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Norican Group – Danish rising star

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Norican Global A/S is a Danish multinational corporation active in metal part formation and metal part preparation industry segments, from melting, dosing and moulding through to surface preparation. The company is well-known for their leading technology brands – DISA, Italpresse l Gauss, StrikoWestofen and Wheelabrator. It generates €500+ million in revenues, employees approximately 2,700 employees and serves 10,000+ customers in 100+ countries.

Norican recorded a record revenue and EBITDA performance in 2018 and for Norican Group’s Chairman, Mr. Jean-Marc Lechêne, and Altor’s (PE fund) lead partner Mr. Søren Johansen it seemed just the right time to pursue with the next phase of the strategic leadership. As reported by FoundryPlanet Mr. Anders Wilhjelm took over the operations in mid of 2019 after his predecessor’s decision to step back.

Norican Group’s goal is to become the world’s leading provider of metallic parts formation and preparation technology. The company aims to achieve this through a combination of organic and inorganic growth.

Norican Group - Infographic

No matter what, the Norican’s roots indeed are significantly linked to Robert E. Joyce Jr, ex CEO and President of Norican Global. In 2003, the Wheelabrator Group span out of USFilter, where he worked as an executive for 7 years. At the time, Wheelabrator was generating sales mainly in the USA. With the strategy to expand internationally, to broaden technical offer, to create a strong local aftermarket service network and to eliminate fixed capacity from the industry, the next step was obvious. The company pursued a merger with well-established European competitor (with a direct overlap in the surface preparation business) DISA. As a result of a merger, Norican Group was founded.

Strategically speaking, the above mentioned merger created three distinct advantages for the Norican Group. First, it allowed the elimination of fixed industry capacity in Europe. Second, Norican Group dramatically expand its technical offer to customers within the iron foundry segment as DISA was, and remains, the largest provider of vertical green sand moulding equipment in the world. Vertical sand moulding is the preferred process technology for the world’s disc brake manufacturers. Third, due to its established presence in the emerging markets, it accelerated the Norican growth in India and China. These three reasons drove the rationale behind the merger.

Post-merger integration came with two major challenges. The deal was subject to a German Bundeskartellamt “condition subsequent” divestiture requirement. No integration activities between Wheelabrator and DISA was allowed to occur until the indicated three business units were sold. By German consent decree, all three had to be managed by a third-party trustee in the mean time. No communications or management actions linked to the subject entities was allowed. It took the company nine months to sell off the three businesses before finally getting the approval by the German Government to begin the post-merger integration. Since the deal closed just before the Lehman Brothers collapse, the financial crisis hit the company operations in the worst moment. The revenues dropped significantly – around 30%. The character enabled the company to stay above the water.

After the financial crisis hit the focus of the Norican Group was on the recovery of the lost value. Cost cuts and innovation resulted in a unique growth platform for the years that followed. Norican Group emerged from the crisis in 2011/2012 stronger than before, with a much broader pipeline of innovative technologies.

At the time of Norican’s creation, a strategic decision was taken, that each strategic business model would be based on global lines of business. In other words, this means that each core brand, DISA and Wheelabrator, would be responsible for the global P&L statement for their respective technology offer. After the change, managers were held accountable for the entire customer and product line profitability. By moving to a global line of business, Norican Group successfully addressed the principal-agent problem and set the foundation for the value generation break-through. Without this change, country managers would never see the necessity to move production to another country to improve profits, since their goal would be to maximize their own profits.

Norican Group - Disa, Italpresse - Production-facility

The production facility of DISA, Norican Group’s leading brand

In 2017 Norican Group acquired StrikoWestofen, Italpresse and Light Metal Casting Solutions Group. The company realized the need for the regional consolidation of Sales, Production, Sourcing, IT etc. In this way it was ensured that the Global Product Groups would remain cost and quality competitive. What is more, the takeover of Light Metal Casting Solutions Group addressed the two long-term trends that are fundamentally transforming the market – 1) decreasing CO2 emission standards, 2) the resulting light-weighting of vehicles and 3) changing power sources. Vehicles produced today are getting smaller, more urban friendly and more efficient. As a result, the historically heavy,  structural components made of steel are being replaced with much lighter alloys that have similar or superior structural attributes. In most cases the beneficiary of this process is aluminium. Acquiring the Light Metal Casting Solutions Group, allowed the company to participate in the faster growing market segment within the automotive supply industry.

Today, Norican Global’s technology sits at the heart of best practice across industries, continually pushing forward the state of the art. A global network of engineering expertise, manufacturing capacity and service support ensures that they are where the customers need them to be, at every stage of their process and for every challenge the customers may face.

See the more detailed description of Norican Global leading brands:

  • DISA: End-to-end grey iron foundry equipment, encompassing DISAMATIC vertical moulding lines, DISA MATCH matchplate moulding and DISA FLEX horizontal moulding solutions, supported by sand plant solutions and core technologies.
  • Italpresse Gauss: Complete, integrated light alloy casting solutions, including machines and automatic work cells for high-pressure, low-pressure and gravity die casting, with specialist expertise in supplying work cells for the production of complex automotive castings.
  • StrikoWestofen: High-end furnace technology and heat treatment solutions for the global light metal casting industry, including StrikoMelter melting furnaces, Westomat dosing furnaces, as well as sophisticated continuous or batch-type heat treatment systems.
  • Wheelabrator: Surface preparation technology, spanning both wheel and air blast equipment, parts and services, as well as vibratory finishing solutions and subcontract shot peening services.

Read more about the Norican Group on their webpage – https://www.noricangroup.com.


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