Die Willy Vogel AG – Passing the torch to the future

Automobile fan Willy Vogel founded the firm which bears his name in 1929. It is now the market leader for central lubrication systems for machinery, plants, commercial and railway vehicles, and a specialist supplier of hydraulic pumps. In 1988, when she was 89 years old, his widow decided to arrange for the company to be passed on to a new generation. Together with the HANNOVER Finanz Group, which gave an assurance that the company would not be sold in her lifetime, the management took over the company. Lotte Vogel lived to the age of 104. In 2004, the business was sold to the Swedish SKF Group. Today, the Berlin-based company employs around 1,000 people worldwide, with annual sales of over 140 million euros.

The results

The management buy-out financed by the HANNOVER Finanz Group ensured the future of the medium sized company. The partnership enabled the responsible owners

  • to secure the continued existence of the company in the future and thus preserve jobs,
  • to expand and strengthen its international market leadership, and
  • in this way to make the business attractive to a further purchaser and integrate it in an existing new group of companies.

The partnership

The HANNOVER  Finanz Group retained its investment for 16 years. Until 1988 the business, already a joint stock company, remained in the hands of the founder’s widow. Together with the management, HANNOVER Finanz structured a holding company which acquired all the shares in Willy Vogel AG. The management took up shares, making the step towards entrepreneurship. The shareholders stood by the company through all the subsequent ups and downs, selling it by mutual consent after the death of the owner.

Since 2004, Willy Vogel AG has been an independent company within the Swedish SKF Group, the global market leader in the fields of antifriction bearings, ball bearings and seals.

The entrepreneur’s view

Manfred Neubert: “The new investors have taken special account of the interests of the owner and the management. Furthermore, the chemistry is right. The people involved convinced the management that they would be able to ensure growth for the company. The partnership is also good for the management, as it encourages well-considered investments to maximize profits in the long term.

Some investment companies are only interested in short-term profits. They forget that they are supposed to finance long-term developments and ideas in order to allow the business to grow profitably. In contrast, the partnership with HANNOVER Finanz was a long-term venture.”