One year ago, Robin Boheman took over as the CEO of Instalco. Now, twelve months later, the company has 23 new subsidiaries and nearly SEK 2 billion more in sales. Coping with the pandemic and macroeconomic uncertainties have become part of the daily routine. “It’s been a challenging first year,” says Robin Boheman.
“We’ve navigated our way through the pandemic and have coped with rising inflation and higher prices for raw materials and supplies. Throughout it all, we’ve demonstrated that we can deliver our promised margins, which is proof that the Instalco model works even in more challenging times,” says Robin.
“Despite an uncertain macro situation, willingness to invest among our customers has remained high and our observation is that demand is stable. Our order backlog is strong, right now at just over SEK 8 billion,” he says.
When Robin took over as President and CEO, he promised that it would be business as usual. And that’s pretty much how it has been, too. Robin is by no means new to Instalco. He’s essentially been a part of it all since day one, when the prior CEO, Per Sjöstrand, founded the company in 2014. Robin started out as Head of M&A and then moved on to the position of CFO. He helped develop the Instalco model, which is largely based on subsidiaries running their business the same way that they did prior to joining the Instalco Group, yet with the advantages of being part of a network and having access to all of the expertise that exists within the Group. In other words, business as usual.
“I’ve not wanted to change our successful model. My focus has been on creating security among the entrepreneurs of our subsidiaries and our financial owners. Of course, though, I’ve wanted to put my own stamp on Instalco through the leadership style I’ve developed over the years,” says Robin.
During Robin’s first year as CEO, focus has been on building up the Industrial area of the business, growing in Norway and Finland and continuing to strengthen the Technical Consulting activities.
“I want to build a more stable company by, for example, expanding our base of companies in Norway and Finland so that we can more easily create business synergies between our subsidiaries, which is one of the pillars of the Instalco model. To achieve that, we have in Finland, for example, strengthened the organisation by adding two business area managers last year.
Growth and development of our two smaller business areas, Industrial and Technical Consulting has also been good during the year, which we’ve achieved both through acquisitions and organically. In the Industrial area, we see opportunities here for finding new, interesting acquisition candidates and openings for creating synergies with our existing companies. And, by developing the Technical Consulting part of the business, we can offer customers a comprehensive offer, covering everything from design to installation and combining theory with practice in a way that we were not previously able to do,” he says.
Instalco is sometimes referred to as a serial acquirer, but you like to tone that down a bit. How so?
“Well, we never acquire companies solely for the sake of acquisition. Our track record shows that we are more of a quality acquirer than a serial acquirer. We select the companies that we acquire with a great deal of care. We want all of the new companies that join the Group to thrive and develop together with us and our existing companies. It is also very important that our entrepreneurs sincerely want to be a part of the Group, not just sell their company to Instalco,” he says.
We’re seeing soaring electricity/energy prices and much emphasis on transition to a sustainable society. What is Instalco’s position there?
“Energy crisis and energy prices are hot topics these days. It thus feels very reassuring to be working at a company that can do something about it. This is an area where we are already making a difference today. Instalco installs energy-saving systems at all sorts of properties in the Nordic region every single day. Installing modern systems that are energy-saving and energy-efficient is how we contribute to a better society. Energy efficiency is the key to lower electricity bills over the long term,” he says.
Robin Boheman is advocating for bold energy-efficiency initiatives from the Swedish government and parliament.
“We need initiatives focusing on lower energy consumption and steering demand to times when the energy supply is high. We also need to develop storage capacity. Issuing cash subsidies to those who use the most energy and have the highest electricity bills is not going to solve anything over the long term. Instead, it would be better to direct a significant portion of those funds into lowering energy use and supporting investments in initiatives that will lower energy consumption over the long term.
In other words, we need to prioritize efficiency, not compensation, he says.
It has been an intensive first year as CEO for Robin, during which several important milestones were achieved: In October 2021, Instalco acquired its 100th company, in January 2022 Instalco became listed on the Large Cap list on Nasdaq Stockholm, and during the second quarter of 2022, Instalco surpassed net sales of SEK 10 billion on a 12-month rolling basis for the first time in its history.
“I thrive when there is a lot going on and even though these are challenging times, I’m optimistic about the future. I’m passionate about Instalco and have been from the very start. We’ve proven that our model works extremely well, no matter how the wind is blowing,” concludes Robin Boheman.