Strabag: Takeover of Swiss Companies

Published: March 8, 2011; 00:08 · (Vindobona)

Strabag becomes third-largest construction company in Switzerland with acquisition of Brunner Erben and Astrada. Output increases up to € 615m.

Strabag: Takeover of Swiss Companies / Picture: © Strabag SE

The Austrian construction company Strabag, today announced the simultaneous acquisition of two established Swiss companies, Brunner Erben Holding AG, Zurich, and Astrada AG, Subingen (Solothurn).

“These acquisitions illustrate our strong commitment to the Swiss market and our determination to be a leading player in each of our key countries,” says Hans Peter Haselsteiner, CEO of Strabag. “Through these acquisitions, we will nearly double our output volume in Switzerland and are enhancing our presence in Zurich and Bern, two very important regional markets. In 2011, we expect to generate combined annual revenues in Switzerland of about CHF 800 m (€ 615 m) and therewith to become the third-largest construction company in the country. We are determined to continue to expand our market presence from this level in order to operate nationally across all of Switzerland.”

With a combined revenue of around CHF 320 m (€ 245 m) and a wide geographical presence, the simultaneous acquisition of Brunner Erben and Astrada represented a highly attractive opportunity to improve the company´s strategic position on the Swiss market. Both companies have a long-standing tradition in their respective regions and have a combined workforce of around 1,000 well-trained employees.

Brunner Erben is a construction company with a regional focus in Zurich and eastern Switzerland and offices in Zurich, Kreuzlingen and St. Gallen. The previously family-owned company is active on the Swiss market in the fields of civil engineering (special foundation engineering and road construction), building construction (incl. wood building) and transport and has smaller investments in the fields of construction materials. The company generates an output volume of about CHF 210 m (€ 160 m). The approximately 700 employees will continue their work within the Strabag Group. The Brunner Erben brand name and offices will remain. General contractor ARIGON is not part of the transaction and Peter Murbach, the previous sole owner of Brunner Erben, will maintain 100 % ownership of the company.

Astrada’s regional focus is on the cantons of Solothurn and Bern. The company maintains six offices and is active with about 350 employees in the fields of road and ground-level construction, railway and civil engineering, and industrial and residential construction. Astrada’s output volume amounts to about CHF 110 m (€ 85 m). Strabag will also take on all employees from Astrada and maintain the brand name.

Peter Murbach, the sole owner of Brunner Erben, and Peter Fritschi, the sole owner of Astrada, jointly approached Strabag to discuss the possibility of a synchronous acquisition. “Both of us were confronting a succession issue in connection with our respective companies,” says Peter Murbach. “Securing the best possible future for our employees and their families, for our suppliers and business partners, and for our many loyal clients was our common objective from the beginning.”

Peter Fritschi adds: “We are very happy to have found in Strabag a highly qualified and committed new owner for our respective companies. The fact that the leading European company Strabag has decided to become the new owner of Brunner Erben and Astrada is recognition of the quality of the companies, and of the efforts and contributions made by many generations of loyal employees. We would like to express our special recognition and gratitude to them at this time.”

The transaction was structured and managed on behalf of Brunner Erben and Astrada by 2thePoint, a Zürich-based M&A firm. “We are pleased to have assisted Mr. Murbach and Mr. Fritschi in selecting the best possible new owner for their companies,” said Eduardo Schindler, founder & CEO of 2thePoint.

The transaction was completed with the support of Alexander Vogel from Meyer Lustenberger as legal advisor to STRABAG, and of Michael Trippel from Bär & Karrer as legal advisor and Rudolf Balsiger from Dr. Balsiger & Partner as tax advisor to Brunner Erben and Astrada.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the conditions of the transaction. The transaction will take effect retroactively to 1 January 2011 pending approval by the Swiss Competition Commission.