Interview with Stefan Suter, co-founder and CEO of the Suter Group

Growth through mobile energy solutions

Author
IFBC Team
Date
30/11/2023

With the takeover of Swiss pellet pioneer Suter Gruppe AG (Suter Group) by Heizkurier GmbH (Heizkurier), the German company Nord Holding is positioning itself as the market leader for equipment-as-a-service for mobile heating solutions in the DACH region. The joint group benefits from significant synergies from the Suter Group's innovative pellet technology and extensive market access from Heizkurier in the region of Germany and Austria. This creates an ideal starting point for benefiting from the “sustainability” megatrend in the DACH region.

IFBC supported the owners of the Suter Group as exclusive financial and M&A advisor throughout the sales process. In particular, IFBC developed the transaction structure, assisted in preparing the financial due diligence and assisted with contract and purchase price negotiations. The existing management and founders of the Suter Group took part in the merger.

Dominik Suter, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Suter Group, shares his thoughts on the change of ownership in the following interview.

Can you tell us more about the strategic reasons behind the change of ownership?

The Suter Group is solution-oriented, innovative and has been passionately committed to the concerns of its customers — for over 40 years. The time had come to take growth to the next level and we knew that we could count on great demand in the DACH region — together with a strong partner. The merger is therefore a consistent step towards our vision of internationalization.

How was the process received by employees?

Our specialists and experts make the difference for customers. They are the ones who guarantee the perfect solutions that are expected from us. All people involved have shown a high degree of flexibility and have mastered the balancing act between day-to-day business and transaction-specific issues. During the sales process, we also ensured that employees were given attractive prospects. We are very proud of our colleagues from the Suter team.

What are the future challenges associated with mobile heating solutions?

I consider increasing the energy efficiency of mobile systems to be the biggest challenge. That is why our pellet heating systems have been equipped with intelligent components that have digitized and automated various processes such as maintenance, service, redelivery of raw materials or billing. The result: Optimized process flows and continuous development in the area of digitization and automation.

How is the combined company meeting the sustainability megatrend?

The energy revolution is in full swing and the idea of sustainability even during construction is being focused on in many places (façade heating, floor drying, etc.). This has positive effects on the CO2 balance of the respective country and makes people and nature happy at the same time. We are grateful to be able to make a significant contribution through our highly modernized mobile pellet heating systems.

What expectations can customers have for future cooperation?

Together with Heizkurier, we are focusing on the rapidly increasing need for energy-efficient renovation in many ways. Examples include: emission savings in both the construction and event industries, as well as in energy supply in the form of temporary district heating solutions. The strengths of both companies will help to further expand the market potential for sustainable energy in mobile heating.

What aspects and challenges shaped the transaction and negotiations?

As a dynamic second-generation family business, the transaction process for the Suter Group was also characterized by emotional moments. At the beginning, it was necessary to structure the transaction cleanly and quickly provide the buyer with a transparent, comprehensible and comprehensible data basis. The negotiations were very well prepared by IFBC, conducted constructively and concluded to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

What added value did the collaboration and dialogue with IFBC have for you?

The collaboration with IFBC was based on extensive expertise in the area of “Clean Energy Transition”. This was complemented by top-class technical skills in M&A and professional project management. With the support of IFBC, we have not only found an investor in Heizkurier and Nord Holding, but also a long-term strategic partner.

Dominik Suter, a graduate of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) from 2004 to 2009, is a renowned serial entrepreneur and investor. Since 2009, he has successfully founded companies, including a technology startup that was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2016. He has made a name for himself as a member of the Board of Directors of Suter and Board of Directors of companies in the construction, real estate and food sectors. His commitment to sustainable investments, e.g. as a co-owner and board member of Artha AG, reflects his ongoing quest for innovation. Dominik Suter remains a pioneer in entrepreneurial success and makes a significant contribution to the development of various industries.

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