Minol-ZENNER is growing. You could even say it is going back to the future. The Danish company Brunata International is joining the Group, with both parties signing the appropriate contract in Copenhagen on July 8.
July 2018: Minol-ZENNER is growing. You could even say it is going back to the future. The Danish company Brunata International is joining the Group, with both parties signing the appropriate contract in Copenhagen on July 8. This move could be seen as Minol going back to its origins, as its core business – heating costs billing – stems from Brunata Wärmemesser Werner Lehmann GmbH & Co., which was founded in Stuttgart in 1952 as a licensee of the Danish Brunata company. The two companies have been in constant contact ever since. “By acquiring Brunata International, the Minol-ZENNER Group is simply bringing back together what belongs together,” says Eva Fischer Hansen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Brunata. “This enables us to remain a family-owned company with strong roots and a clear growth strategy.” As a result of this acquisition, the Minol-Brunata-ZENNER Group is now the third largest provider of sub-metering solutions in Europe and the world. The group now possesses a leading position in the Scandinavian market and expands the business into the European countries with around 600.000 additional housing units. At the same time, heating costs billing has long become just one of many areas of focus for the Group, which has now moved into the wireless networking of properties via radio systems and the Internet of Things.
Minol-ZENNER employs 3,200 staff members worldwide, and achieved sales of approximately 322 million euros in 2017. Brunata International now adds a further 300 employees across Europe and sales of 40 million euros. All Brunata employees and managers are being retained, and the company will continue to operate under the same name. “We have always been Minol-Brunata,” says Alexander Lehmann, Managing Director of Minol. “This acquisition is therefore a logical step. It underlines the historical connection of the two companies and also helps us further strengthen our position on international markets.”
Digitization of the property and supply industries
This acquisition is in keeping with two strategies that Minol-ZENNER has been pursuing for several years. Digitization and growth – both organic and also through partnerships, new companies and acquisitions. “We help the property and supply industries worldwide to digitize their processes and implement scenarios such as smart metering, smart living and smart city,” says Lehmann, summing up the purpose of the corporation. Long Range Wide Area Networks (LoRaWAN) create the structural framework for this. LoRaWANs are energy efficient and have a huge range, connecting the consumption meter and many other objects fitted with sensors in buildings and cities. This makes it possible for end users, property managers, energy suppliers and municipal utilities to use web-based applications. Monitoring, controlling and billing energy consumption are just as much a possibility on this basis as are smart city applications such as intelligent waste disposal, lighting and parking systems and traffic safety solutions.
Ready for smart meter rollout
And we are still in the early stages of networking these technologies. The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) recently came into force. In this respect, too, Minol benefits from the experience of the Danish company because from 2020, installed meters and heat cost allocators in Germany will have to be readable remotely, so as to keep householders regularly informed of their energy consumption. Denmark is a pioneer in this. Large parts of the new EED have already been implemented there and residents can already monitor their energy consumption on a daily basis. “When it comes to green energy, energy efficiency and energy management, Denmark is miles ahead of us. Whereas the smart meter rollout just started in Germany, it was completed in Denmark long ago. We can certainly benefit from this experience,” says Lehmann.
Why Minol and Brunata International fit together so well
Like Minol, Brunata holds key patents in the field of heat cost allocators and has often taken a pioneering role during its hundred-year history, for example as one of the first providers of heat cost allocators. Run by the Fischer Hansen family, the company now has two focal points – consumption data and property data e.g. regarding the indoor climate – and offers building residents, owners and managers a whole range of online services to bring transparency to the water, heating and energy consumption situation in buildings, discover damp problems and potential energy savings and thus significantly cut energy consumption.
Continuing to expand in the IoT environment
As part of its digitization offensive, the Minol-ZENNER Group recently acquired shares in several companies that focus on IoT and software. It has held shares in Swiss IoT solutions provider TrackNet and the Karlsruhe-based company SmartMakers since 2017. ZENNER IoT Solutions in Hamburg and ZENNER Connect AG in Switzerland were founded in the same year. ZENNER acquired a majority holding in Mannheim-based IT specialists Hessware and the energy division of Alfa Centauri S.p.A., an Italian specialist in smart gas meters. Since 2018, Minol has held shares in Sykosh AG, which develops cloud computing solutions for companies in the housing and property industries. As a group, Minol-Brunata-ZENNER thus offers end-to-end IoT solutions – from meters, sensors and the technical infrastructure for collecting data to a secure, Germany-based IoT data cloud including big data management and software platforms and applications for specific utilization of the data. More information about the Minol-ZENNER Group at www.minol.de/minol-zenner-gruppe (German) and about Brunata Denmark at www.brunata.com (English).
About the Minol-ZENNER Group
The family-run Minol-ZENNER Group produces and markets metering equipment and offers metering services for global markets. Minol Messtechnik W. Lehmann GmbH & Co. KG is a world-leading provider of meter reading services for the housing sector. Headquartered in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, nearby Stuttgart, Germany, Minol maintains a nationwide presence through 20 branches. In addition to meter reading and energy cost billing, Minol offers a range of services to assist property owners in lowering their operational costs and ensuring compliance with statutory obligations such as legionella sampling of domestic water and the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors. ZENNER International GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Saarbrücken, Germany, produces and markets metering equipment for global markets. Between them, Minol and ZENNER have a combined workforce of more than 3,200 and maintain a local presence through subsidiaries and sales partners in more than 40 countries.