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the businesses will run concurrently, and I think that is a different approach to what our competitors do.”

Not only does this go against the grain of what their competitors are doing, but it also seems to go against the wider strategy of Nilfisk, who have been working on unifying their worldwide branding, with the corporate brand of Nilfisk-Advance and the global brand of Nilfisk-ALTO changing in recent months.

However, Stewart explained that this unification is just one part of their wider strategy, and is something that, with particularly well-established brands, may not be possible. He said: “That step of unifying everything under one Nilfisk banner has been something that has been in the offing for many years, and is something that we are espousing as part of our strategy, but it’s a step by step change to try to funnel the approach. It doesn’t necessarily mean to funnel it down to one, it’s just to try to lower the complexity of having too many brands.

“We’ve got rid of the ALTO brand because after years of making sure that it wasn’t going to upset anybody, we’ve recognised that there was not enough equity in it for it to need to be kept. Conversely, there is enough equity in the Gerni brand for it to be kept in Australia for all of our consumer machines, so it’s not a sweeping change we’re making.”

So while Nilfisk first approached Contractor regarding a potential acquisition in 2012, what had changed to make them return last year with another approach?

“Their value,” said Stewart. “Sometimes it’s as simple as that. We tried two years of trying to break into the market that they were already in and every time we were coming up against these guys, so they were starting to become a major headache.”

But Kris Crompton, Director at Contractor, added that while the company had no desire to sell at first, they weren’t against Nilfisk’s initial approaches. “It wasn’t even in our heads, but when Nilfisk approached us we decided to put a team of advisors in place to handle it for us,” he said.

40 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning January 2016

“And as we concentrated on growth, a few more companies approached, and that’s when Nilfisk came in again.”

Kris went on to reveal that, due to the rate in which Contractor were growing, an acquisition had to happen eventually. “It was just timing that it was Nilfisk, really,” he said.

“We were at the point where we’d grown so much that we were thinking ‘what do we do now?’ We were getting to that stage where we were just so busy that we needed another level of management going in, and that’s what Nilfisk has provided. It’s been a great way of growing, really.

We tried two years of

trying to break into the market that they were already in and every

time we were coming up

against these guys, so they were starting to become a major headache.

“I think that Nilfisk has made the transition as smooth as it possibly could be. It’s a very hard process, an acquisition, and it’s always quite painful, but they made it as painless as possible.”

“And the businesses are running concurrently, so we’re not making a huge difference,” Stewart added. “The only two cap tipping exercises that we’ve done are that we’re asking our contract cleaner-based salespeople to use their skill base rather than our own, and we’ve put a Project Development Manager in there, so he can help them with the high level finances, as they were looking for a Finance Director. So for all intents and purposes we’ve just provided that.”

As mentioned earlier, the decision from Nilfisk to acquire Contractor was done in a bid to help them to break into the contract cleaning sector. So has this worked?

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