Prior to ADCURAM’s entry, Bien-Zenker AG, with its focus on prefabricated timber house construction in the mid-price segment, operated as a listed subsidiary of the Austrian market leader ELK Fertighaus. Originally started as a carpentry and sawmill business, the fast-growing family company’s production was managed from its main site in Schlüchtern, Hesse, with XX employees. In addition, the birthplace of the company – a separate sawmill – was still in operation.
Despite the positive growth prospects for the German prefabricated house market at that time, the traditional company faced challenges: On the one hand, it became apparent that the stock market listing in 1983 was not the ideal corporate structure for a family-owned company like Bien-Zenker – due, among other things, to a lack of company size and an associated, inadequate capital market situation. In addition, there was an emerging and necessary succession plan on the company’s Management Board.
On October 1, 2013, ADCURAM acquired a majority stake in Bien-Zenker from the then owner ELK AG with a share package of around 89.4%. This made the Munich-based industrial holding company the first financial investor in Germany to recognize the growth potential of the market segment for prefabricated single-family homes. The launch of the partnership marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the prefabricated house pioneer from Hesse. In addition to many years of know-how in various industries and the strategic development of companies, ADCURAM’s experience in dealing with capital market issues was a decisive factor.
In order to make Bien-Zenker fit for the future, ADCURAM initiated a comprehensive package of measures in close cooperation with the management team – focusing, among other things, on the realignment of the corporate structure as well as clear potential for improvement in the areas of purchasing and production.
As the first, decisive cornerstone for the further development of Bien-Zenker, the previous corporate structure first had to be broken up: Within the first year of the partnership, the conditions were created for the decisive delisting, in which Bien-Zenker AG was “taken off the stock exchange” through the swift purchase of shares from the free float and the subsequently initiated squeeze-out procedure.
This resulted in the merger of the former AG with the majority-owned acquiring company in the summer of 2014. On the one hand, this cleared the way for initiating the transformation process from the former family business to a highly profitable industrial company; on the other hand, Bien-Zenker thus had the necessary corporate governance structure basis for implementing all subsequent operational measures.
After the basic requirements for a sustainable corporate structure had been established with the delisting, the ADCURAM team of experts began to implement the structural and operational measures together with the three-member management team: During 2014, an important and at the same time sensitive step was the closure of the historically operated sawmill due to suboptimal site conditions. As a result, it was not only possible to free up considerable working capital, but at the same time to streamline the production process considerably by establishing a cost-saving 100 percent purchasing strategy.
Already during the successful implementation of the first operational and strategic measures, the cornerstone of a future-oriented growth alliance was laid in November 2014 with the acquisition of Hanse Haus GmbH from Bayerische Hausbau / Schörghuber Group. 2015 saw the realization of synergies in purchasing with the help of a well thought-out program: Previous procurement processes and partnerships were put to the test in a competitive environment and profitable and cost-reducing effects were realized from the results. At the same time, ADCURAM’s experts succeeded in significantly reducing the company’s material costs.
The acquisition of Hanse Haus, specializing in the production of turnkey prefabricated houses in the upper price segment, as a sister company of Bien-Zenker, laid the foundation for the formation of a new, high-growth prefabricated house group. Due to the neighboring location of both sites – Hanse Haus and Bien-Zenker operate in close regional proximity of almost 30 kilometers to each other – and the complementary product ranges as well as optimally complementing management teams, important synergies were quickly leveraged. In the process, ADCURAM benefited from the experience gained from the partnership with Bien-Zenker, which was now brought into the new company operationally and subsequently implemented strategically. In the coming years, Bien-Zenker and Hanse Haus made a considerable leap in growth.
In 2016, ADCURAM achieved the final breakthrough in the formation of a group of companies…. With the establishment of the new Living Haus brand, the group’s product portfolio expanded to include the important segment of finishing houses. The result: the establishment of a highly profitable prefabricated house group with three complementary product brands, each with its own sales structures and ideally complementary target groups. Production capacity was expanded at both locations with the construction of new, modern production halls, and the funds generated were invested in plant and machinery to professionalize production. The Group has been able to achieve growth rates well in excess of 10% in each year.
In 2017, ADCURAM initiated the intended handover of operational management competencies at Bien-Zenker. Following the reorganization of the management structures in the direction of a Group CEO, a joint Managing Director for the production of the entire group of companies and a Managing Director Sales for the two brands Bien-Zenker & Living Haus were established. To make optimal use of the newly created economies of scale, the individual companies and sales divisions were put into competition with the aim of developing a best practice.
A profound digitization offensive also contributed significantly to the professionalization of the craft structures and marked another milestone in the development of the company into a highly professionally managed industrial enterprise.
Following the successful completion of the operational and strategic measures, the sale of the prefabricated house group to the European private equity investor Equistone Partners Europe took place in January 2018. At the time of the sale, Bien-Zenker and Hanse Haus each generated almost 150 million euros – a significant increase on the sales values at the time of acquisition (BZ: 90 million euros, HH: 70 million euros).
The successful management team of the group was given the opportunity to participate in the company in the course of a management buy-out. Under the three-year aegis of Equistone, there were no changes to the strategic positioning – in May 2021, the prefabricated house group was sold on to Goldman Sachs.