POSSEHL Mittelstandsbeteiligungen GmbH – PMB for short – specializes as a long-term investor in SMEs without succession planning. In addition, PMB acts as an incubator for new business areas within the POSSEHL Group. The best example: the labeling systems division, which emerges as a separate business unit after only six years due to a successful buy-and-build strategy. The balance: strong growth, targeted expansion and an 8x increased valuation.
INCUBATOR FOR NEW BUSINESS AREAS
What is less well known is that PMB also takes on the role of incubator for new business areas within the POSSEHL Group. The goal: to identify industries and technology areas with high future potential and then continuously build them up. As part of a targeted buy-and-build strategy, a powerful area around print & apply and labeling systems with high future potential was built up and established as a separate business unit in 2017. “This buy-and-build strategy is the logical continuation of our already long-term oriented commitment as an investor,” says PMB CEO Stefan Grenzebach. “In doing so, we combine the organic development of the individual companies with strategic acquisitions – making each individual company and the entire sector stronger.”
LABELLING SYSTEMS AS AN EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS
The first milestone was the acquisition of Logopak – a specialist in print & apply systems for product labeling. Further potential quickly became apparent in this area – both for geographical and technical additions. The buy-and-build decision for labeling systems was the logical consequence.
In 2014, the Danish LSS was acquired – and with it a strong footprint in Scandinavia as well as expertise in the pharmaceutical sector. This was followed by the carve-out of the German NOVEXX Solutions from the American Avery Group in 2015. The global partner network and suitable additions to the product portfolio were of particular strategic value to the division. Further milestones were the acquisition of the Italian company EIDOS and the Swedish label manufacturer Nordvalls in 2017 as well as the Italian manufacturer Etipack in 2019. In 2020, the label business was further expanded through the acquisition of a majority stake in the English company The Watermill Press Ltd.
With a modern product range, wide-ranging expertise and high software competence, the Group offers diverse and also individual solutions for the development, manufacture and sale of logistically integrated labeling systems as an interface between production and logistics, as well as digital thermal transfer printers. In addition, there are self-adhesive labels and thermal transfer films.
The division has an exceptionally high level of expertise in the field of software solutions. In addition to its own firmware, the division also develops software packages for label design and database connection. Most recently, with the acquisition of a majority stake in datakamp System GmbH & Co. KG, the competence in this business area was strengthened.
“Each company has its own strengths and a rock-solid position in the market. Each could function well on its own – but as a group, we significantly increase our clout,” comments Dietrich Barsch. And the facts prove PMB right.
DECISION ON SPIN-OFF
As an interim highlight of the growth story, the labeling systems division was established as the eighth separate business unit within the POSSEHL Group in 2017. The decision was made when the EUR 100 million sales barrier was exceeded and the outlook was for further growth. With around 880 employees in 13 countries, the division now generates annual sales of around €160 million.
This development is closely linked to Dietrich Barsch, who has been in charge of Logopak and NOVEXX Solutions within PMB from the very beginning and has also played a key role in the acquisitions. Dietrich Barsch, who now heads the entire division, is correspondingly positive about the future: “With the latest acquisitions, we are in a very good position to further strengthen each company and the division as a whole. In doing so, we will continue to rely on a healthy, long-term combination of organic growth and strategic effects.”
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