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Change of management at DUROtherm

Norbert Keck and Andreas Hartl take over the management

The deal was final at the begin-ning of August: DUROtherm Kunststoffverarbeitung GmbH in Haiterbach, Germany changed ownership. The previous owners and company founders Werner Saathoff and Hermann Hartl were replaced by Norber Keck, the former sales manager, and Andreas Hartl, the operations 
manager, who has already played a role in the executive management in recent years.

The transition had been planned for a long time – the two new owners have spent years becoming acquainted with the details of the company's organization. "In contrast to many other transfers of company ownership, we were able to grow into the responsibility and play an active role in creating the current structure," explained Mr. Keck, who has been with the company for over 13 years.

The division of responsibilities between the new partners is just as clearly defined as between the previous owners: Mr. Keck is responsible for sales and distribution and Mr. Hartl for technical issues. However, responsibility for management of the business is shared between the two entrepreneurs, whose very different career experiences constitute just the right symbiosis.

The experienced team also has plans for the future: the existing solid customer base composed of automotive manufacturers and well-known companies in other industries is now to be expanded further while increasing the company's international market profile at the same time. "There is a lot of competition, " commented Mr. Hartl, "But we are very confident that the high quality of our thermoformed plastic components will lead to growing success internationally."

The indications are good for the two new owners of the company and their team of 140 employees. The export share of revenues has increased significantly in recent years. Thanks to ongoing capital investment in state-of-the-art machinery and systems, DUROtherm is always on the leading edge of technology. Thus, for example, another CNC milling station was acquired in the spring, and in the fall another thermoforming machine is planned to be put into operation. These extensive investments are especially intended to secure a lasting advantage for the thermoforming specialists in Haiterbach over competitors in low-wage countries.

Although it isn't easy for Messrs. Saathoff and Hartl to take leave of DUROtherm GmbH, which they founded more than 35 years ago, there are not ready for quiet retirement. Instead, their entire experience and energy is focused on INTERPLAST Kunststoffe GmbH as well as another new company, TRIPLEX Kunststoffe GmbH. The two businessmen can hardly wait until the construction of more than 6,000 m² of production and administrative space is completed in the Haiterbach industrial park. The continuously growing demand for dimpled sheets in the construction industry as in a wide variety of other application areas have nearly exhausted the production capacity for the patented plastic panels at the present time.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that DUROtherm now operates entirely independently of the other two companies, their close collaboration continues, evidenced among other things by joint participation at international trade shows for the plastics industry. The high product quality and intensive sharing of experience ensure that these companies will enjoy a lasting competitive advantage an a future in Haiterbach rich in prospects.

(Anzeiger Freudenstadt, August 25, 2004)

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