Consolidation: KILDE Automation becomes part of BILA Group


The Skive-based automation company KILDE Automation A/S is becoming a part of BILA Group A/S. The acquisition is aimed at securing long-term growth and strengthening the international competitiveness of both parties. The transaction is part of the plan to create an even stronger Danish player in the international market for industrial automation. The goal of this plan is to meet the demands of rapidly growing Danish industrial conglomerates.


"It provides even better opportunities for us to develop as a partner to the industry and as an attractive workplace in Skive,"


Peter Friis, CEO, KILDE Automation


Over the past two decades, BILA Group A/S has evolved into the leading supplier of production and logistics automation for industrial customers in Scandinavia. The acquisition of KILDE Automation is a step in this development. For over 50 years, KILDE Automation has been one of the country's leading machine builders and, since the 1990s, among the leading providers of automation solutions for the electronics, plastics, medical, and metal industries.


”We are proud and honored to have the opportunity to continue driving KILDE Automation. Stanny Kilde started the company back in 1970, and when I was young, he was in a league completely different from what I could dream of in machine building.”


Jan B. Sørensen, CEO, BILA Group


Furthermore, Jan B. Sørensen emphasises: "I have had the pleasure and honor to meet Stanny several times. In addition to being a really good person and a brilliant machine builder, he was also very persistent in his views and managed to create a strong and well-run company and a series of truly unique machines.”


Following a generational and ownership change in 2005, KILDE Automation has continued to develop, employing about 90 people today, supporting a wide range of industrial customers with automation and robot solutions. BILA Group acquires 100% of the share capital from the management of KILDE Automation, as well as SPAR VEST Fonden and the local investor, Bjarne Vium. Under the new ownership, KILDE Automation, based in Skive just 30 km from BILA's headquarters on Mors, will continue to operate as an independent unit.


We want to preserve the strength and focus of KILDE Automation's continued development with all its skilled automation experts, supported by BILA Group and our other specialists in sister companies, emphasises Jan B. Sørensen.


Muscles for more development in Skive


At KILDE Automation, CEO Peter Friis looks forward to continuing the development of the company under the new ownership: "Kilde Automation becomes part of a project that uses Danish know-how to create jobs, growth, and innovation. BILA Group's enthusiasm for building a strong player in a rapidly growing market and the desire to build on KILDE's extensive expertise provide ample opportunities for us to develop as a partner to the industry and as an attractive workplace in the local area," says Peter Friis, KILDE Automation.


The acquisition of KILDE Automation is a continuation of BILA Group's strategy to consolidate the automation industry, following the acquisition of other players in the industry, most recently PJM A/S (formerly Poul Johansen Maskiner). "It has been a year since we took over PJM, which has continued successfully as an independent unit, where management and employees are developing the company," says Johan Blach Petersen, chairman of the board of BILA Group, adding: "Large Danish industrial conglomerates are growing rapidly and acquiring competing conglomerates abroad.


Therefore, it is important that we, as automation partners, evolve to meet the demands of these conglomerates both domestically and internationally. If we do not evolve, we risk that the Danish manufacturing industry chooses large foreign automation suppliers."

Deep expertise in many industries


The individual companies in BILA Group specialise in automation for different production forms and customer segments. For example, KILDE Automation currently has deep expertise in the plastics manufacturing industry and the medical industry. Therefore, Kilde will primarily serve customers in these segments. At the same time, BILA Group develops best practices in all relevant areas such as project management, systematics in machine and solution development, software development, and more. The goal is to deliver the best and most competitive solutions to customers, have sufficient capacity, and offer international service.


BILA Group expects increased demand in the coming years, partly due to a certain investment drought during the Covid-19 years and partly due to the increased interest in reshoring production or nearby sourcing, where production is moved from Asia to Europe.


The fact that the transaction takes place between highly specialised companies in the same industry creates real consolidation, preparing the entire BILA Group to perform better internationally. "Stanny Kilde and Poul Johansen started an era in machine building with the companies KILDE Automation and PJM A/S, which is now famous among the foremost companies in Denmark and the rest of the world. We want to build on that, so I am incredibly pleased that it has succeeded and look forward to welcoming the employees of KILDE Automation into the BILA family.


The combination of our solution portfolios and technological competencies is a significant upgrade of the forces needed to expand not only our but also our customers' international success: The more skilled BILA Group becomes, the greater efficiency gains the industry gets," says Jan B. Sørensen, CEO of BILA Group.

BILA is now present in 11 locations in Denmark


BILA Group A/S is a modern, Danish knowledge company founded in 1988, focusing on production optimisation through automation solutions, typically using industrial robots.


In addition to Kilde Automation A/S, BILA Group has acquired PJM A/S, Reo-Pack, the service department at Blaaholm, and DAN Palletiser in recent years, so the automation company is now present in Nykøbing Mors and the following locations in Denmark: Skive, Herning, Aalborg, Randers, Sønderborg, Svendborg, Varde, Mariager, Vemmelev, and Fårevejle, as well as in Norway and Sweden. From these locations, BILA Group delivers automation solutions to various industries in the European and American markets.


The automation company has an annual turnover in the billion range and employs more than 600 people in consulting, construction, development, implementation, and subsequent servicing of robot systems. Divided into business areas of Automation, End of Line, and Service, BILA Group's solutions include a wide range of high-tech industrial robot systems, palletising machines, self-driving trucks, etc., helping optimise production and internal logistics for a wide range of manufacturing companies.


Published in April 2022.


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