As of 1 January 2004, the pump manufacturing Grundfos Group, whose main office is situated in Denmark, has taken over 94 percent of the shares in the German based pump manufacturing group Hilge.
With the takeover Grundfos expands its product portfolio and hopes to achieve a synergy effect in sales. The foundation Stiftung Berdelle - Hilge owns the remaining six per cent of the shares. Two family businesses of proud traditions have thus come together.
While Grundfos develops and manufactures pumps for nearly any purpose within the field of fluid transportation, Hilge specialises in a rather more specific area. The company focuses exclusively on the development of pumps that meet the particularly strict hygienic requirements of breweries and the dairy, food and pharmaceutical industries.
The products of the two companies will not be competing with each other. On the contrary, Grundfos Executive Vice President Søren Ø. Sørensen considers Hilge's quality stainless steel pumps to be a valuable addition to the Group's own product range.
"We highly respect the extensive know-how that Hilge has gained over time. Hilge has great expertise in flexible production and its pumps enjoy an extremely positive reputation. By adding them to our extensive range of industrial pumps and digital dosing pumps, we are able to offer even more attractive solutions to the industries that must comply with particularly strong demands for hygiene", says Søren Ø. Sørensen.
It has been decisive for the realisation of the acquisition that Grundfos - like Hilge - places great emphasis on sustainable relations with customers as well as employees and the public in general. So far, Grundfos has substantiated the honourable intentions with all its acquisitions. Following the acquisition by Grundfos, the turnover of all the acquired companies has increased and today they account for 17 per cent of the total Grundfos Group turnover.
Last year, Hilge’s turnover was approximately € 30m. In the course of only a few years Grundfos expects to double Hilge's turnover.
According to the former owner, Mrs. Hannelore Berdelle-Hilge, the resemblance between the basic values of the two companies is striking.
"It has definitely not been difficult for me to identify with Grundfos' values, in their briefest form known as Be responsible-Think ahead-Innovate. Like Grundfos, Hilge has based its growth on treating its customers like partners - and on the unusually strong dedication, motivation and responsibility demonstrated by its employees. Both companies face the challenges of the future by developing creative and innovative solutions - often in close collaboration with universities and research institutions - and always with respect for the needs of our customers", says Mrs. Berdelle-Hilge.
Grundfos will continue to market Hilge's products in Hilge's own name. On the German, Austrian, French, British and Swiss markets, it will happen through existing distribution channels while, on other markets, it will happen through Grundfos' extensive network of sales companies. Rainer Pfeffer continues as General Manager of Hilge while Grundfos' Executive Vice President Søren Ø. Sørensen becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Over the years, Grundfos has taken over several small companies to enter new markets or to expand its product range and, according to Group President Jens Jørgen Madsen, Hilge will not be the last:
"We will continue this process methodically. We are constantly on the look-out - both here from Bjerringbro, Denmark, and in our regions abroad", he says.
Facts about Hilge
Hilge is one of the world's leading manufacturers of pumps for the pharmaceutical and food industries. Furthermore, the company develops customised industrial solutions as well as solutions within environmental and surface technology.
Hilge consists of three production companies in Germany, France and Switzerland and of smaller installation, service and distribution companies in England, Austria and India. The rest of the industrialised world is serviced through cooperative partners.
About 60 per cent of Hilge's 200 employees work in the main office in Bodenheim, Germany.
Hilge is a company with strong traditions and values. It was originally founded by Peter Hilge in 1862 as a foundry in Mainz. Until Grundfos took over on 1 January 2004, Mrs. Hannelore Berdelle-Hilge owned Hilge and she represents the third generation of the owners' family.