Long history of entrepreneurship

Ahlsell has a rich history with roots in several hundred companies. Behind all these companies there have been enterprising entrepreneurs who, just like us at Ahlsell, want to make it easier for customers to be professional. Together we have achieved great success in doing so, and it is our clear ambition to constantly improve!

  • Ahlsell's history begins 1877 when the sales company John Bernström & Co was founded in Stockholm. The company sold machines, pumps and threshing machines. In 1922, the company merged with Ahlsell & Ahrens, which sold cast enamelled sanitary utensils from Ankarsrum, Husqvarna and others, and pipes, fittings and pumps. Trivia: After working for a while as an errand boy at Ahlsell & Ahrens, Gösta Ekman went on to became a famous Swedish actor.

  • After about half a decade of several acquisitions, including Ågren in 1962, Ahlsell & Ågren was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1964. The Group's sales were about MSEK 411 and the company had 766 employees. The annual report for 1963-64 notes that “the business has developed satisfactorily during the year”. In connection with the centenary in 1977, the company was renamed “Ahlsell AB”.

  • Ahlsell merged with AEG-Telefunken Elektriska AB in 1982, giving Ahlsell a strategic position within Electrical. Ahlsell was bought-out from the stock exchange by Boliden AB in 1986 and about the same time Boliden was in turn taken over by Trelleborg AB. At this time, Ahlsell's business was highly diversified and included, among other things, wholesale, electronic manufacturing and contracting activities.

  • In 1990, the central warehouse in Hallsberg opens, with an indoor surface of 28,000 m², compared with today's 80,000. The 1990s are marked by high acquisition activity and Ahlsell built a position within DIY (do-it-yourself) distribution with the acquisition of Gelia, and established a Finnish and Norwegian platform within HVAC & plumbing. In 1997, Ahlsell’s first online store was launched. Nordic Capital became the principal owner in 1999.

  • The 2000s were an exciting time for Ahlsell. The Hallsberg central warehouse expanded at a rapid pace and the success was followed by the construction of a central warehouse in Finland in 2003. The high acquisition rate continued and the acquisition of Tibnor Industrivaruhus resulted in an additional product segment for tools. In Norway, Ahlsell also succeeded in building strong positions in both HVAC & plumbing and Electrical through acquisitions. Ahlsell’s deliveries included 10,000 tonnes of pipes to the “Ormen Lange” gas pipeline project. 2006 Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners became the new principal owners of Ahlsell. Through acquisitions, Ahlsell was also established in Estonia and Åland.

  • The 2010s are a period of investment in future growth. In 2011, it was decided to build the world's then largest automated warehouse at the Swedish central warehouse in Hallsberg and in 2015, substantial investments in the e-commerce platform were made. Ahlsell's market position was further strengthened through several acquisitions within Tools & Supplies. CVC acquires Ahlsell in 2012.

  • On 28 October 2016, Ahlsell AB was admitted to trading on Nasdaq Stockholm’s Large Cap list at a share price of SEK 46. The “One Ahlsell” strategy becomes the guiding principle, with the entire Company working according to the same strategy and sharing best practices. Ahlsell continues to develop different service concepts to provide added value for customers. Among the successes are Tryckt & Klart (printing on workwear), Ahlsell Academy (offering our customers competence development) and Track n'Trace (delivery tracking).

  • 2017 Ahlsell celebrated its 140-year anniversary. This was a year of successful strategic initiatives, a high acquisition rate, a strong result, improved employee engagement and, particularly important, even more satisfied customers. Ahlsell undertook to follow the UN Global Compact and identified four focus areas in sustainability, based on the global sustainability goals, which are now measured through different target figures in the organisation.

  • After several years of successful sales initiatives, good market development and acquisitions, Ahlsell’s net sales increased by 14% in 2018. However, as profitability did not develop at the same rate, profitability-improving measures were initiated. Sustainability has become a comparative advantage for Ahlsell and e-commerce accounts for 28% of sales. In July, it was decided to invest an additional MSEK 450 in the central warehouse in Hallsberg. The investment will ensure that Ahlsell is able to offer worldclass logistics also in the future.

  • 2019: Ahlsell AB starts a collaboration with World Childhood Foundation. CVC acquires more than 90% of all outstanding shares of Ahlsell AB and becomes the principal owner of the company.