Interview with Marius Kleger, CEO of VITARIS AG

The acquisition of VITARIS AG (VITARIS) by CHROMOS Group AG (CHROMOS Group) creates a group of corporates with exciting development opportunities in the life sciences sector, which can invest in strategic business areas...


The acquisition of VITARIS AG (VITARIS) by CHROMOS Group AG (CHROMOS Group) creates a group of corporates with exciting development opportunities in the life sciences sector, which can invest in strategic business areas and geographical growth. The common value base, is of great importance for the employees, clients and suppliers with regard to continuity.

IFBC supported the founder and owner of VITARIS, as exclusive Financial Advisor, in developing strategic options for the future of his company. In dialog, a long-term solution was developed and jointly implemented. In the sales process, IFBC, as M&A advisor, searched for the ideal buyer, developed the transaction structure and accompanied the contract and purchase price negotiations.

Marius Kleger remains CEO of VITARIS and will strategically develop the company in the Board of Directors of the CHROMOS Group together with the new owners Daniel and Christian Broglie. In the following interview, he provides an insight into their ambitions.

What does “A Difference in Life Sciences” mean to you?

The credo “A Difference in Life Sciences” has accompanied VITARIS since 2003. Things are the same and become interchangeable over time. We differentiate ourselves in the market by offering an exclusive selection of brands in combination with a high level of service competence, thus fulfilling the expectations of our clients. In principle, we offer holistic solutions. In this way, we create sustainable and good relationships with our clients and employees. Our niche strategy in the specialist trade has been successful for 20 years.

What trends do you see in the healthcare sector in the coming years?

Healthcare and also the research landscape will pick up speed in the future because a great deal is being invested in this area from both public and private investors. The natural growth will certainly increase in the next few years and shape the whole of Switzerland. About 40% of Swiss exports go through the Life Sciences sector. VITARIS is not active in development and production, but trades and provides services. On the one hand, there is a lot of potential in cell cultivation. On the other hand, we can also enter markets such as the beverage & food industry and the microbiology quality control laboratories there.

What will change for you after joining the CHROMOS Group?

Even after the merger, the focus is on the existing business – in this respect, little has changed. However, there are mutual efforts to get to know each other better. Further opportunities and synergies are now being explored and a new chapter in the success story is being written. In the life sciences industry, for example, monotonous and repetitive tasks will be performed more and more by cobots (collaborative robots) in the future. I also see new opportunities for VITARIS to align its range of services with this together with the CHROMOS Group. The topic of automation will keep us very busy in the future.

How did the motivation to set the course for the future come about?

As a growth-oriented entrepreneur, I regularly ask myself about options for further development. Moreover, it is not only my responsibility but also my aspiration to give the team a perspective. Knowing that the expectations of stakeholders are constantly increasing, I was looking for opportunities to exploit synergies and move into new business areas. This was the main motivation to hand VITARIS over to new owners.

What role do employees play in this process?

The employees play a central role at VITARIS. In the retail business, how well the team works together shows how good the company really is. I may be the owner of the company, but ultimately, committed employees achieve extraordinary results and create satisfied clients. That’s why we developed a step-by-step integration process internally, which was successfully implemented together with IFBC. The employees are convinced by the new solution and look positively into the future.

What were the key experiences in a buyer’s search?

With an attractive track record, a well-coordinated team and my personal commitment, the starting position was very good. However, it was a matter of making a complex decision for the future. Initially, financial investors and strategic investors were considered. In terms of sustainability, stability and prospects, I then preferred to work with a strategic investor. When drawing up the “shortlist”, the business models and mutual strategic understanding were examined in detail. The decisive factor was the common value base in terms of culture, quality and entrepreneurship. CHROMOS Group fulfilled all the points important to me and is the perfect “match”. This is connected with great thanks from my side to all parties involved. There were several parties evaluating each other, which naturally takes a lot of time and causes great emotions. IFBC brought an objective perspective, asked the right questions and successfully fulfilled the role of mediator.

What challenges did you encounter during the transaction?

I think we had to overcome the “normal” challenges. There were no extraordinary problems or setbacks. This is largely due to the very good preparatory work and the professional approach of IFBC. Personally, I was challenged by the transaction and the operational business at the same time, which meant an enormous double burden. Accordingly, external support absolutely paid off. These six months were a very instructive and intensive time for me.

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

I got to know IFBC on the occasion of a board seminar, where I was able to get an idea of their expertise in the field of M&A. The cooperation throughout the entire sales process was characterized by great transparency and mutual trust. I particularly appreciated the development of strategic options for the future of VITARIS. The preparation of the Information Memorandum was very well done and appealing, which aroused interest among potential buyers. The team developed a long-term solution and provided support through an objective and goal-oriented dialog. A holistic approach and tact allowed to engage with all stakeholders during the contract and purchase price negotiations. The effective added value of IFBC was that VITARIS and the CHROMOS Group found the perfect “match”, so that ultimately all interests were taken into account and all parties involved were satisfied.

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