One morning in October 2021, the stock exchange bell rang when fast-growing warehouse technology company Autostore swooped in as the second largest IPO ever in Norway. The success built from the small village of Nedre Vats, in the heart of an arm of the fjord in western Norway, has been mentioned frequently in the major economic newspapers.
On the other side of the country, which is well camouflaged among a number of industrial buildings in the Romanian enclaves of Klofta outside Oslo, construction is also in full swing. Over the course of nearly four decades, entrepreneur Dag-Adler Blakseth has grown logistics company Element Logic into a billion-dollar company.
Now they are betting abroad a lot.
Very strong growth
DN previously wrote about Element Logic when Dag-Adler Blakseth and his older brother Kjell Blakseth sold half of their business to a German takeover fund. The company was then valued at NOK 3 billion.
When the growth company now presents last year’s numbers, they show sales volume doubling for the second year in a row. Last year, the company had revenues of 490 million euros, which is equivalent to NOK 5.8 billion.
After the tax is settled, the company is left with a profit of just over NOK 300 million.
What makes the incredible journey we’ve been on is that we identified opportunities and took chances while they were there. They turned out to be much bigger than I had ever planned and could have dreamed of, says Founder and Managing Director Dag-Adler Blakseth.
He won’t predict the year’s results, but he doubts sales will double again.
What the company does is it buys components from various suppliers—everything from grid systems to boxes and robotic arms and software—adds its own technology and practically customizes an entire delivery of picking systems.
Among other things, Element Logic owns the distribution rights to Autostore, the company that supplies most of the Autostore systems in the world.
— There’s very strong growth in that market, and we’re growing out of the market, Blakseth says.
Autostore is valued at around NOK 82 billion on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
So far, growth has been significant in Scandinavia, Germany, Great Britain and the Czech Republic. Last year marked a milestone when the company moved from focusing on Europe only to entering the US market through acquisitions.
This year they are launching into the Asia Pacific region with a new office in Singapore. The group currently has around 830 employees.
– We view acquisitions as one way to grow in the future, especially in markets where we have little or no coverage today. Blackseth says Asia and the US are the two areas most relevant.
Recently, Element Logic was ranked the 20th largest system supplier by the American magazine Modern Material Handling. Directly above, at No. 19, is the Autostore.
“My ambition is to go beyond the Autostore,” says Blakseth.
After the billion-dollar deal two years ago, Blakseth is left with a chunk of the money: NOK 150 million after the sale and an ownership stake of about NOK 750 million. He does not agree with the direction of tax transfer.
Is moving right for you?
– no. I hope and believe that Norwegian politicians will correct the worst biases in wealth and dividend taxation.
How does wealth tax affect you?
This means that dividends must be taken to cover wealth tax, but Element Logic does not pay dividends. Blakseth says all Norwegian owners should be able to pay wealth tax based on what they took in when they sold in 2021.
German Castik Capital owns just over half of Element Logic.
Will there be an IPO?
It might just be a matter of time. I don’t think it’s appropriate from a five-year perspective, but if you think about ten years ahead, it might happen, says the entrepreneur.(conditions)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We’d like you to share our statuses using links that lead directly to our pages. Reproduction or other use of all or part of the Content may be made only with written permission or as permitted by law. For more terms see here.
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