 countries.
We knew the market for renewable energy would undergo tremendous growth. But there was no one to take over after us.
Many investors had knocked on our door, but none of them clicked. We weren’t looking to sell to someone who would go in and chase cash flow and then sell the company on after 5 years. We wanted someone with the industrial expertise to help us develop.
Our spur has always been ‘How far can we go with Mouvitech; how big can we get?’.
When I turn 80, I want to look back with pride and see that I helped build a big, strong, highly regarded company that has done a great deal of good for society and humanity.
It has never been a matter of earning those last few extra pennies. The job and this way of life are part of me. To stop now would be like losing a part of myself.
Our mission is to build better companies for future generations. On the road ahead we must constantly challenge ourselves and seek new and better methods. The goal of every company in Ernströmgruppen is to be the leader in its niche. And so first and foremost we will work on making you stronger in customer satisfaction, employee commitment and sustainability. Once we’ve succeeded with that, we can enjoy the results – profitability and growth.
We base the path to greater customer satisfaction on matching solutions to the customer’s situation. The goal is to be the brand the customer thinks of first before a decision.
We believe in bold objectives, ambitions and high ideals. The more your employees grow, the more opportunities there will be to attract employees who can take you where you want to go.
Because our mission is to create positive change for future generations, we deliver sustainable products and run all of our operations as sustainably as possible. When you’re building your legacy, there are no shortcuts.
Profitability is important. It’s proof that a business model works and that its offering is delivered in such a way that customers are willing to pay for it.
Once profitability is stable, we focus on growth. Growth provides employees with better development opportunities and allows us to take up stronger market positions in our niches.
Creating businesses and helping them grow has always been at the heart of Ernströmgruppen. For more than 100 years, we have been turning new ideas into new businesses.
We have lived through two world wars, financial crises, technological upheavals, energy crises and globalisation. Right now, we find ourselves in the midst of climate change and digitalization at a dizzying pace.
As a fourth-generation family business, we have always managed to go our own way - with a strong passion for building better companies.
Your next step
To bring on a new partner is a big decision that needs time to mature. You may have engaged an advisor to contact us, alternatively you or we may have taken a direct contact. In general, the process looks like this:
Getting to know each other and the business.
We get to know each other, we get a deeper understanding of the business, while you get more insight into Ernströmgruppen and what we can offer. If we get on well, share values and goals, while we at the same time can add value to your business, we will make an indicative bid. Together we produce a letter of intent (LOI) with agreements on the most important issues before a forthcoming share purchase agreement (SPA).
We will conduct a deeper analysis (“due diligence”) covering topics such as commercial, financial, technical, environmental, organizational and legal aspects. We also draw up a joint business plan that forms the basis and direction of our future collaboration.
Agreement and contract
When the due diligence is completed, we negotiate a share purchase agreement (SPA) and in some cases a shareholder agreement. Following a green light from our board, we complete the transaction.
We inform internal and external parties and set off on our partnership journey, where you enjoy the support of us and your new sister companies.
Will we work well together?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the past 100 years, it’s that we always work best together with people who believe in the same things we do and share the same goals. Liking one another is at least as important, and the best way to find out if we do is to sit down and have a chat. We’re also happy to share our Ernströmgruppen handbook with you to give you a better sense of how it is to be part of the Ernströmgruppen.
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