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Blanco Professional shakes up ownership structure

Dr. Johannes Haupt (left), CEO of Blanc & Fischer family holding, and Blanco Professional MD Egon Kofler welcome Blanco Professional’s shares takeover. (Photo courtesy of: E.G.O.)

Blanco Professional, based in Oberderdingen, Germany, became 100% owned by the Blanc & Fischer family holding at end of March.

The holding company previously held around 70% of the shares, with the rest owned by individual descendants of company founder Heinrich Blanc.

Blanco Professional was founded in 2007 as a spin-off from Blanco GmbH + Co KG, which specialises in kitchen sinks and taps.

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“This is a very good development for Blanco Professional,” said Dr Johannes Haupt, CEO of Blanc & Fischer family holding, who is also chairman of the board of directors at Blanco Professional. “We look forward to shaping the future of Blanco Professional with a lot of confidence in the new ownership structure, which is currently facing a number of challenges through no fault of our own.

“While the other subgroups of Blanc & Fischer family holding are holding their own exceptionally well after a brief slump and have achieved their goals despite the difficulties of the pandemic, Blanco Professional, with its focus on the catering and industrial business units, suffered considerably from the consequences of corona. The company suffered a double-digit decline in sales in 2020, and this trend is expected to continue in 2021.

“It is therefore very important now to align the company quickly with high-growth business areas. This works better with a homogeneous shareholder structure that is completely owned by a strong, economically very solid corporate family. Coordination with a larger group of shareholders naturally takes more time, and the new structure supports resolute, quick action.”

Haupt emphasised that the decline in sales at Blanco Professional in the past and the current year was a logical consequence of the market situation, and he believes the company reacted quickly by developing a restructuring agreement that has been in force since the beginning of October 2020 and will run until the end of 2023, gradually cutting around 100 of the 700 jobs at the division.

Despite this, the CEO expects a certain amount of funding to be required over the next 2 years in order to partially realign the company: “The Blanc & Fischer family holding as the parent company can and will raise these funds without any problems, not least thanks to the positive developments at the other subgroups. And that is a worthwhile investment: we are absolutely confident that this company can also achieve the positive level of the other companies in our group.”

The funds will be invested primarily in the development and expansion of high-growth business areas. To this end, Blanco Professional has also been restructured in terms of corporate management: Egon Kofler took the reins as CEO in October 2020, and now at his side is Bernd Rupprecht, an experienced sales professional from the group who has taken on his new role at Blanco Professional on a permanent basis.

Kofler said: “We are in a difficult situation in an extremely challenging year. But this situation also offers opportunities. Because as hard as the cuts are, we are also convinced that we are laying the foundation for achieving sustainable success again in the medium term. We can and will achieve this together – at the Oberderdingen location, where we are clearly remaining.”

The primary goal is to build a competitive organisation, among other things by reducing structural and personnel costs. In addition, sales are to be restructured, the product portfolio, business areas and target groups are to be focused and the catering and industrial business units will operate largely independently in the future.

The new management sees great opportunities, for example, in the areas of hygiene and digitisation for professional kitchens. Kofler underlined: “Corona has increased the already great importance of hygiene in medical facilities and nursing homes. Here we are developing an attractive product portfolio that we will continue to expand and refine.

“We also see great potential for the future in the digitisation of professional kitchens. In private kitchens, digitalisation is above all a convenience issue that can also contribute to better cooking results. This also applies in professional kitchens, but digitalization is also a significant productivity factor there. We will see a further decline in sales this year, but from 2022 we will be back on the growth path.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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