Alfa Laval AB History

Rudeboksvägen 1
SE-226 55 Lund

Telephone: (46) 36 65 00
Fax: (46) 32 35 79

Public Company
Incorporated: 1883 as AB Separator
Employees: 9,358
Sales: SEK 13.9 billion (2003)
Stock Exchanges: Stockholm
Ticker Symbol: ALFA
NAIC: 333999 All Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing; 334513 Instruments and Related Product Manufacturing for Measuring Displaying, and Controlling Industrial Process Variables; 332410 Power Boiler and Heat Exchanger Manufacturing

Company Perspectives:

Alfa Laval's daily work is inspired by constant effort to increase added value for customers. Satisfied customers create a company with competitive, continuous value growth for shareholders. Alfa Laval's four business principles include: optimizing the use of natural resources is our business; respect for human rights is fundamental; high ethical standards guide our conduct; and our commitment to open dialogue builds trust.

Key Dates:

Gustaf de Laval begins to develop the first Swedish milk separator.
De Laval and Oscar Lamm, Jr., create AB Separator (ABS).
The Alfa patent is acquired.
British De Laval Chadburn Co. changes its name to Alfa-Laval Co., a wholly owned ABS company.
ABS changes its name to Alfa-Laval AB.
Sharples Separator Co. is acquired.
Tetra Pak Group purchases Alfa-Laval.
The hyphen is removed from the Alfa Laval corporate name.
Industri Kapital acquires the Alfa Laval group.
Alfa Laval is relisted on the stock market.

Company History:

Alfa Laval AB operates as a leader in the heat transfer, centrifugal separation, and fluid handling industries. The company's heat exchangers are used for heating, cooling, freezing, ventilation, evaporation, and condensation of fluids. Alfa Laval's separation business dates back to its roots as a cream separator in 1883. Its separators are now used in the food processing and chemical industries, on ships and oil rigs, in wastewater treatment plants, and in businesses that purify industrial fluids. Its fluid handling pumps and valves are used in the production of beverages, dairy products and other foods, pharmaceutical products, and health and personal care products. Alfa Laval's products are sold in over 100 countries to customers in the process technology and equipment markets.

Early History

In 1877, the Swedish engineer Gustaf de Laval began to develop the first Swedish milk separator. A year later, he secured a patent for his design. After graduating from Uppsala University, de Laval entered the Technological Institute and passed the final examination in 1866. Times were hard, and de Laval was forced to take a position as clerk in the general store at the Falun mines; an engineer with a first-class diploma, he weighed out nails, herring, and salt to miners. In 1867, however, de Laval received a grant from the Swedish House of Lords and pursued advanced studies at Uppsala University in 1872, receiving the degree of doctor of philosophy.

The process of mechanically separating cream and milk through the physical application of centrifugal force was first exploited in 1876 by Wilhelm Lefeldt in Germany and two years later in Denmark by L.C. Nielsen. The latter technology was acquired by Burmeister & Wain of Copenhagen in 1882. Lefeldt and Nielsen's separators could not work continuously, unlike Gustaf de Laval's superior system. On February 26, 1878, de Laval entered into partnership with Swedish engineer Oscar Lamm. Together they founded the trading company Oscar Lamm, Jr., of Stockholm. The partnership was successful, with de Laval in charge of the technical side and Lamm the financial and commercial aspects of the business. Lamm tried to interest influential agents in Europe, among these H.C. Petersen & Company, Copenhagen; Bergedorfer Eisenwerk near Hamburg; Th. Pilter, Paris; the trading firm D. Hald & Company, London; and Boeke & Huidekooper of Groningen in the Netherlands. In the company's first year of business, 1879, overseas sales accounted for 50 percent of the company's turnover. Foreign demand for cream separators rose sharply, and in 1883 around 80 percent of sales were from overseas. Almost 97 percent of exports were sold through foreign distributors in the more industrially advanced countries. The product in question was the energy-intensive, power-driven cream separator. Manual cream separators were not introduced until 1887.

The company did not set up a domestic marketing division until four years after it had established its foreign distribution network. Its agents were already specialized in marketing dairy equipment, and cream separators complemented their existing product mix.

Four other European companies also manufactured power-driven cream separators in the late 1870s. They were Nielsen & Petersen--from 1882 owned by Burmeister & Wain--in Denmark, and Lefeldt, Fesca, and Petersen in Germany. The industrial exploitation of this process was protected by patent. The holder of the patent for the separation method secured temporary legal protection against imitation and had the opportunity of gaining an international monopoly. The patent on the application of centrifugal force for separating milk and cream, which had been granted in 1884, expired in the countries in which it had first been granted in 1892--namely, in Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, and the United States--and in countries where these patents had subsequently been registered. The reason no domestic cream separator industry had evolved in more industrially advanced countries like the United Kingdom and France is probably that foreign patent registrations from the late 1870s blocked the establishment of an indigenous industry until the beginning of the 1890s.

ABS Is Formed in 1883

The work that Oscar Lamm put in during his travels produced positive results, and overseas sales increased during 1880. The growth of the business demanded another form of collaboration between the two partners, and a limited company was the natural solution. On April 5, 1883, the company's statutory meeting was held, with de Laval and Lamm as the major shareholders. Oscar Lamm controlled 48 percent of the company shares and Gustaf de Laval 47 percent. The remaining 5 percent of the company was controlled by four individual members of the new board. Lamm was chairman of the board and managing director. In the same year, the company, named AB Separator (ABS), established a subsidiary in the United States. The managing director for this new company, the De Laval Cream Separator Company, was J.H. Reall of New York. He was not an engineer, nor did he own a workshop, but edited and published the Agriculture Review and the Journal of the American Agricultural Association. The Swedish separators were manufactured by P. Sharples of Westchester, New York. In 1886, Oscar Lamm left the corporation as managing director and was replaced by John Bernström in 1887. Gustaf de Laval was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and to the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. In the United Kingdom, the Dairy Supply Company, ABS's main customer, became sole agent.

At the same time, Gustaf de Laval constructed a turbine engine that could be used as a power source for the separator. A very important acquisition was the Alfa patent, bought in 1889 from a German, Clemens von Bechtolsheim.

In the years prior to 1890, the Danish company Burmeister & Wain won an ever-increasing share of the market. Burmeister & Wain was a major competitor both in Denmark, where it almost ousted ABS, and after 1883 in the international market. ABS marketed a product inferior to that of Burmeister & Wain, since its cream separator had a lower skimming capability. In the short term, however, ABS managed to increase its sales because of the high demand from small dairies overseas, which Burmeister & Wain could not yet cater to effectively. Burmeister & Wain's dominant market position in Denmark, ABS's decline in that market, and Lefeldt's inferior position in relation to foreign competitors in its home market, Germany, can be taken as evidence of the key importance of product quality to company growth.

When ABS began to find it hard to sell power-driven separators, it fitted them out with a new energy source--the turbine. At the same time, ABS launched its manual cream separators in the hope of reaching new groups of customers. Fourteen years were to pass before another Swedish company established itself in the Swedish and overseas markets. Before this competition had begun to seriously threaten ABS's future, the market was broadened to include more countries.

Overcoming Competition: 1890s-Early 1900s

More Swedish companies began to establish themselves in the home market when de Laval's patent ran out shortly after 1890. A new wave of patent registrations took place in the international market in the following decade, but these new entrants to the market produced manual cream separators.

In the mid-1890s, ABS diversified further by constructing industrial separators. The principle of centrifugal force was thus applied to a higher level of technology. At the same time, ABS diversified into technically simpler manual cream separators. Lower prices for these products ensured them a far wider market than that for power-driven separators.

By 1898, there were 35 plants worldwide manufacturing separators. Newcomers gained entry to the market by producing manual cream separators, which were not only less resource-intensive but also had a far larger market than the power-driven variety. Of the companies established after Burmeister & Wain, Lefeldt, and Fesca, the most prominent were Sharples in the United States, Mélotte in Belgium, Josef Meys in Germany, Edmond Garin in France, and Svenska Centrifug in Sweden.

The most threatening rival to the Alfa system was the Belgian Mélotte patent. ABS acquired U.S. exploitation rights for this patent but never made use of those rights; this greatly benefited the sales of its own system in the United States. In Europe, however, the Mélotte system was a major competitor.

After 1903, there came a wave of new companies worldwide that exploited the expired Alfa patent. With only a few exceptions, entry to the market for the new companies was secured via manual cream separators. By 1906, ABS was competing with 50 companies in the German market. By 1912, there were 135 firms operating in the international market, 70 of them in Germany and 16 in Sweden. The most important of these were AB Pumpseparator and AB Baltic in Sweden, ABS's former agents Bergedorfer Eisenwerk--which became a major competitor in 1904--Miele & Cie. and Westfalia in Germany, and A/S Titan in Denmark. These were mostly companies that had moved into separators after establishing themselves in other branches of engineering production.

In Stockholm, news had been received of impending bankruptcy at ABS's competitor Svenska Centrifug AB. ABS's management persuaded several major Centrifug stockholders to exchange their shares at above-par rate for Alfa shares. In 1905, a majority stake was taken in Centrifug, including its subsidiary, Gloria Separator GmbH Berlin. The next competitor to be bought by ABS was one of the most important dairy machine plants in Germany and one of the largest in Europe in the early 1900s, the Bergedorfer Eisenwerk. As in the case of Svenska Centrifug, the financial position of the enterprise was too weak for the owner Carl Bergner to demand better sales terms let alone fight a takeover bid.

The last big competitor to be bought before World War I was Burmeister & Wain, in 1910. This firm, at the time equal in reputation to ABS, and financed with capital from its U.S. subsidiary, had been bought for SEK 1.8 million so that it could be closed down; it would not have contributed anything new to ABS's existing business.

During the period 1905 to 1910, when ABS began to take over competitors, it had at its disposal sufficient capital to act without endangering its own liquidity. During the 25 years between the foundation of its first overseas subsidiary in the United States in 1883 and the takeover of Bergedorfer Eisenwerk in 1907, more than SEK 100 million had flowed into the coffers of the parent company in Stockholm.

The profits of the U.S. subsidiary company, transferred between 1895 and 1914, amounted to about SEK 46 million. This sum provided the stockholders' dividend, so that ABS could use the net consolidated profit of the whole company for reinvestment.

Production and organization techniques were also transferred from the U.S. subsidiary to the parent company and its European subsidiaries. In this way, ABS secured advantages of scale in the international separator market. Already in 1892, the U.S. subsidiary, the De Laval Cream Separator Company (Lavalco), was buying out all the U.S. shareholders and had built a new factory at Poughkeepsie, New York. This factory was highly profitable. In 1895, Francis Arend became managing director of Lavalco. The company had branches in Philadelphia and Chicago, as well as a subsidiary in San Francisco. A branch office opened in Canada in 1899 and became a subsidiary in 1912 under the name of the De Laval Dairy Supply Company. In 1899, the Swedish ABS participated in the formation of the De Laval Steam Turbine Company in the United States by contributing $240,000. In 1908, Gustaf de Laval left the ABS board of directors. He died five years later at the age of 67. In 1911, new subsidiaries were formed in Milan and Riga.

Surviving the War Years

By the time World War I began in 1914, ABS had acquired shares in Goldkuhl & Broström, Buenos Aires. This was raised to a majority interest in 1927, when the name was changed to Sociedad Alfa-Laval. In 1960, it became a wholly owned ABS company.

In 1915, ABS's John Bernström resigned as managing director and was replaced by his nephew, Captain Erik Bernström. J. Bernström left his post as chairman of the board in 1916, to be succeeded by Ernst Trygger, and his son Richard Bernström was vice-chairman until his death in 1919. The U.S. company Lavalco produced a milking machine in 1918, and four years later the first milking machine based on the Lavalco design was manufactured by ABS in Sweden. In 1922, Axel Wästfelt succeeded Erik Bernström as managing director, and the company Zander & Ingeström became ABS's sales representative for industrial separators in Sweden and Norway. In the United Kingdom, the De Laval Chadburn Company was formed in 1923 for sales of milk and industrial separators. In 1925, an ABS subsidiary was formed in Helsinki, and in 1926 British De Laval Chadburn Company changed its name to Alfa-Laval Company, a wholly owned ABS company. In the same year, subsidiaries were formed in Sydney, Australia, and Palmerston North, New Zealand. Between 1927 and 1929, subsidiaries were formed in Oslo, Warsaw, Danzig, and Zagreb, Yugoslavia.

In 1928, in cooperation with its Swedish competitor AB Pump-Separator, ABS bought the rival company AB Baltic. Only a few months later, ABS acquired its last major Swedish competitor, AB Pump-Separator itself. Both acquisitions, AB Baltic and AB Pump-Separator, had been more energetic than ABS in seeking ways to take advantage of the upswing in trade at the beginning of World War I and had expanded their capacity and grown faster than ABS. These two acquisitions were the most important mergers within the Swedish separator industry.

In 1930, Jacob Wallenberg of the Swedish banking house Stockholms Enskilda Bank was elected to the board of directors. The U.S. company Lavalco had a bad year and ceased paying dividends until 1935. The German subsidiary Bergedorfer Eisenwerk also operated at a loss until the end of 1933. In 1934, the Alfa-Laval Company (U.K.) moved to facilities in Brentford, near London. A new subsidiary was formed in Melbourne in 1936, and the last important Swedish competitor, Eskilstuna Separator, was acquired in 1939. The outbreak of World War II brought with it an upswing for the U.S. companies. During the war, Lavalco increased the number of personnel from 700 to 2,300, and the U.S.-based Turbinbolaget increased personnel from 1,100 to 2,400. The companies' sales increased by more than five times the prewar figure. More than 50 percent of the Poughkeepsie factory's capacity was taken up by precision work for defense purposes, but at the German factory in Bergedorf manufacture of munitions was extremely limited. In 1942, Francis Arend, managing director of Lavalco, died and was succeeded by Ralph Stoddard, who three years later was succeeded by his son, George. ABS acquired Arend's 10 percent share in Lavalco.

In 1939, Alfa-Laval Company at Brentford began producing industrial separators and milking machines, and increased its sales by 70 percent. During World War II's so-called Skagerack blockade, Sweden and ABS were cut off from many business partners. This period was to be a watershed between the old and the new eras in the company's history.

In the United States, Lavalco was given the task of constructing an oil separator for the U.S. Navy. Orders started pouring in from marine authorities, shipowners, and shipyards. U.K. Alfa-Laval Company became the European development center for these industrial separators. The research-and-development activities were transferred to Stockholm and several engineers were sent away on study visits--to rubber plantations in Southeast Asia, to olive groves in Italy, and aboard whalers in the South Atlantic. Thousands of owners of olive groves and vineyards in Italy and France exchanged their ancient equipment for separators. By 1945, there were hundreds of applications for separators within industry and scientific research.

Growth and Expansion: 1950s-80s

During the 1950s, the cellulose industry became the major customer group for plate heat exchangers, or PHEs, which were used in the pasteurizing process and for yeast manufacture. ABS's interest in these developments was taken care of in Germany by Bergedorfer Eisenwerk. PHEs could be used to comparable advantage in breweries and yeast manufacturing; later, distilleries, wineries, and other foodstuff industries came to appreciate their uses. One successful Swedish competitor, Rosenblads Patenter, was taken over by ABS in 1962. ABS dominated the market for PHEs in the chemical and marine sectors while the strength of its U.K. competitor, the Aluminium Plant and Vessel Company (APV), lay in the food and beverage sectors. APV was the same size as Alfa-Laval in this sector. ABS's major competitor in Europe was the family-owned company Westfalia AG in Oelde, Germany, and in the United States the Sharples Separator Company of Philadelphia. Westfalia and APV combined forces against ABS.

Production of separators began in Nevers, France, in 1947, and the U.K. manufacture of milking machines was moved to Cwmbron in Wales in 1949. A year later, the Italian subsidiary acquired plant and storage facilities in Muggio/Monza near Milan, and a subsidiary was established in Brussels in 1952. ABS formed new subsidiaries in Switzerland in 1960, in Bombay in 1961, and in Sao Paulo and Lima in 1962. In the same year, Turbinbolaget in the United States was sold to Lehrman Brothers.

In 1963, ABS (AB Separator) changed its name to Alfa-Laval AB. Further subsidiaries were formed in Santiago de Chile and Mexico City, and in the United States Lavalco acquired G & H Products, Jay-Ro Services, and Hercules Filter. In 1966, the Spanish company Touron y Cia (Tycosa), Madrid, became a wholly owned subsidiary. A new Alfa-Laval subsidiary was formed in Amsterdam and took over industrial sales from the agent, Koopman & Company, in 1967. At the same time, a new subsidiary was formed in Zürich after Alfa-Laval's takeover of its agent, Wenger. In 1968, Bergedorfer Eisenwerk merged with STAL Refrigeration AB of Norrköping, Sweden. The new company was known as Stal-Astra GmbH. In Melbourne, H. Hamilton Pty, Ltd. was acquired and the name changed to Alfa-Laval Separation A/S. Lavalco acquired two new subsidiaries in the United States, American Tool & Machinery and Contherm Corporation. Also in 1968, a subsidiary was formed in Kuala Lumpur, and a minority interest was acquired in the Japanese firm Kurose.

In 1970, a subsidiary was formed in Algeria, and new office and storage facilities were built in Dublin and Melbourne. The Spanish subsidiary purchased property near Madrid and constructed workshops, warehousing, and office facilities there. In 1974, property and buildings were purchased in Lidcombe, near Sydney. Alfa-Laval Engineering was formed in Tokyo and another subsidiary established in Caracas. In Leewarden, the Netherlands, Tebel Maschinefabrieken was acquired for the manufacturing of machines for cheesemaking. In 1975, a subsidiary was formed in Iran in connection with the delivery of two large dairy facilities. In 1976, an office was opened in Moscow, and Lavalco established production facilities in Branchbury, New Jersey, also building workshops and offices for its spray-dryer department. In the same year, Sullivan Systems of the United States, a producer of refining systems for vegetable oil, was acquired. In 1977, a subsidiary was formed in Athens; the West German subsidiary acquired Atmos Lebensmitteltechnik, a manufacturer of machines for the meat industry; STAL Refrigeration formed a subsidiary in the United States; De Laval Company (U.K.) purchased the Ibex Engineering Company, Hastings; and the OTEC project for the utilization of temperature differences in tropical oceans was initiated. In 1979, the U.S. company changed its name to Alfa-Laval Inc. and the Canadian company became Alfa-Laval Lté.

In 1980, Alfa-Laval Company (U.K.) bought Dairy Supplies Hereford. A subsidiary was formed in Harare, Zimbabwe. In 1981, the West German company Bran & Lübbe, Norderstedt, a producer of dosing pumps and system and measurement instruments for the food industry, was acquired. This company had subsidiaries in a number of countries. The French Alfa-Laval company bought the firm Jean Pagées et Fils of Lyon, office and service center facilities were built in Singapore, a subsidiary was formed in Nairobi, and the Peruvian subsidiary constructed offices and warehouses. In the same period, Alfa-Laval increased its interest in the Japanese firm of Nagase-Alfa to 70 percent and Alfa-Laval Service was established in Japan as a wholly owned company for the sale of spare parts to the industrial sector. Alfa-Laval Contracting was formed in the United Kingdom, and in West Germany Alfa-Laval acquired 26 percent of the shares in G. Riedel Kälte- und Klimatechnik. In 1983, offices were opened in Cairo and Damascus to service the Middle Eastern market.

In early 1985, Alfa-Laval established a subsidiary in Portugal and an office was opened in Peking. In the same year, 100 percent of the free-floating shares of the Swiss company Chemap and its subsidiaries were acquired. Chemap was one of the world's largest manufacturers of fermenters. Haven Automation International, Hong Kong, along with its subsidiaries, was purchased. The company served the marine and offshore markets in Southeast Asia. In Australia, Heat Transfer Pty. Ltd., a manufacturer of a specific type of tube heat exchanger, was acquired and a majority holding was taken in Bioter S.A., one of the market leaders in fish feed in Spain. In New Zealand, Alfa-Laval purchased the company Manus Nu-Pulse.

Two companies in Sweden and one in the Netherlands, the Tebel Pneumatiek, were sold during 1985. The total number of Alfa-Laval's employees decreased by 636 to 15,394; 5,239 new employees were appointed in Sweden and 10,155 abroad. In 1986, Alfa-Laval established a finance company, Alfinal, in Belgium. Finance companies were also formed in Denmark and West Germany, and a leasing company was started in Spain.

After a long period at the helm of Alfa-Laval, since 1922, Axel Wästfelt had retired as managing director in 1946 and was replaced by the English-born Harry G. Faulkner. Faulkner had been an auditor in the U.K. subsidiary of accounting company Price Waterhouse & Company and went on in the 1930s to become managing director of Electrolux. During Faulkner's leadership, Alfa-Laval grew at a rapid pace in all traditional areas, particularly overseas. He led the company aggressively in industrial marketing, in sharp contrast with the preceding decades. In 1960, the 36-year-old Hans Stahle took over as managing director.

A principal feature of the change lay in the transfers of companies, which were carried out during the merger-happy 1960s, in consultation with Jacob Wallenberg, chairman of the board from 1960 to 1970. The factory manufacturing industrial separators was moved from the Stockholm center to Tumba, 25 kilometers southwest of the city, and in 1964 the head office followed. In 1980, Hans Stahle became chairman and was succeeded as managing director by Harry Faulkner, son of Harry G. Faulkner. During the 1980s, a large number of divisions within manufacturing and administration were formed into affiliates responsible for their own accounting. In 1989, Harry Faulkner was replaced by Lars V. Kylberg, who joined Alfa-Laval in May 1989. In October of the same year, Hans Stahle died while still executive chairman and was succeeded by Peder Bonde.

It was during the directorship of Harry Faulkner that Alfa-Laval bought the Sharples Separator Company, at the end of 1988. Sharples was until 1988 the world's largest manufacturer of decanter centrifuges, with a very strong position in the U.S. domestic market. It was the same company that had already in 1883-84 cooperated with Alfa-Laval in the U.S. market, and since 1887 had turned out to be one of the Swedish company's most aggressive competitors, particularly in the United States. Harry Faulkner pointed out that of the 20 acquisitions made between 1986 and 1988 by Alfa-Laval, Sharples was the largest. The acquisition of Sharples was of strategic importance since it greatly strengthened the separator business which forms the core of Alfa-Laval's operations. The Sharples group has subsidiaries in some ten countries and production facilities in both the United States and Europe. The group's annual sales were approximately $100 million.

Koppens Machinenfabriek in the Netherlands and Krämer & Grebe in West Germany were also integrated into the Alfa-Laval group in 1989. During the first half of 1990, Alfa-Laval acquired TW Kutter in the United States, an engineering company and food processing equipment distributor. In the heat exchanger sector, Alfa-Laval purchased the Italian company Artec. Furthermore, joint-owned sales companies were formed in Hungary and Poland and negotiations were in progress in 1990 for the establishment of subsidiaries in other former Eastern bloc countries. Between 1985 and 1989, the number of employees in the original Alfa-Laval group was reduced by 4,000 as a result of rationalization, restructuring of production, and the sale of peripheral operations, and a total of 7,500 new employees joined the group as a result of acquisitions. The total number of employees during 1989 increased by 2,561, from 17,156 in 1988 to 19,717 in 1989. In 1989, new managing director Lars V. Kylberg pointed out that "in recent years our sales have doubled in North America. In the booming Pacific Basin, we are firmly rooted in Singapore and the Asian countries. Our overall strategy for the coming years is to grow within our core business."

Changes in the 1990s and Beyond

While Alfa Laval (the hyphen in the company's named was dropped in 1993) pursued growth in the 1990s, the company dealt with several major changes. The first came in 1991, when Switzerland-based Tetra Pak Group made a $2.68 billion offer for the company. The Tetra Pak offer was attractive to Alfa Laval, largely due to the recent fall in its profits. Indeed, according to a 1991 Wall Street Journal article, "The union would spawn one of the world's biggest producers of food packaging and processing equipment."

After the takeover was announced, anti-competition concerns led to an investigation by the European Commission. The two companies agreed to various concessions and were eventually allowed to complete the transaction. In 1993, Alfa Laval was reorganized as an independent industrial group within the Tetra Laval group. Tetra Pak took over the company's liquid food processing business while farm equipment and related units were organized into a new division, Alfa Laval Agri.

Under its new parent, Alfa Laval spent the latter half of the decade working to develop new products. Among those was a new oil treatment system used on board ships. The ThinkTop Separation Unit and Control & Indication units were launched in 1999 and were considered some of the industry's most advanced automated valve control systems.

Another major change was on the horizon for Alfa Laval as it planned to enter the 21st century. Charterhouse Development Capital made a SEK 14.5 billion offer for the company after Tetra Laval put the firm up for sale in 1999. The sale failed to come to fruition, leaving Alfa Laval's future hanging in the balance. UBS Capital made an offer for the firm, but again buyout talks were terminated after UBS determined that Tetra Laval's asking price was too high. Finally, Industri Kapital 2000 Ltd. agreed to acquire a controlling interest Alfa Laval in 2000 in one of the largest Scandinavian management buyout campaigns in history. Under Industri Kapital, Alfa Laval focused on strengthening its Separation, Heat Transfer, and Fluid Handling business units.

After operating as a private company for over ten years, Alfa Laval re-listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange on May 17, 2002. Industri Kapital CEO Bjvrn Savnen commented on the move in an April 2002 article, stating, "We have been very pleased with Alfa Laval's performance during our ownership. Already at the time of our investment we saw a listing of the company as a logical continuation of the company's future development." Alfa Laval CEO Sigge Haraldsson agreed, adding, "For us the IPO means that our financial position will be strengthened, allowing for additional growth and expansion."

Fueled by the offering, Alfa Laval made two key purchases in 2003. The firm of bioKinetics, a division of Kinetics Groups Inc., was added to the company's holdings and gave it a foothold in the high-tech integrated process solutions industry that served the biotech and pharmaceutical markets. Alfa Laval also acquired the Toftejorg Group, a leading Denmark-based tank cleaning equipment manufacturer. In addition, the company developed AlfaNova that year, a compact heat exchanger that was able to withstand high temperatures and pressures. At the same time, Industri Kapital reduced its stake in the firm from 26.9 percent to 17.9 percent.

The company expected to continue its growth in the years to come. Its business strategy was focused on six areas: the growth of its current products and services, market-driven research and development, the creation of a new marketing organization with ten customer segments, consideration of the aftermarket for growth potential, the development of new marketing concepts, and the addition of new products. Haraldsson planned to retire in late 2004, leaving Alfa Laval on the hunt for a new leader.

Principal Subsidiaries: Alfa Laval Holding AB; Alfa Laval NV; Alfa Laval Holding BV; Alfa Laval Holding GmbH; Alfa Laval USA Inc.; Alfa Laval Inc. (U.S.); Alfa Laval India Ltd.; Alfa Laval KK (Japan); Alfa Laval Philippines Inc.; Alfa Laval Copenhagen A/S; Alfa Laval France SAS.

Principal Operating Units: Separation; Heat Transfer; Fluid Handling.

Principal Competitors: Tyco International Ltd.; Emerson Electric Company; Honeywell International Inc.; Parker Hannifin Corporation.

Further Reading:

  • "Alfa Laval Acquires Toftejorg Group," Food Trade Review, May 2003, p. 254.
  • "Alfa Laval Sold, Scandies Shut out London Lenders," Euroweek, June 23, 2000, p. 43.
  • Ascarelli, Silvia, "Alfa Laval Cuts Scope of Its IPO," Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2002, p. C11.
  • Burton, John, "Swedes Agree Alfa Laval Merger Deal," Financial Times, April 20, 1001, p. 10.
  • Bushrod, Lisa, "Industri Kapital Manages Alfa Laval IPO," European Venture Capital Journal, June 1, 2002, p. 1.
  • Dawnay, Kit, "Alfa Laval's IPO Is Biggest in Sweden for Nearly Two Years,", April 25, 2002.
  • The Growth of a Global Enterprise: Alfa-Laval 100 Years, Stockholm: Alfa-Laval AB and Esselte Wezäta, 1983.
  • Fritz, Martin, Ett världsföretag växer fram. Alfa-Laval 100 år, Del II: Konsolidering och expansion, Stockholm: Alfa-Laval, 1983.
  • "Haraldsson to Step down From Alfa Laval Helm," Lloyd's List, January 28, 2004, p. 3.
  • Moore, Stephen D., "Tetra Pak Proposes Friendly Takeover of Alfa-Laval Valued at $2.91 Billion," Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2001, p. A15.
  • "Packaging Crusader Wraps up Merger Deal," Financial Times, May 24, 1991, p.23.
  • "Putting Tetra Laval Together," Business Europe, October 18, 1993.
  • "Third Time Lucky for Sale of Tetra Laval Division," Financial Times, June 14, 2000, p. 30.
  • Wohlert, Claus, "Concentration Tendencies in Swedish Industry before World War I," The Concentration Process in the Entrepreneurial Economy Since the Late 19th Century, edited by Hans Pol and Wilhelm True, Munich: Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte, 1988.
  • ------, Framväxten av svenska multinationella föreag, Stockholm: Almpvist & Wiksell International, 1981.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.64. St. James Press, 2004.