Earlier this month, the cold chain solutions specialist, Envirotainer announced that its bid for a majority takeover of the thermal insulations and temperature-controlled packaging manufacturer, va-Q-tec, had been approved. The two companies are now working on va-Q-tec’s integration, which should be completed by the second half of next year.
The press release emphasized that the integration would be carried out with minimum impact to customers who could expect continued high levels of service and support. The two companies will follow a “jointly agreed ‘customer first’ principle.” It went on to promise that: “The combination of the two businesses will revolutionize the industry and will lead to a comprehensive and unparalleled temperature-controlled offering. […] va-Q-tec is a pioneer in the area of thermal insulations and thermal energy efficiency and offers a wide range of temperature-controlled packaging solutions, that are based on an award-winning vacuum insulation panel technology, as well as different types of phase change materials.”
A new era with a number of benefits
At the time of the announcement, Envirotainer’s CEO, Peter Gisel-Ekdahl, commented: “Today, a new era starts for our businesses and clients. Together, we will enable even greater global access to life-saving temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. The combination marks the start of a new accelerated period of growth for Envirotainer, fueled by a comprehensive portfolio of temperature-controlled solutions tailored for customers across the whole spectra of the pharmaceutical industry.”
va-Q-tec CEO, Dr Joachim Kuhn, added: “Both businesses have a long history of success and complementary strengths. As one, we will supercharge our ability to develop ever better, innovative, and sustainable cold chain solutions. Ultimately, this will improve patient's health while reducing environmental impact.”
A few more details
CargoForwarder Global (CFG) approached Peter Gisel-Ekdahl (PGE) with a brief list of comprehension questions:
CFG: va-Q-tec is now a part of Envirotainer - correct?
PGE: This is what has happened: Envirotainer is majority-owned by EQT Private Equity (supported by co-investors Mubadala and Cinven). EQT made a majority takeover offer for va-Q-tec, that has now been approved by authorities in Germany [12JUN23] and Austria [30JUN23]. The approval means that the combination of the two industry leading brands, Envirotainer and va-Q-tec´s pharma focused business is now cleared. The full combination is expected to be in place during the second half of 2024.
The non-pharmaceutical operations of va-Q-tec, providing cold chain for food, and vacuum insulation panels for appliances, construction, technics & industry and mobility, will continue to operate separately.
CFG: Will the brand names remain separate?
PGE: va-Q-tec´s pharma focused business and Envirotainer will be combined under the Envirotainer company name. The naming of the brand names has not been decided yet.
CFG: Will the two companies move under one roof?
PGE: va-Q-tec´s pharma focused business and Envirotainer will be combined under the Envirotainer company name and management.
CFG: Do va-Q-tec and Envirotainer share the same customer base? How will the take-over affect va-Q-tec customers that work with other cool-container providers?
PGE: va-Q-tec's offering of advanced passive boxes and containers that maintain temperatures from -180°C to +20°C without external energy input is a perfect match to Envirotainer's solutions, which includes active Unit Load Device (ULD) Containers, (using battery powered compressor cooling and electric heating technology) and CryoSure®, a minus 70°C dry ice shipping solution. The combination of the two businesses will revolutionize the industry and will lead to a comprehensive and unparalleled temperature-controlled offering, tailored to all kind of customer needs. Also, by combining the two entities the operational network of service stations will further expand, which will cater to the global growing demand of temperature controlled pharmaceutical shipping.
CFG: How do the two companies support sustainability?
PGE: Both companies have sustainability as key focus area and are committed to working towards a more sustainable cold chain industry.
Both companies also have solutions that are designed to use the cargo compartment in the most effective way and are extremely reliable in ensuring that temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals arrive without any temperature fluctuations, meaning less pharma waste and therefore lower environmental impact. And most of the joint solutions are re-used hundreds of times, resulting in a lower carbon footprint per vial transported.
The original press release stated that the approval of the combination of Envirotainer and va-Q-tec´s pharma offering would enable them to establish a complete portfolio of unrivalled temperature-controlled solutions. Upon CFG’s questions whether any joint, new products were already planned for development, the answer was that there was no information available at the moment. The same applied to CFG’s questions regarding whether all va-Q-tec employees would be taken over by Envirotainer, and how much global cool product market share Envirotainer now has with the takeover. The press release simply confirmed that it enabled “Expanded operations and offerings to extend global, sustainable access of lifesaving pharmaceuticals,” and that “This authorization gives the clearance to combine two industry-leading brands: Envirotainer for the active part and va-Q-tec for the advanced passive temperature-controlled supply chain solutions.”
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