Prior to ADCURAM’s entry, the family-owned company RWGI Holding (Garbe Group), founded in 1982, consisted of four individual companies, most of which operated independently. With RWG I Schicht, RWG I Abbruch & Tiefbau GmbH, Eckhard Garbe GmbH and SSR Schadstoffsanierung Rostock GmbH, the group continuously developed into one of the leading service providers for demolition, earthworks, recycling, gardening and landscaping as well as pollutant cleanup in the greater Berlin area. In addition to the classic services in the field of construction and recycling, the group had an extensive vehicle fleet for transport and disposal as well as three company-owned recycling yards.
As a result, Garbe established a strong market position in the core market of Berlin-Brandenburg with renowned clients such as the Berlin Senate, Daimler and Bayer. In the year of acquisition, the group companies generated total sales of around 52 million euros and employed a total of 250 people.
At the time of acquisition, the family business was essentially faced with the following challenges: In addition to the unresolved succession issue, a major challenge was the low level of cooperation and, as a result, the hardly utilized synergy effects between the individual companies of the group. The division heads of the respective Group companies focused primarily on the development of their own business area. In addition, there was a lack of transparency in the financial system – both with regard to the financial development of the respective areas and of the Group – as well as competitors acting dubiously in some cases.
In July 2019, ADCURAM acquired 100 percent of the company shares in the Garbe Group. As an experienced investor, ADCURAM was the optimal partner for the Berlin-based family-owned company – not only to tackle the succession plan in a sustainable manner, but also with a view to the group’s operational challenges.
In order to master these in the long term, one of the focal points at the beginning of the partnership was the introduction of a group structure. The first step was to establish a commercial manager from ADCURAM’s team of experts who, as the new group CFO, was responsible for the introduction of uniform reporting in accordance with HGB and IFRS. This ensured significantly greater transparency – both for the individual business units and for the Group as a whole. In addition, responsibilities were expanded at the second management level in order to identify further suitable individuals for the management team. The Garbe Group team was also strengthened at the level of project and construction managers. At the same time, a life cycle income statement was introduced for individual projects in order to derive further operational optimization measures here as well. Overall, the internal measures focused on ensuring greater clarity in the key financial figures through reporting systems, implementing classic financing instruments, and establishing a new team spirit in the company.
In order to sustainably strengthen the Group’s organic growth, the ADCURAM experts, together with the management, focused on two main pillars: In 2020, extensive investments were made in the vehicle and machinery fleet. A total of eleven special hydraulic excavators from the premium manufacturers CAT and Liebherr in the 30-50 ton class and twelve trucks from Mercedes Benz and MAN were purchased to further strengthen the vehicle fleet of the Garbe Group. In this way, capacities in the area of complex demolition projects were significantly expanded and the lead over other competitors in this high-yield segment was extended. Garbe developed into the clear regional market leader in the greater Berlin area thanks to the infrastructure created with a large machine park and three recycling yards of its own. Also important for this development was the introduction of new recruiting processes to attract skilled personnel.
The highly fragmented market environment created ideal conditions for the Group to grow not only organically but also inorganically. An important milestone was the acquisition of RST Ralf Schmidt Tiefbau in September 2022. The acquisition of RST, also based in Berlin-Brandenburg, enabled the Garbe Group to expand its portfolio in a targeted manner to include the business area of infrastructure expansion. RST was founded in 1995 and has great experience and competence in the field of multimedia routes. This includes, among other things, fiber optic lines and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. As a highly competitive company in the greater Berlin area, the civil engineering specialist was an optimal addition to the Group portfolio-especially in view of the positive growth forecasts in the area of infrastructure expansion.
After more than three years of successful partnership, the sale of the Garbe Group to the DAX 30 group Heidelberg Materials AG took place in January 2023. Due to the intensive optimization work in business processes and the creation of synergies between the individual business units, there was a great deal of interest in the Garbe Group on the part of the buyer. During the holding period of ADCURAM, the management team developed into a well-functioning team. Resources (equipment, employees, project leads) were exchanged among each other as needed, further advancing the overall company.
The introduction of reporting systems – especially in the financial area – and the resulting transparency enabled the company to continue its economic development.
At the time of the sale, annual sales were around EUR 58 million. This was increased by more than ten percent. The number of employees increased from 250 to 280. The Garbe Group is well prepared for the future. Despite a slowdown in the construction industry, the demand for recycled building materials – one of Garbe’s core products – is increasing.