Bergman & Beving: The Original Serial Acquirer

CEO of Bergman & Beving

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Executive Bio

Magnus Söderlind

CEO of Bergman & Beving

Magnus is the current President and CEO of Bergman and Beving after joining the company in May 2021. He previously spent 15 years at Lagercrantz, a former B&B opco where he was responsible for M&A.Read more

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Interview Transcript

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How would you compare the journey of Lagercrantz and Bergman & Beving?

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When I started, the opportunity to get 10 plus profit margin with their company portfolio would have been challenging, if not impossible. Lagercrantz was very dependent on acquisitions, whereas the companies Bergman & Beving own today can easily reach 10% profit margins. The quality of businesses we own today is higher than Lagercrantz in 2007. The opportunities are greater but there are no quick fixes and it requires diligent persistent work across the group. I expect us to improve profit by 15% to 20% per year and profit margins by 0.5% to 1.5% per year in the coming years. We had that traction for the last two years and Lagercrantz increased profit margins by an average of 0.8% since 2017. Today, B&B has greater potential than Lagercrantz did.

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Bergman & Beving pioneered the serial acquisition model; why have they lagged behind other players over the last 10 to 15 years?

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Dagens industri, the leading Swedish business newspaper, had a two-page article about Bergman & Beving last autumn, and they labelled us the ancestor mother company of stock market rockets. We are the mother to four other listed serial acquirers on the Swedish stock exchange – Addtech, AddLife, Momentum Group and Lagercrantz. Addtech and Lagercrantz were spun off in 2001 when Bergman & Beving were called B&B Tools and, for a decade, the aim was to build one company. That was against the DNA of Bergman & Beving who had a high degree of decentralization. That was a period of centralization with an aim to integrate all product, wholesale and reseller companies in the group. B&B Tools acquired many resellers hoping to get excellent margins and high efficiency through those integrations, but that never materialized. In 2017, the owners spun off the reseller part which is now called the Alligo Group, also a Swedish listed company. We did the necessary clean up since 2020 and now have an expansion plan, having grown profits over the last 10 quarters. The main reason we are behind peers and other original Bergman & Beving companies is we had the ambition to become centralized, but that never created any value.

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Bergman & Beving: The Original Serial Acquirer(December 14, 2022)

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