We are an industrial holding company with steady growth, which originates from acquisitions as well as the organic development of our group companies.
Entrepreneurs with long track record
We started building VTC from the mid 1990ies. At that time we were one of the first private equity firms in Germany, investing external capital mostly from high net worth individuals. Since 2004 we are able to live our dream: by investing our own equity, we became entrepreneurs ourselves. This allows us to take a long view concerning VTC and its group companies. Unlike a private equity investor, we have no exit focus.
Holding with added value
As sparring partners for the top management of our group companies we provide support in strategic discussions or selected projects. Our group companies are fully independent of each other, and the holding does not provide any central functions for the group. We emphasize the importance of flexibility and quick decision making.
Our strong experience and solid financial background (our holding is fully equity financed) makes us a trusted partner for corporates or entrepreneurs in divestment processes. Due to our lean structure we can take quick decisions and offer flexible deal structures. Being entrepreneurs ourselves helps us to understand the motivation and emotions of private sellers.
Strong corporate values
Our team has grown organically over the last 30 years. The resulting company culture is based on strong values, which we carry into our group companies. We rate the long term impact of our actions higher than short term financial results. An investment in a company is also a commitment from our side towards customers, employees and financing partners.
Natalia Chaban joined VTC in July 2021 as Finance Director. She is responsible for finance, taxes, treasury and consolidated financial statements at holding level.
Previously, Natalia Chaban worked for many years in auditing and audit-related consulting at one of the Big Four companies as well as at large medium-sized auditing and tax consulting firms, most recently as an associate partner. During this time, she worked as an auditor/tax consultant for both medium-sized family-run companies as well as capital market-oriented corporates.
Natalia Chaban holds a degree in economics from the University of Ulm and successfully passed both professional examinations as German Certified Public Accountant and tax consultant.
Philipp Härtel is with VTC since 2020. He works on current transactions and is screening potential investment opportunities and markets.
Before joining VTC he worked in the M&A team of Harris Williams in Frankfurt, where he was involved in buyside and sell side mandates. Moreover, he gained previous experience at Gimv, KPMG and ING Corporate Finance.
Philipp holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Econometrics and Operations Research from Maastricht University as well as a Master of Science degree with focus on Corporate Finance from the Rotterdam School of Management.
Andreas Joha joined the investment team of VTC in 2021. He works on transactions as well as portfolio management tasks and screens potential investment opportunities and markets.
Previously, he spent several years at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Munich advising private equity clients on buyside and sellside transactions.
Andreas received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration with a major in Finance & Accounting from Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, and a Master of Science in Finance with a major in Corporate Finance from Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.
In the early years of VTC Jürgen worked on a number of industry roll ups and held management positions in portfolio companies. Since then he has responsible for many transactions and gained broad experience in the industrials and renewables space. Jürgen is in charge of Baettr Holding GmbH.
Before his time at university he worked as a trainee for HypoVereinsbank AG in Munich. He is an active shareholder in the Leuze family business.
Jürgen holds a business degree (lic.oec.HSG) from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Stefan has overseen a number of VTC‘s transactions in Germany and Switzerland, mostly in the mechanical and plant engineering businesses. He is in charge of Sesotec GmbH and JK Group.
Before joining VTC Stefan was partner in a turnaround consulting firm where he also took on interim management positions. He started his career as a trainee at HypoVereinsbank AG and later worked for Bain & Company in Munich and London.
Stefan serves as a board member of the Leuze Group.
He has a business degree from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.
Julius joined VTC in 2015. He works on transactions as well as portfolio management tasks.
From 2011 to 2014 he worked for GCA Altium and was involved in numerous buy side and sell side mandates, mainly in consumer goods and retail. In addition he was able to gain in-depth capital markets know how.
Julius holds Bachelor and Master of Science in International Business degrees from Maastricht University, Netherlands.
Richard G. Ramsauer
During his time at VTC Richard was responsible for a number of transactions in the industrials, infrastructure and electronics space. He manages VTC’s interests in FRIWO AG. He is also in charge of public relations at VTC.
Before joining VTC Richard worked for Bain & Company as a project manager in the Munich and Stockholm offices. During his time at Bain he focused on strategy work and efficiency programs in the industrials and commodities sectors. Richard also spends some time on his forestry estate in Austria.
Richard is an Austrian citizen and holds a business degree from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and an MBA from the University of Chicago, USA.
Dr. Thomas Robl
Before co-founding VTC in 1992 Thomas had worked for IMM Industrie Management München, back then one of the first private equity firms in Germany.
During his time at VTC Thomas applied his long experience at numerous transactions. In the early years of VTC he initiated and implemented a number of industry roll-ups and took on executive positions in portfolio companies. Thomas co-founded one of the leading German private equity fund-of-funds and today is a member of the company’s supervisory board.
Thomas holds a PhD (Dr.rer.nat.) in physics from the Technische Universität Munich and an INSEAD MBA, France.
Ludovic Taillandier joined the investment team of VTC in 2023. He works on current transactions and is screening potential investment opportunities and markets.
Before joining VTC he spent several years working in the private equity sector at Crédit Mutuel Equity in Frankfurt.
Ludovic holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business, as well as a Master of Science degree with focus on Strategy & Innovation from Maastricht University, Netherlands.
Dr. Ulrich Wolfrum
Since 2000 Ulrich has worked on numerous transactions at VTC. In addition he chaired strategic projects and add-on acquisitions at portfolio companies. He is responsible for deal sourcing at VTC and is the contact person for investment banks and M&A advisors.
Ulrich started his career at A.T. Kearney in Munich and Dusseldorf. There he focused on efficiency programs and strategy development in the consumer goods, retail and energy sectors, where he could apply the experiences from his family business.
Ulrich holds a business degree and a PhD in business from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.
Baettr is a leading component supplier for the wind industry. The company is specialized in the serial production of large cast products for on- and off-shore markets incl. CNC-machining, metal finishing as well as subassembly offerings according to customer specifications. The international footprint with three foundries, two machining and two surface treatment facilities in Europe and Asia is ideally positioned to serve its customers worldwide.
FRIWO AG is an internationally operating systems provider developing, producing and marketing high-performance, high-quality hard- and software solutions along the electrical drive train. FRIWO’s main market segments are e-mobility, household appliances and tools, medical equipment and industrial applications. Based on a global manufacturing and sourcing footprint, FRIWO is able to deliver leading edge technology at highly competitive prices.
JK Group is a worldwide leading manufacturer of devices for the tanning, fitness, and beauty industry. At the Company’s headquarter in Windhagen (Germany), JK develops and produces devices under the brand names “Ergoline”, “Beauty Angel”, “Sun Angel” and “Wellsystem”. The fields of application include cosmetic tanning, red light and near infrared applications for skin care as well as dry water massage.
Sesotec develops and manufactures machines and systems for the detection and separation of contaminants, for product inspection and for the sorting of material flows. Product sales primarily focus on the global food, plastics, pharmaceutical, wood, textile, and recycling industries. Sesotec’s global market leadership is based on a high competence in a wide range of technologies. The leading facility for design, development and manufacturing is located in Germany. Sesotec’s export quota amounts to over 50%.
United Souvenirs GmbH is a leading retailer and wholesaler of souvenirs and gift items in Europe. With its wholesale activities, the company is present throughout Europe. In addition, United Souvenirs operates over 60 stores in tourist hot spots in Austria, Germany, Spain, Poland and Slovakia.
Sales (EUR m):
We are constantly looking for new investments for further growth. Due to our lean decision making processes any new investment opportunity will be analyzed quickly by our team. We have earned a reputation for finding creative solutions suited for every new transaction. Since we invest our own money, we think long term and do not focus on exit strategies.
We are looking for companies which fulfill the following criteria:
We have no sector focus. In the past we have done transactions in manufacturing, services and wholesale.
Our group companies range from EUR 45m to EUR 240m in sales. Even with substantial growth potential investments should have revenues of at least EUR 10m.
We also look for add on acquisitions for our portfolio companies which can be smaller.
Investment amount and regional focus:
We are looking for majority stakes but will also consider a qualified minority. We invest equity tickets of up to EUR 50m per deal, in case of larger transactions we would work with a partner.
Our regional focus lies on Germany, and neighbouring countries.
Hygienic design and its role in certified food safety management
What is hygienic design for food processing equipment?
Hygienic design refers to designing all components of food processing machinery in order to facilitate cleaning and reduce the risk of contaminating food products with biological, chemical or physical hazards.
A few examples of hygienic design for food processing machinery include:
Sealing off dead spaces, such as crevices and gaps
Ensuring all food contact areas are accessible for cleaning
Eliminating the build-up of condensation
Using materials that can be repeatedly and intensively cleaned without abrasion
Eliminating components that may loosen, break off and fall into food products
Installing drying or draining mechanisms for equipment sanitised with wet-cleaning methods
Why is hygienic design important for food safety?
The hygienic design of food processing equipment has a significant impact on food safety.
Food manufacturing and processing businesses are required to ensure their products are free from biological, chemical and physical contaminants. Inadequate hygienic design can heighten food safety risks by increasing the likelihood that food processing equipment itself becomes a vector for cross-contamination.
By building sanitary equipment that is easy to clean, resistant to wear and free of areas where moisture can accumulate, hygienic design greatly helps to reduce the contamination risks inherent in food processing.
The role of hygienic design guidelines in food safety standards
Another compelling reason to comply with hygienic design best practises is that applying them is necessary to receive regulatory approval and food safety certifications.
Around the world, regulatory authorities and certification programme owners incorporate hygienic design best practises into their standards for the fabrication, installation, maintenance and cleanability of food processing facilities and equipment. In order to comply with food safety law or become certified with a third-party food safety standard, food manufacturers must invariably adhere to the best practises of hygienic design.
In the European Union and the United States, there are two prominent organisations whose guidelines for hygienic design inform both food safety law and international food safety standards: the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) and 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc. (3-A SSI).
Here is an overview of how these organisations promote their guidelines for hygienic design in partnership with certification programmes and regulatory authorities:
EHEDG in the European Union
The EHEDG is a non-governmental organisation based in Europe that is dedicated to the promotion of hygienic design in food engineering. Their team of food safety experts and engineers has published upwards of 50 guidelines for the hygienic design of food processing facilities, production environments and a wide range of food processing equipment.
In the third edition of their hygienic design principles, EHEDG describes a series of provisions intended to prevent contamination by foreign particulate (Doc. 8, chp. 4.5). These guidelines include considerations about the selection of construction materials, the use of hygienic shields over all open products and containers and the implementation of an effective preventative maintenance programme, amongst other things.
EHEDG offers certification programmes for food manufacturers as well as suppliers of sanitary food manufacturing equipment. While official certification is voluntary for food processors, applying EHEDG guidelines is a necessary part of compliance with legal requirements for hygiene and food safety as prescribed by European laws. These laws include EU Nr. 10/2011 and EC 1935/2004, which regulate the kinds of materials and articles that may come into contact with foods.
3 A SSI in the United States
3‑A SSI was created in the 1920s as a collaboration between American professional sanitarians, equipment fabricators and processors to improve the hygienic design of milk pipe fittings. Today, 3‑A SSI maintains 70 different sanitary standards for a wide range of food processing equipment with particular emphasis on dairy products. The 3‑A symbol is a registered mark that can be featured on food processing equipment that meets their sanitary standards.
3-A guidelines for equipment manufacturers also include criteria that can help to prevent physical contamination. These criteria cover topics such as material selection, requirements for the surface finish of equipment and the elimination of flaws such as pits, folds and crevices.
Like EHEDG, 3‑A certification is voluntary. However, 3-A standards serve as important references for regulatory authorities in the United States, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Agriculture (USDA). For example, the USDA Dairy Division has an approval process for all equipment used in dairy facilities – and all equipment that that conforms with relevant 3-A standards meets these requirements by default.
International food safety certification and hygienic design
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a leading international organisation dedicated to the continuous improvement of food safety management systems worldwide. They develop benchmarking requirements for owners of food safety certification programmes, such as IFS Food, SQF, BRCGS and more.
In 2020, GFSI published a new and more robust set of benchmarking requirements for hygienic design: GFSI JI (for building constructors and equipment manufacturers) and GFSI JII (for building and equipment users).
The criteria laid out in GFSI JI and JII were not only informed by standards from the EHEDG and 3‑A SSI, but were actively indorsed by these organisations. As such, all international food safety certification programmes recognised by GFSI involve implementing hygienic design best practises developed by EHEDG and 3-A SSI.
What additional benefits can hygienic design in food processing equipment offer food manufacturers?
Beyond reducing contamination risks and helping achieve compliance with food safety standards, food processors and manufacturers stand to boost productivity by ensuring their facilities and processing equipment are built according to hygienic design principles.
Food processing equipment that adheres to hygienic design principles helps to expedite thorough cleaning processes and reduce the time and money that businesses spend sanitising machinery, thus boosting their profitability.
From their mixing machines, to their packaging lines, to their metal detectors and x-ray inspection devices, food industry businesses have a lot to gain by ensuring their equipment is built according to recognised standards for hygienic design. In addition to helping improve the safety and quality of their products, hygienic design can boost a business’s profitability by reducing the time and resources spent cleaning. Furthermore, because both legal regulations and third-party certification programmes evaluate hygienic design, food industry businesses can facilitate approvals and certifications by complying with hygienic design guidelines throughout their processes.
E-Book: Food Safety - What food processors need to know
The food industry is among the most regulated industries in the world. Manufacturers and processors must comply with a multitude of laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, and guidelines in order to produce and market foods in different regions.
This e-book is meant to offer a comprehensive overview of the varying and influential factors shaping the future of food manufacturing and processing. We hope you find many valuable and interesting pieces of information inside.