She is the top manager of the third generation family-owned electrical appliance wholesaler. Hege Amundsen Elvstad believes that Norwegian tax policy is now facilitating more foreign owners, but rejects all advances himself.
The answer is as short as it is specific.
– I will never sell.
Hege Amundsen Elvestad heads the company founded by his grandfather in 1946. Sverre Berggård Amundsen sold recycled cables from the German battleship Tirpitz. Today, Berggård Amundsen & Co is one of the largest wholesalers of electrical appliances in the country – and Norway’s only family-owned company.
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There is no shortage of offers, says Elvestad. Neither from the inside nor from the outside.
– We are a relatively large family business, and we have very good hardness. Of course, this makes us attractive.
But the company has always been quick to say it’s not very interesting, says Elvestad.
– We said as owners that we should create value for generations. It means, in a way, that we have ownership of the loans. I think I manage a value that I will pass on to my children and their cousins.
She says she sometimes gets questions about what it means to be a family business. of people who might imagine themselves sitting around the kitchen table making decisions.
– But we are a professional company. There are no family members on the board, for example.
– I think the value of our ownership format lies largely in short decision-making paths. You don’t need to travel to the main office in Paris, because we are right here. In addition, our long-term perspective — is that we dare to invest.
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billion growth in five years
As a wholesaler of electrical appliances, Berggård Amundsen & Co buys electrical products to sell to electricians, energy companies and industry.
The Company, together with its subsidiaries, has experienced very strong organic growth in recent years. In 2017, their revenue was around NOK 1.8 billion. Last year, trading volume was around NOK 2.9 billion, according to Elvestad. The accounts are not yet public.
– The shift began in 2011, when we had an 8 percent market share and felt exposed. Then we asked ourselves what it takes to grow.
The answer has been to enter new markets, such as renewable energy, and move into the frontier lands of pure wholesalerwholesalerA business that resells goods. One buys in larger quantities and distributes them to retailers, i.e. businesses that sell to end users. Do. Gradually, the family business struggled for market share. Elvestad says it now represents 15 percent of the market. And they have ambitions for more.
– Now we press on the gas with extra force. We are entering two new territories, for example we want to establish ourselves in Bodø.
On the bottom line, the company was left with 96 million last year. That corresponds to a profit margin of just over 3 percent — the level they’ve been at for several years.
– We have focused on profitability in growth. So, not growth at any cost, but incremental evolution, says Elvestad.
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– Very unlucky
A number of loud voices have criticized government business policy in the past year. The issue of framework conditions for Norwegian companies was also reinforced by a flight to Switzerland.
They also record the increased tax burden, says Hege Amundsen Elfstad.
– But we are doing well and we have the opportunity to apply the same dividend policy that we had.
At the same time, I feel like there’s more unpredictability now, and maybe other types of companies have to assess the situation differently than we do. This means that foreign owners are now being facilitated to a slightly greater extent, which is very unfortunate.
Is the government anti-business or is criticism exaggerated?
– There are very few long lines. After all, we want most of the profits to be returned to the company, and if the tax burden increases so much that we have to take more profits – which in turn means we can’t develop – then I think that’s very unfortunate.
– Are we there now?
– We’re doing it pretty well, so it’s not a challenge for us. But other types of companies will have this much ahead of us. I think it can be a little harsh to use the word “anti-industry”, but there is very little long term in it.
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