“The merger has gone very well in all respects. The purpose of this acquisition was not to streamline or to reduce the staff, but to gain genuine synergy advantages and to combine forces,” says Heikki Hiltunen, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service at Danfoss Drives.
A long-time member of staff at Vacon, Hiltunen admits that at first he was a little sceptical about the acquisition, but he quickly became convinced of the Danish buyer’s good intentions.
“I don’t think Vacon could have asked for a better buyer. I felt very quickly that Danfoss was genuinely interested in development and that we were being heard.”
The fact that Danfoss and Vacon are both Nordic companies doubtless helped them to implement the merger with ease. But there were some cultural differences too, according to Hiltunen.
“Vacon has always invested a great deal in its brand and right from the start the company has been bold and forward-looking. Danfoss has longer traditions and functions with a more product-oriented approach; the company has always invested in quality and reliability. I think we both can learn from each other in this respect.”
In terms of products, Vacon and Danfoss complement each other extremely well. In fact, so well that it came as somewhat of a surprise how few overlapping functions there were between them. Vacon is a strong operator in demanding industrial AC drives, whereas Danfoss focuses on infrastructure automation, water treatment and the food industry. In all these applications, AC drives save electricity and boost energy efficiency.
Despite the merger, Vacon’s name and brand will remain on the products themselves.
“I’m convinced that this acquisition is a great thing also for Vaasa, Vacon’s birthplace. Our target is to grow faster than average in this industry, and this is good news also for the Vaasa plant,” Hiltunen says.
Business sector: Infrastructure, food, energy and climate
Net sales (2014): €4.6 billion
Major markets: USA, Germany and China