The Haas Group, the Austrian world market leader of wafer, biscuits, and confectionery production systems, is now part of the Bühler Group. The related acquisition contract was signed in Vienna last week. Whereas this strategic acquisition enables Bühler to complete its Consumer Foods product portfolio, it offers Haas access to the resources of the global Bühler organization, especially its roughly 100 service stations and its innovation network. “Out of a position of strength, we are entrusting the future of our company to the family-owned Bühler Group. This allows us to create the best possible conditions for successfully continuing the development of our business, for the benefit of both our customers and our employees,” says Johann Haas, member of the Supervisory Board. “We have entertained friendly relationships with Haas for years. Together, we can generate significant added value for our customers while at the same time opening up new prospects for the employees of Haas,” says Bühler CEO Stefan Scheiber. In the context of the transaction, jobs and locations of Haas are secured.  

Haas, a family-owned company, was set up in Vienna more than 100 years ago as a metalworking shop. In the middle of the last century, it began manufacturing wafer machinery. Over the following decades, Haas evolved into a global leader in the field of production systems for wafers, hard and soft biscuits, ice cream cones, cakes, and baked goods. These activities were complemented with a minor business field as a supplier of automotive parts. With its global workforce of 1750, Haas generates sales revenues of about EUR 300 million and operates its own manufacturing sites in 6 countries. With the current transfer of the company to Bühler, the former owners want to continue the long-term success of the business. “Today’s market and technology trends, whose impact and speed will continue to increase, have prompted us to take this step,” says Johann Haas. He continues by saying that the capability of offering complete solutions and of further automating and digitizing them will become increasingly important in the future. He believes that this requires a certain corporate size with a strong global presence and the related customer proximity, as well as high capital investment power. “Bühler offers precisely this environment. It is for this reason that we sought exclusive talks with them on the change in ownership, and we are glad to have found a sound and future-oriented solution for all the parties involved,” says Haas.

For Bühler, this strategic acquistion marks a milestone in the development of its Consumer Foods business. Bühler is the market leader in the field of production equipment for chocolate mass and end products along the entire value chain. So far, Bühler has not been engaged in the promising market for wafer and biscuit production systems. “We operate in the same markets and often serve the same customers, but there is no overlapping of our products and services,” says Bühler CEO Scheiber. Now, he continues, Bühler can offer its food customers new opportunities for diversifying. He adds that the two companies are identically positioned as quality providers and that they have the same corporate cultures as family-owned businesses that are based on trust and committed to sustainability. “It is hard to imagine a better basis for successful integration, and we will do everything in our power to generate added value for both our customers and our employees,” says Bühler CEO Scheiber.

Thus, Bühler will make its global network of about 100 service stations accessible to Haas customers, develop complete solutions for the production of wafers, biscuits, and confectionery with chocolate, and integrate Haas in the innovation management network of Bühler. What is more, together with the powerful presence of Bühler in Asia, new opportunities will be unlocked in this important growth market for wafer and biscuit products.

The successful execution of these plans requires the full commitment of all the employees of both Haas and Bühler. “We have profound respect for what Haas and its workforce have accomplished over the past decades,” says Bühler CEO Scheiber. “We warmly welcome every single employee of Haas to the Bühler family and will join forces with them to continue the success of these business fields,” says Scheiber. “What we must do now is seize these unique opportunities and make the best out of them,” he says.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities. The closing of the transaction is scheduled for the end of 2017. The two parties have agreed not to disclose any contract details. The company will be headed by Germar Wacker, who took charge as CEO of Haas effective September 5, 2017. In Wacker, Haas has found a top manager with a proven track record who can look back on an impressive and successful career and who was at last in charge for the Mainline & Metros division at Bombardier.