The takeover of the Austrian plumbing and heating wholesaler ÖAG by the stock exchange-listed Frauenthal Group presented various specific requirements in terms of internal and external communications. ÖAG was a plumbing supplies wholesaler and a competitor of Frauenthal’s existing sanitation wholesale company, SHT Haustechnik AG. It was owned by the international Wolseley Group, which was also listed on the stock exchange. The key challenges were addressing the competitive situation, adhering to the legal stock exchange publication guidelines and implementing systematic preparations for the contract signing, the timeframe of which varied depending on contractual negotiations. In terms of communications, the high level of confidentiality involved prior to the initial publication of the contract signing (and extending right through to the final closing of the deal) meant that there was little opportunity to announce any specific structural or integration projects.
During the preparations for this signing, a comprehensive communications programme was devised in close collaboration with the executive board at Frauenthal and SHT as well as the heads of human resources, communications and investor relations. This began with the signature and initial publication of the project in May 2014 – from ad hoc communications and press releases to employee information, manager briefings and training sessions, site roadshows and customer and supplier information from the Frauenthal, ÖAG and SHT.
The purchase was well received by all the stakeholders involved (employees of ÖAG and SHT as well as the press and investors) thanks to the strategic and carefully timed and planned communications and the implementation of these communications strategies during the signature and closing stages, with all of the relevant departments and managers being included in the process. This laid the foundations for the positive development of both companies as well as the parent Company.