UZWIL, SWITZERLAND – The Haas Group, an Austrian-based creator of wafer, biscuits, and confectionery production systems, is now part of the Bühler Group. The related acquisition contract was signed in Vienna.
Bühler said the acquisition enables Bühler to complete its Consumer Foods product portfolio, it offers Haas access to the resources of the global Bühler organization, especially its roughly 100 service stations and its innovation network.
“Out of a position of strength, we are entrusting the future of our company to the family-owned Bühler Group,” said Johann Haas, member of the supervisory board. “This allows us to create the best possible conditions for successfully continuing the development of our business, for the benefit of both our customers and our employees.”
Haas, a family-owned company, was set up in Vienna more than 100 years ago as a metalworking shop. In the middle of the last century, it began manufacturing wafer machinery. Over the following decades, Haas evolved into the field of production systems for wafers, hard and soft biscuits, ice cream cones, cakes, and baked goods. These activities were complemented with a minor business field as a supplier of automotive parts.
With its global workforce of 1,750, Haas generates sales revenues of about €300 million and operates its own manufacturing sites in six countries. With the current transfer of the company to Bühler, the former owners want to continue the long-term success of the business.
“Today’s market and technology trends, whose impact and speed will continue to increase, have prompted us to take this step,” Haas said.
He continued by stating that the capability of offering complete solutions and of further automating and digitizing them will become increasingly important in the future. He believes that this requires a certain corporate size with a strong global presence and the related customer proximity, as well as high capital investment power.
“Bühler offers precisely this environment,” Haas said. “It is for this reason that we sought exclusive talks with them on the change in ownership, and we are glad to have found a sound and future-oriented solution for all the parties involved.”
For Bühler, this acquisition marks a milestone in the development of its Consumer Foods business. Bühler said it is the leader in the field of production equipment for chocolate mass and end products along the entire value chain. So far, Bühler has not been engaged in the market for wafer and biscuit production systems.
“We operate in the same markets and often serve the same customers, but there is no overlapping of our products and services,” Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Buhler Group said.
Bühler can offer its food customers new opportunities for diversifying, Scheiber said. He added that the two companies are identically positioned as quality providers and that they have the same corporate cultures as family-owned businesses that are based on trust and commitment to sustainability.
“It is hard to imagine a better basis for successful integration, and we will do everything in our power to generate added value for both our customers and our employees,” Scheiber said.
Bühler plans to make its global network of about 100 service stations accessible to Haas customers, develop complete solutions for the production of wafers, biscuits, and confectionery with chocolate, and integrate Haas in the innovation management network of Bühler.
The acquisition is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities. The closing of the transaction is scheduled for the end of 2017. The two parties have agreed not to disclose any contract details. The company will be headed by Germar Wacker, who took charge as CEO of Haas effective Sept. 5.