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The former Voith division Leadec expands its industrial business

Master of hundreds of factories

ols. STUTTGART. Every day, online retailers around the world ship their parcels. The key element is the logistics service providers’ large distribution centers. There, the work is highly automated. "The package comes in at the delivery company’s and has to be identified. Then comes the sorting, and finally it has to find its way to the delivery vehicle," says Markus Glaser-Gallion, CEO of Leadec Holding BV & Co. KG. This requires sophisticated conveyor systems, which the Stuttgart-based industrial service provider plans, develops and maintains for its customers. So far, the company has not been active in the parcel delivery sector. But by acquiring Diversified Automation in America at the end of 2020, the company, which employs just under 20,000 people globally, has opened up a new sector. First in the USA. “But we are in talks with customers in Europe regarding such service offerings.”


The market for automation and software in the logistics industry is estimated at 2.5 billion euros globally, and 600 million euros in the special segment in America alone, according to the 57-year-old manager. With acquisitions, the company’s sales are now expected to exceed 1.5 billion euros by the end of 2023. The coronavirus has thus shifted the original planning by one year. But the pandemic is also opening up new opportunities. More hygiene concepts and start-up scenarios have been developed and implemented. The growth targets remain ambitious. This is because in 2020, sales fell by around 10 percent. They amounted to just under 800 million euros. In the same period of the previous year, this figure was slightly less than 900 million euros. The acquisition abruptly reduced the dependence on the automotive industry from 80 to 70 percent in the total sales of Leadec – Voith’s former industrial services division, which is now around 90 percent owned by the financial investor Triton and around 10 percent by the management. About two-thirds of sales are generated in Europe.


“Since the separation from Voith, we have focused on the manufacturing industry and sold business for about 150 million euros.”


The realignment was completed in early 2019, he said. The Swabian company works in more than 330 factories around the world, including 280 automotive assembly plants – and 30 factories that deal with internal combustion engines. The manager sees the changes in the industry toward electromobility as an opportunity to do new business. “We also want to get into retrofitting and thus benefit from the industry’s transformation.” As a result, he says, the company’s own field of services can be expanded. For example, he said, the company is planning a medium-sized factory for e-cars in Eastern Europe. Such projects are not only about analyzing the location, but also about whether it is a pure assembly plant or a production facility with body shop and press shop on site. Almost one-third of Leadec’s sales are project business, he says. Slightly more than two-thirds of sales are recurring – through technical cleaning and servicing of the plants, maintenance, in-plant logistics, or technical facility management.


Leadec has started 2021 with a decent order cushion. The company recently received a long-term follow-up order from a Daimler subsidiary in Thuringia. Around 50 employees are active on site there. The contract runs until the end of 2029. Such a long contract duration is rather unusual. Normally, it is often much shorter. Rather five years. For the current year, Glaser-Gallion expects sales of around 900 million euros and hopes to be able to return to the pre-pandemic level. He also has high hopes of the small acquisitions made in recent months – including in the engineering services business field. Smaller acquisitions are financed by the company itself, while the financial investor Triton contributes money for larger ones. This was the case with the latest acquisition in America.


Published in German, F.A.Z., Feb. 22, 2021, Business (Economy), Page 19 - Issue D3N, R0, R1 - 603 words © All rights reserved. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH, Frankfurt. Provided by Frankfurter Allgemeine Archiv


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