Bene and Neudörfler acquire Hali and Svoboda

The investment company BGO, led by Erhard Grossnigg and former Minister Martin Bartenstein, has bought the Austrian office furniture manufacturer Hali. In addition, the company has taken an option on all shares of Svoboda declared bankrupt last week. BGO already owns the other two major Austrian manufacturers: Bene and Neudörfler.
Subject to approval from the competition authorities, Hali was bought by BGO in early February, the company said in a press release. “Our goal is to form a group of office furniture producers at European level“. The acquisition was reported to the competition authority last Monday.
According to the latest available information, Hali is market leader in Austria with a market share of 16%, which is slightly larger than Bene. Number three is Neudörfler with 13%, followed by Svoboda with 9%. Hali realized a turnover of around € 45 million per year, and employs 230 employees at the head office in Eferding, and at the company’s 7 sales locations in Austria.
Bene makes a profit again 
“With the acquisition of Hali and the possible acquisition of Svoboda, we combine a number of companies with years of experience and expertise in the office furniture market“, says Grossnigg in the press release. The previous owner of Hali, Siegmund Gruber, joins the advisory board of BGO. Where Neudörfler and Hali are healthy companies, Bene was highly loss-making until the acquisition by BGO in 2015. The implemented remediations have led to Bene also being profitable again since 2016.
Uncertainty about market share in Austria 
BGO refers to the figures published by market research firm CSIL in July 2017 titled “The European Market for Office Furniture”, in which the share of the four companies Bene, Hali, Neudörfler and Svoboda in the total Austrian market would be 24.8%.
These figures are in contrast with a previous study by Kreutzer, Fischer & Partners from 2016, which shows that the market share is twice as high. The agency calculated a share of almost 50% for the big four. In that report Wiesner-Hager reaches 7% and Blaha Büromöbel at 6%. According to BGO, the latter calculation is not correct. Kreutzer Fischer would not have taken account of interior builders and furniture stores in its figures and on the one hand they calculated with factory prices and on the other hand with end-user prices.
Kreutzer Fischer & partners contradicts this. Companies such as Carpenters, IKEA, mail order companies and web shops are all included in the figures, they say. In addition, according to the researchers, factory prices and end-customer prices are the same if the furniture was brought directly onto the market by the manufacturer.
The four companies together (Bene € 151 million, Neudörfler € 44 million, Hali € 45 million and Svoboda € 24 million) have a joint turnover of € 264 million and thus as a group burst into the top 5 largest office furniture manufacturers in Europe in one go.

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