The merger of Haas and Bühler is progressing steadily. We talked with Germar Wacker and asked him about the current status and what should be considered especially in this phase.
“Following the announcement of the acquisition of Haas by Bühler, we are now going through a formally regulated phase where the merger of the two companies is checked by the competition authorities. In brief, the authorities are looking whether the acquisition will affect the competition situation in the market. During this critical phase, the so-called implementation ban applies. All actions which anticipate the economic impact of the merger are prohibited. That means: Haas and Bühler are separate, self-responsible companies. It also means: no common market development, no integration, no common strategy development or other topics which are permissible under the normal business conduct of two independent self-responsible companies according to law and order. Therefore, the contacts between the two companies are still very strict and restricted.”
„At the moment there is an intensive cooperation in the area of “finance and legal“ with focus on a) the preparation of the needed documents which must be submitted to the competition authorities and b) the fulfillment of preparatory actions necessary to complete the transfer of ownership. So here is the focus of the contacts. In addition, clarifications will be made on very pragmatic, permissible preparatory actions needed for the time after the closing. For example, the IT department checks efficient communication tools and systems for the collaboration of the two companies. Marketing prepares content to bring the companies closer together, to introduce them to the employees and to introduce the companies to each other. However, there is also a first exchange on possible common trade fair appearances in September 2018. The contents of all these conversations are immediately necessary to reach the closing, or are activities that should form the basis today for a close communication between the two companies. In addition, we pay close attention, to keep the contacts limited under the legal aspect – this means that two independent companies act independently on the market.”
“Let us look a little further beyond the closing. I reported in my last interview, that we at Bühler and Haas will make an ongoing inventory on topics where we see advantages for both companies in the short and medium term and how we want to position ourselves for this in the future. Therefore, Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler AG, was here in Leobendorf for a short visit on Wednesday, October 25. The focus of the cooperation will be on more comprehensive customer support, material and component purchasing, service and the development of digital products. On this occasion, we were able to discuss not only content priorities but also the organizational structures of both houses in order to build bridges. A short factory tour was also on the program. In this first exchange, it was also about the time frame for the preparation of the 2018 budget and how these processes at Bühler look like; always under the close attention to the very limited coordination opportunities offered by the current legal framework.” But now back to work for our customers – they deserve our full attention – and we still have a lot to do this year!