Presto with an ambitious growth plan - both organically, via acquisitions and digitization

In 2021, Presto Brannteknikk faced a strategic change within the company. As the Nordic region's leader in the field of fire safety, the time had come to merge the company's subsidiaries under one umbrella. This simultaneously as they rolled out an ambitious digital transformation plan.

After Presto Brandsäkerhet AB upgraded considerably in Sweden from 2018 to 2020, with several acquisitions and strengthening of the group administration, it was Norway's turn. Presto Brannteknikk AS was already doing well in the private and public sector, industry, marine and offshore, and with Roar Leithe as the new CEO at the helm, an ambitious growth plan was put in motion – both organically and through acquisitions and digitization.

The smaller joint stock companies were to be merged and form part of a modern industrial group with the reporting and financial requirements such a merger requires.

A new landscape

Leithe quickly understood that they would need an experienced CFO to assist in the work that now lay ahead of them, and that he had to act quickly.

- Interim management was a new landscape for me, but after exploring possible partners, I finally landed on Interimleder AS which – based on my own assessment criteria – had the best and most professional approach to what I needed, says Leithe.

Senior adviser in Interimleder AS,, Jon Sivert Nielsen, assisted Presto in defining their need.

– The assignment that Presto described is a rather demanding job, and I knew that we had to work with an interim manager who masters many disciplines in finance, administration and management. At the same time, as in all assignments, the chemistry must be right between the client and the interim manager, says Nielsen.

A secure temporary CFO became important for the growth process

The choice fell on interim manager Gisle Grave, a very experienced finance manager with a background in similar processes.

– Gisle is a confident and positive person who is easy to communicate and collaborate with, but also firm and purposeful, says Nielsen.

The client, Roar Leithe of Presto, shares how valuable it has been to bring in an experienced interim manager like Gisle, who was able to quickly familiarize himself with the company and use his previous experience to assist in the growth process.

– When we got Gisle on board, he was to take over the main financial tasks and coordinate reporting in three companies, in addition to being project manager in the ERP project. Since we are in an intense growth phase, he has also been a great sparring partner and adviser in acquisition processes, where assessment of accounts and documentation has also been part of Gisle's tasks, Leithe explains.

Grave believes that his background has been invaluable in the assignment so far.

– Presto is an exciting company, with many good people. For me, it has been especially interesting to combine economics with the technical. With both a technical and financial background, this suited me perfectly. When a financial system is to work well with the technical aspects of the company, it is important to be able to talk to and understand programmers while having an overview of the market and composition of data, reporting and what type of in-depth code data to gather, says Grave.

Three strategic acquisitions later, implementation of the new ERP system is well underway, and new departments have been established in Fredrikstad and Sandefjord. The next step is a fully digital service system for all technicians in the field – yet another exciting project for Presto.

A developing industry

– There is still a need for consolidation in the industry when it comes to digitization and competence – especially in relation to what customers expect from a supplier within fire safety. It’s also about how to focus on sustainability, the environment and competence – something that’s at the very top of our agenda. We have a close dialogue with our large, nationwide customers who have given us confidence with a framework agreement – and we see that digitalization is an important part of being able to play each other well, Leithe concludes.

About Presto:

  • Presto is a leader in the field of fire safety in the Nordic region.
  • They serve all types of customers in the private and public sector, industry, marine and offshore.
  • The Presto Group traded for approx. 1.1 billion in 2021 and counts approx. 650 employees.
  • Presto Brannteknikk AS had a turnover of 110 million in 2021 and counts approx. 50 employees.
  • 5 departments in Norway; Oslo, Haugesund, Stavanger, Sandefjord and Fredrikstad.

Situation and challenge:

  • In 2021, Presto Brannteknikk AS felt the need to prepare for a digital transformation.
  • The ERP system was to be replaced.
  • The subsidiaries were also to be merged under one umbrella.
  • Goals for growth both organically and through acquisitions and digitization were set.

Solution and results:

  • Hire an interim CFO to take over the main financial tasks and coordinate reporting from the three merged companies.
  • The interim manager also became the new project manager for the ERP project, which had already started.
  • This freed up a lot of time for the general manager who could stay focused on further acquisitions and growth.
  • Presto has made three strategic acquisitions of companies and is well underway with the implementation of a new ERP system.