Bergambacht, Koninklijke Otolift Trapliften, the Dutch market leader in the development, production, installation and maintenance of stairlifts, has reached an agreement with investment company NPM Capital to welcome them as a new shareholder. The family business, which was founded in 1891 and is currently led by its fourth generation, will bring a new family on board with NPM Capital, part of the multinational and family-owned company SHV.
With this transaction, Otolift does not only secure its shareholder base for the long term: the company will also be empowered to accelerate its current international expansion strategy and its growth in designated export markets. The family business exports stairlifts to 48 countries through its expansive dealership network and has multiple offices in the Netherlands, as well as local sales offices in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Over the last few years, Otolift benefitted from elevated sales and rentals of new and secondhand stairlifts. Under the leadership of the current Board, consisting of Jan Otto, André and Alex Ooms (the great grandchildren of founder Otto Ooms), Otolift grew into a significant European player with a total annual revenue of over €150M in 2021. Spread out over the company headquarters and the 15,000 square metre production hall in Bergambacht, the Netherlands, a second production site in Slovakia, and the company's various daughter companies, the family business now employs approximately 700 people. In addition, the company has an expansive European service network: within the Netherlands alone, over 110 mechanics are on call to provide 24/7 service.
Otolift sees opportunities for growth in international markets, which can be capitalised on by opening new sales offices, among other things. Achieving this growth also requires further professionalisation of the business. “We believe we will be able to take this step faster, better, and more easily with an external investor on board. NPM Capital has the means, the knowhow, the long-term vision and the commitment to bring Otolift to a new stage of growth. The fact that NPM understands the dynamics of a family business is very appealing to us. NPM has a great deal of experience supporting companies of our type and size, with similar potential and growth ambitions. And they are familiar with the complexity and professionalisation efforts involved with that,” said the three Ooms brothers in a shared statement.
Otolift is known to be very innovative. The company was the first to use production techniques like CNC-controlled lathes, robots, and lasers. Otolift developed its own app in-house, enabling sales consultants to accurately measure – down to the millimetre – any staircase within twenty minutes. A built-in Augmented Reality (AR) option then shows the customer precisely how the stairlift would look once installed. In 2016, the company launched the Otolift Modul-Air, a fully modular stairlift that enabled significant reductions of lead times. The rail is also unique: it is the most slender single rail in the world.
Otolift has won several awards in recent years, including the Smart Manufacturing Award and the Red Dot Design Award for the design of its stairlift.
Rutger Ruigrok, Managing Director of NPM Capital commented: “We consider the quality, sustainability and reusability of Otolift's stairlifts to be major assets for the further growth of the business. Otolift is very accessible to end users as well, thanks to its short delivery times and its stairlifts' compatibility with any type of staircase. This investment aligns perfectly with our strategic investment theme ‘Healthy Life’. As stairlifts enable growing numbers of people to live an independent life in their own homes and in their familiar environments for a longer time. We are impressed by the knowledge, expertise and engagement of Otolift's teams and we look forward to working with them to help the company achieve further growth.”
The closing of the planned transaction is subject to the usual conditions applicable to transactions of this nature. The parties involved will not disclose any financial details of the acquisition.