December 7, 2023
Achtung! Hess GmbH Acquired by Ragni Group
Photo credit: Hess GmbH
Experience Brands retains HessAmerica amidst European market changes
In a notable industry development mainly impacting European brands and go-to-market strategies, Experience Brands has finalized the sale of its German subsidiary, Hess GmbH Licht + Form, to the Ragni Group, a French company specializing in outdoor lighting.
Hess GmbH, headquartered in Germany, is a prominent manufacturer of architectural outdoor lighting and site furnishings. The transaction encompasses all business activities of Hess GmbH worldwide, except in the American markets (USA, Canada, and Latin America), which will remain under HessAmerica, part of Experience Brands Group.
The sale also includes the Vulkan brand, a leader in LED-based illumination of streets, traffic junctions, and public spaces, with a history dating back to 1898.
The Ragni Group, almost a century old and family-managed since its inception, is pursuing strategic growth in Europe and internationally. With revenues of around 100 million euros for 2023, this acquisition strengthens Ragni Group's market position in street lighting and site furnishings.
For Experience Brands, this sale is a strategic move to realign its focus on the North American market. Chris Stockton, CEO, Experience Brands remarked "This transaction is a significant step for our group and allows us to focus our resources more strongly on our core markets and thus better serve our customers."
This acquisition represents a noteworthy consolidation in the outdoor lighting industry, particularly in the European market. Ragni Group's mission to become a global leader in public lighting and urban furniture is significantly bolstered by this acquisition, enhancing its capabilities in smart-city lighting and connected technologies.
In North America, it seems to be business as usual for Experience Brands and its subsidiary Hess America. Many North American lighting professionals recognize the Ragni Lighting name, as the Denver-based independent subsidiary of the Ragni Group markets and delivers the parent company's products in North America.
In light of the nuanced transactions and relationships among these key players in European and American outdoor lighting, below is a detailed breakdown of the roles and interactions of each company:
Experience Brands: A global lighting group with a focus on the North American market, involved in outdoor lighting and site furnishings. They sold their German subsidiary, Hess GmbH Licht + Form, to the Ragni Group as part of their strategic realignment. In addition to HessAmerica, Experience Brands includes Nordeon, Griven, WILA, Schmitz, Lamp and Pantheon.
Ragni Group: A French family-owned company specializing in street lighting and site furnishings. They acquired Hess GmbH Licht + Form, aiming to strengthen their position in the European and international markets, particularly in street lighting and site furnishings.
Hess GmbH Licht + Form: A German subsidiary of Experience Brands, known for manufacturing designed outdoor lighting and high-quality site furnishings. They were sold to the Ragni Group but their American operations (Hess America) remain part of Experience Brands.
Vulkan: A brand sold as part of the transaction between Experience Brands and Ragni Group. Vulkan is a premium supplier in street and public area lighting, dating back to 1898.
Sustainable Growth Management (SGM): A Luxembourg-based private equity firm, SGM is the parent company of Experience Brands. SGM specializes in owning and managing a diverse portfolio of companies, with Experience Brands being one of their significant holdings.
HessAmerica (Hess USA): A division of Experience Brands, specifically operating in the American market, including the USA, Canada, and Latin America. HessAmerica specializes in high-quality outdoor lighting and site furnishings. Despite the sale of Hess GmbH Licht + Form to the Ragni Group, HessAmerica remains a part of Experience Brands.
Ragni Lighting USA (Ragni Lighting International, LLC): Based in Denver, this company operates as a subsidiary of the French-based Ragni Group and is not affected by the transactions involving Hess and Vulkan. Ragni Lighting USA continues its distinct identity and operations, separate from HessAmerica which continues to be owned by Experience Brands.