No nuts, no glory
Office Furniture is a very cyclical business. Which company treats itself to new furniture when sales decline and profits dwindle? So who would buy an office furniture producer in the middle of the mother of all economic downturns? Well, Nimbus did and has not regretted it.
Sitag is a Swiss producer of office furniture. Sitag used to be part of Samas, a quoted holding company in the Netherlands, which owned a substantial group of European office furniture companies. Faced with a deep economic crisis Samas chose to sell off many of its businesses. A difficult task at a time where all potential buyers know that the future will be a lot worse than the past, all banks are closed for acquisition financing and all strategic buyers have their own problems to solve.
Nimbus, eager to try to come to a deal, met with management in Switzerland and was immediately impressed. After having talked to almost ten banks for financing, Nimbus managed to negotiate a deal within months and braced for impact. This impact came in the form of a 56% decline in sales in the first year of ownership. At the same time a new SAP system had to be implemented so as to operate independently from Samas. Thanks to a cost reduction program and full utilization of the new, crisis induced shorter work labour laws Nimbus and Sitag management steered the company to a break-even result. The growing sales in the subsequent years on the back on new products pushed Sitag higher on its trend line of improved structural profitability
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