Dutch company Heras from Oirschot, near Eindhoven, has taken over Danish fencing company SER Hegn. In doing so, the company is considerably expanding their market share in the Scandinavian market.
SER Hegn consists of several companies, spread across Denmark: SER Hegn, Moosdorf, Stentoft Hegn and SER Hegn Øst. Heras will own all these companies. “We are so impressed with the people at SER Hegn,” says Heras CEO Gilles Rabot. “This company has been proving its expertise in the field of fencing sales, installation and maintenance in Denmark for years. Heras was already active in Scandinavia. Bringing together SER and Heras gives us a leading position and a strong foundation for further growth.”
Years ago, the company took over the Swedish Tuvan Stängsel, followed by a Norwegian branch of Gunnebo soon after. “We are looking to further expand our activities in the Nordic market,” says Rabot. “Taking over SER gives us a large chunk of market share. The SER headquarters can also serve as a hub for all of Scandinavia as it is situated centrally in Denmark and on the route to Sweden and Norway. Large stocks of all common fencing and gate types are available there, which we can distribute quickly and easily across all three countries. With this step, we are now ready to become the market leader in perimeter protection in the Nordics.”
SER Hegn (‘hegn’ is the Danish word for fences) was founded in 1990 by Svend Erik Rasmussen. The Givskud Zoo, the first safari park in Europe with free-roaming lions, wanted a fence for a new hippo enclosure at the time, but was not satisfied with their current fencing supplier. Rasmussen was working for that supplier and the zoo was happy with him though. “If you set up your own business, we’ll make sure you have enough orders for the initial period,” the zoo’s buyers told him. The zoo is still a major customer. Rasmussen expanded his company by mainly focusing on big customers with lots of projects in the early years. The Danish railway company Banedanmark was the first of these, followed soon after by companies like Coca Cola, Carlsberg and Shell. This allowed Rasmussen to devote all his time and energy to installation, without having to set up a big sales department.
Svend’s son Henrik Rasmussen joined the company in 2006. Together with his father, he expanded the company into the largest fencing company in Denmark – SER Hegn now employs 80 fencers. “The growth was mostly organic,” says Henrik. “We were able to grow big mainly by staying small. We don’t have many managers in the office, and the lines are short: between the crews and the salespeople and planners, but also to our customers. We always give our customers a quick and uncomplicated answer. What’s more, for 30 years now our focus has been on fast and efficient installation. Customers really appreciate that. They recommend us all the time, so there’s hardly any need to put effort in sales.”The growth also partly came from the acquisition of several other fencing companies, including Scan Hegn in 2009, Moosdorf Hegn in 2012, Jima Hegn in 2015, Jysk Hegn in 2018 and Stentoft Hegn in 2019. Moosdorf and Stentoft are still separate companies, which are now also moving over to Heras.
Henrik Rasmussen will remain active in the company. “I sold 100 percent of the SER shares to Heras,” he says, “but the purchase price consists partly of Heras shares. This was at my request because it really motivates me to make the company we have built, but also the Heras brand in Scandinavia, much bigger.” In the coming period, Rasmussen will mainly focus on the integration of SER Hegn, but also the Norwegian and Swedish branches, into the Heras structures. In addition, Heras is planning to set up a Heras Academy, where Rasmussen can put his knowledge and skills to good use to make installation and service work even more efficient and smarter. At this academy, installers will be trained to install fencing uniformly and with the same standards.
Needless to say, Rasmussen may have raised an eyebrow when Heras approached him about the takeover, although it hardly came as a surprise. “My father and I have always said to each other, ‘If anyone ever takes over the company, it should be Heras.’ We have been buying a large part of our materials from them since 1993, and in 1998 we installed the first Delta Gate in Scandinavia. Our crews are extremely familiar with the Heras materials, and the relationship between the Heras and SER people is also very good. Some employees have known each other for more than 20 years. This is a huge opportunity for our company. As part of this large group, we will be able to grow even faster in many areas. In turnover, in professionalism, in portfolio, you name it. I am very much looking forward to the coming years.”