Until July, the companies were part of Siepe & Partner Dortmunder Industrieholding (SDI). In April 2003, eight subsidiaries of SDI applied for insolvency at the district court in Duisburg.
Under the management buyout, Agiplan GmbH -- with headquarters in Muehlheim/Ruhr -- now incorporates three previously separate companies: AgiConsult Unternehmensberater GmbH (business consulters); Agiplan F&L GmbH Fabrikplanung und Logistik (factory planning and logistics) and Agiplan Projektmanagement GmbH (project management).
A fourth company which also belonged to SDI, Agiplan Integrale Bauplanung (integrated construction planning) was bought by former employees in a separate management buyout.
Agiplan GmbH's services range from design, planning and implementation of product and logistics systems as individual solutions, to planning entire factories.
"We haven't lost any contracts through the management buyout and we are able to continue working on our customers' current projects," Helmut Schulte, managing director at the GmbH, told Automobilwoche.
Recent projects have included the planning and start-up of the new Rolls-Royce plant in Goodwood, England, and the move of the DaimlerChrysler Sindelfingen design and engineering center.
Agiplan GmbH currently has 70 employees. The company is managed by Schulte and Hans-Juergen Koehne.
The second management buyout, Agiplan Integrale Bauplanung, has 25 employees. This means that nearly 100 of the total of 130 employees -- when the four companies were still part of SDI -- have moved to the new companies.
Schulte's goal for the current year is to achieve sales of 5 million euros. For 2004, the first whole business year since the management buyout, the aim is to achieve a turnover of 10 million euros -- 35 to 50 percent of which will be represented by projects for the automotive industry.
Schulte's calculations for the coming years are still quite cautious: "We believe that it will still take some time until the automotive industry is prepared again to make larger investments," he said.
In future, the factory planners will focus on international business, specifically on eastern Europe.
"Several of our customers are considering new locations in east European countries," Schulte said.
However, Agiplan is not considering opening branches of its own in eastern Europe. The plan is to cooperate with partners at individual locations instead of opening large offices abroad.
"Once upon a time a company needed to have an infrastructure in order to exchange planning documents," said Schulte. "Nowadays we can work worldwide by having a cooperating partner.