AINS Group are a multidisciplinary design and consultancy firm employing 1,300 real estate and construction experts. They are now the leading partner firm in construction industry in Finland, and one of the country’s largest structural engineering design firms. Growth has been ensured, not only by the commitment to quality of work and enthusiasm of these experts, but also by the acquisitions made – in recent years, with the welcome advice of Alder & Sound. The company’s turnover was 106 MEUR in 2021 (pro forma).
For six decades, AINS Group has left its mark on the built environment – starting with the Tampere beach tunnel awarded as the world’s best mega project, Musiikkitalo in Helsinki and the Naantali power plant awarded as a good site are just some examples. Even in demanding construction projects, success and ability to rise to the challenge is based on enormous expertise and developing the built environment with a big heart. It is also reflected in the firm’s motto: People for better and bolder construction.
Acquisitions – including several renowned engineering and architectural firms since the 2010s – have brought new know-how to the company. With them has also come the realisation that a partner would help resolve the matter of due diligence inspections and other tax and legal issues.
Alder & Sound are agile, flexible, and it has been easy to work with them.
“We needed external expertise to complement our own”, notes Tiina Volmer, M&A Director at AINS Group, “so we set out to find a partner who did. We chose Alder because they were agile, flexible, and the right size for us”.
Because acquisitions are about buying the specific know-how of experts, it means taking into account features particular to the planning and consulting industry. AINS Group also considers it especially important that employees will want to continue working at their firm and are committed to continue in their duties after the acquisition.
“Buying the knowledge of an expert is, for instance, different from buying a factory or some machines”, explains Volmer and continues: “Since our business acquisitions relate to people, it’s important that there’s a good spirit, respect and even excitement to negotiations. Ways and style of the interaction is very important”.
Alder takes the special features of this industry into account, and they know the things that matter to us.
AINS Group and Alder & Sound began working together in 2021. Several joint projects have already been successfully completed which carefully took into account how company structures and entities were arranged before a sale went through. This is particularly important as there can be associated legal and tax issues which need to be considered first.
“For example, we use Alder & Sound’s know-how for due diligence inspections” Volmer adds. “Alder has done a combined financial, tax and legal analysis for us, but it’s their tax and legal expertise we especially appreciate. Alder will do a report for us on what we need to know for the deed of sale and for integration, but when it comes to foreign companies, Alder also has ready-made alternatives for us through its extensive partner network.”
Since every case is different, not everything can be prepared for in advance. The way we solve things together has been pleasant and works.
Acquisitions are treated as projects, and during the project the teams from Alder & Sound and AINS Group are in close contact, and so have become very familiar with each other.
“We’ve got to know each other and the way we work inside and out”, Volmer says, describing how the two companies work together. “Alder understands the special features of our industry and knows what really matters to us”.
Since every business transaction and objective is different, not everything can be prepared for in advance. For Volmer, there are always special questions, so an advisor is required who’s readily available for even the smallest details.
“The way we solve the things that come up has been pleasant and works”, Volmer observes, noting in particular the effectiveness of Alder & Sound’s solution-oriented approach.
Johanna Kannisto, responsible for customer success at Alder & Sound’s, and team member Lauri Karppinen agree with Tiina. “Our collaboration is based on clarity, simplicity and trust. With these foundations, working together feels very natural”.
The division of responsibilities between client and advisor has been clear from the start, and schedules are agreed upon well in advance. “Rather than communicating by email, things have been efficiently discussed in Teams meetings or on the phone,” Johanna adds. “This, in turn, has made it simpler to work together and lowered the threshold for keeping in touch”.
“In business transactions, it’s important to keep the whole picture in mind, and we’ve kept the team the same at our end, so there’s some consistency between the assignments,” Johanna and Lauri sum up with a smile. “It’s rewarding to see our customers’ success stories from this close”.
This interview was conducted in November 2022 by the communication agency Aava & Bang.
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