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SWEDEN: Refrigeration wholesaler Beijer Ref is said to have used AI to identify over 1,000 new potential acquisition targets. 

With some 70 subsidiaries in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa with sales across 42 countries, Beijer Ref can claim to be the world’s largest global wholesaler of of commercial refrigeration, industrial refrigeration, air conditioning and heating.

It is revealed that the company has been working with Stockholm-based AI company Grasp to find relevant acquisition targets across the globe. So far, 40 million companies have been analysed in 22 countries, generating over 1,000 new potential acquisition targets for Beijer Ref.

The AI solution also provides Beijer Ref with non-reported data points needed to prioritise amongst the targets – these include products sold, brands carried, and proxies for revenue and growth figures.

“Grasp ensures that we see the full picture of any market and can rest assured we’re not missing any potential opportunities,” commented Beijer Ref’s head of M&A and EVP David Ericsson. “Acquisitions are a key part of our growth strategy and exhaustive target scans with high quality company data is a competitive advantage.”

Prior to the millennium, acquisitions had made the Beijer Group the leading refrigeration wholesaler in the Nordic countries, but it was formation of Beijer Ref in 2001 and the purchase of the Danfoss-owned Elsmark Group in 2004 which signalled the company’s serious intent.

One of the main prizes in the Elsmark purchase was that of Dean & Wood, one of the “big three” UK wholesalers, but it also included the not insignificant activities of Swiss wholesaler Werner Kuster AG, Dutch wholesaler Coolmark and the eastern European business Equinoxe of Hungary. Over the years the business was gradually expanded with further acquisitions in the Nordic countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as the purchase of Carrier’s air conditioning and refrigeration distribution operations in Europe and South Africa. This included leading French wholesaler GFF and its operations in Belgium and Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. Further expansion into Africa and Asia Pacific followed.

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