Case study: Vitrulan

2016 Initial situation

The entrepreneurial structure

Prior to ADCURAM’s entry, the two operating companies – Vitrulan Textile Glass GmbH (VTG) and Vitrulan Technical Textiles GmbH (VTT) – formed the two pillars of the family business. VTG focused in particular on glass fiber wallpapers; the focus of the sister company VTT was primarily on the production of flush-mounted reinforcements, although the first foundations for the technical textiles business were already apparent at this time.

Production was controlled from the two sites in Marktschorgast and Haselbach (Thuringia), where the Group manufactures both glass fiber wallpapers and nonwovens for interior use and technical textiles – mainly made of glass fiber – such as woven, scrim and knitted fabrics. These are still largely used in the construction industry today, for example as reinforcements for external thermal insulation composite systems.

In 2016, the Group generated sales of just under 60 million euros with around 400 employees.

2016 Key challenges

Decline in demand and unresolved succession issues

The family-owned company essentially faced two major challenges in 2016:

On the one hand, the Group’s earnings situation suffered from a decline in demand for fiberglass wallpaper, strong European competition and too much focus on low-margin products in the technical textiles sector.

On the other hand, the owner family was confronted with the hitherto unresolved question of finding the right successor who would not only support the company with operational know-how, but above all lead the family business responsibly and in the family’s interests into a strong entrepreneurial future.

2016 Launch of the partnership

ADCURAM becomes majority owner

In 2016, ADCURAM’s majority investment was the starting signal for the cooperation and further growth of the group.

In order to sustainably counteract the challenges Vitrulan was facing at that time and to lift the family business to a new level of growth, ADCURAM, as an experienced and operationally active investor, was the ideal partner for the succession plan.

With newly created conditions, such as among others:

the establishment of a new management
the expansion to four locations and now around 470 employees,

Vitrulan was able to increase its sales to almost 100 million euros within a short period of time (as of Dec 2021).

However, in order to counter the long-term decline in demand for glass fiber wallpaper and to reduce the commodity share in the technical textiles business, the strategic course first had to be set anew.

2017-2018 Trend reversal

Operational support and strategic realignment

In the core business, ADCURAM supported the management team with operational in-house experts in the areas of:

  • Purchasing,
  • production,
  • Finance and
  • corporate development.

In addition, an investment manager is still in constant contact with the management.

With the help of this support, ADCURAM was able to achieve significant cost savings together with the Vitrulan team. For example, the purchasing department had to react to sharply increased prices and availability bottlenecks of optical fibers. This was achieved primarily through stronger and targeted internationalization of procurement.

In production, too, our experts supported the Vitrulan team with their on-site presence – for example, in optimizing production processes and better use of space at the sites.

2019 Expansion

Acquisitions and innovation offensive

In the company’s development, the acquisition of a Finnish Tech-Tex site proved to be a strategically important milestone: With the acquisition from the Ahlstrom-Munksjö Group in 2019, Vitrulan succeeded in entering profitable product segments, such as carbon fabrics or multiaxial fabrics, while at the same time gaining access to new, attractive market segments such as wind energy.

In addition, V4heat, a company-internal start-up, was created to market a highly innovative in-house development by Vitrulan: a fiberglass-based reinforcing fabric that has the ability to heat due to a special coating. The product is placed in the plastered ceiling by the painter and connected in a further step by the electrician – a development that does not require the services of a heating engineer and completely replaces central heating. For a traditional company like Vitrulan, entering an entirely new market with such a disruptive product naturally presented new challenges that had to be overcome together.

The successful market launch of other promising innovations, such as a smooth acoustic ceiling and new technical textiles made of other synthetic materials such as PES or PA, underlines the revitalized innovative strength of the family-owned company. In the course of this, a complete machine park with new weaving technology was set up at the Marktschorgast site, and material and procurement flows were redefined and successfully implemented in the existing production environment.

2020 Corona crisis

Difficult times

Like many German medium-sized companies, Vitrulan faced special and previously unknown challenges with the onset of the corona crisis.

Probably the greatest of these: With the dynamic infection events in 2020 – in contrast to Germany – construction sites in numerous neighboring countries were temporarily shut down. This had a particularly significant impact in France, the most important market for Vitrulan. Added to this was the pandemic-related closure of construction markets, which represent an important sales channel for the Group within France.

However, with ADCURAM behind it and the resulting robust financial situation, Vitrulan was able to successfully overcome even these challenges.

2021 Acquisition

Optimization of production and procurement logistics

In 2021, the acquisition of the technical textile business of the Preiss-Daimler Group in Brattendorf followed, adding a strong market player in the field of glass fiber wallpaper and nonwovens to the Vitrulan Group.

By maintaining the original location, the presence of the group in Germany could be strengthened at the same time. This enabled Vitrulan to introduce an optimized production and procurement logic with greatly improved capacity utilization at the now three German sites Marktschorgast, Haselbach and Brattendorf.

2022 On the road to success

Outlook for the future

In the future, the focus on the technical textiles business will be further strengthened.

To this end, the sales department has in the meantime been strengthened by the addition of a further experienced industry expert. The acquisitions also offer the potential to leverage important synergies by centralizing functions at the headquarters in Marktschorgast.

Together with the management team, we can look back on many successfully realized milestones in our cooperation as an operating partner. Through the partnership of the past years and the commitment of the Vitrulan management team, the former traditional company has developed into a Europe-wide operating, agile medium-sized company that is optimally positioned for future growth.

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