Germany: Management Buyout of Schüco’s Collector Production
Newly founded German company SolMetall has purchased Schüco’s assembling line for collectors and mounting systems and will continue to produce the products previously offered by Schüco. The three former Schüco employees who founded SolMetall in the German town of Spenge near Bielefeld on 14 January 2013 were Alexander Altemeier (former Purchasing Manager Production Plants), Uwe Berg (former Head Collector Factory) and Andreas Rosenwirth (former Head Collector Development). “Each of us owns 8 % of the company. The other 76 % of the shares are held by German Surikate Mittelstands AG,” confirms Berg, one of the three Managing Directors of SolMetall. The involvement of Surikate is no coincidence, as its subsidiary Schmöle had been a supplier to Schüco’s collector production since 1998.
“Uwe Berg and his colleagues had already contacted us in November 2012 with the idea of purchasing Schüco’s assembling equipment,” confirms Frank Kahle of the Surikate Mittelstands AG. “Because the investment in SolMetall was a good match for our portfolio, it allowed us to complete a cooperation agreement in only a few weeks.” Surikate’s aim has been to acquire shares in midsized manufacturers in the field of heating technology.
Schüco had developed a new joining technology called “Heat Transfer Technology”. This technology shown in the picture below has the absorber plate (1 in the figure below) and the meander pipes (3 in the figure above) surrounded by an omega-shaped heat conduction sheet (number 2) and glued together. “We did comprehensive tests in 2007 and 2008 and found out that the newly developed technology with the heat conduction sheet performs better and last longer than absorbers joined with ultrasonic and laser welding,” explains Berg.
Since 2008, Schüco had completely shifted to absorber models with heat conduction sheet and SolMetall will continue to offer collectors and absorbers based on this technology. The difference to Schüco, however, is that SolMetall only supplies wholesalers, distributors and OEM customers. “We do not directly deliver collectors to installers or even end consumers, which means we do not compete with Schüco, but will supply the company with OEM collectors,” says Berg. SolMetall’s staff consists entirely of former Schüco employees.