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22 May 2022



Thomas Laxhuber: “If you run an international business, you have to be adaptive and use a personal approach to the client”

Recently, German company Stela Laxhuber GmbH joined UCAB. In a personal interview, CEO Thomas Laxhuber spoke about the history of the company and the features of doing business in Ukraine.

Please tell us about your company, how long have you been working in the market? What do you specialize in?

Stela Laxhuber GmbH company has been manufacturing and improving drying equipment for the past sixty years. The company has almost 100 years, it was founded by my grandfather back in 1922. He worked as a farm equipment dealer for a long time, and we started the drying business in the 1960s when my father invented the first corn dryer. Since then, we have focused our activities on the production of drying equipment to meet the needs of various industries. Certainly, agriculture is one of the the major parts of our business, but we also manufacture equipment for the needs of industry and other types of businesses.

The company entered the Ukrainian market in 1998, when our equipment was first sold here. But we took a real course in this market in 2010. Of course, it takes a lot of time, effort and patience to enter a new market, but after a while, we have already gained a wide presence in the Ukrainian market, and it is very pleasant to see the positive results of all the efforts we took in the past and take now.

- What equipment and technologies do you use for production?

We manufacture all the equipment at the company's plants in Germany. The only thing we buy is standard material as e.g. motors and bearings. All other parts we produce independently in our workshops: fans, enclosures for equipment and more.

What new developments does the company plan to release to the market?

We have recently developed a new type of equipment that aims to save energy consumption while drying corn. Since drying requires a great deal of energy, especially gas, we must keep our focus on reducing energy costs when developing equipment. The new patented technology needs very low energy consumption during drying and provides gas savings of 35-50% over standard technologies. This is an impressive figure, the values have also been certified several times by the DLG institute

We are currently building the first drying complex in Ukraine using this technology. The plans to finish construction this year.

- Could you please tell us about last year's results. What are your plans for 2020?

We usually practice long-term projects for 3-5 years. Projects have several stages of development: the client has an idea, we develop it with him, then we look for financial resources, we develop an implementation plan - it all takes a long time. Therefore, the situation is always unstable, and we cannot say that one year we have a better turnover than another - it does not work with such large-scale equipment.

- What trends do you observe in the Ukrainian market?

The main trend observed in the Ukrainian market is the use of biomass burning energy during drying. This is due, first of all, to the high cost of gas required by the drying plant. Many customers intend to switch to using this alternative energy instead of gas, which is why more machines are becoming equipped with this solution. This trend is especially evident in Ukraine. Of course, in other countries this is also developing, but not as critical as here. The first dryer for maize which works on biomass was developed in 2004 by our company.

- What are your difficulties in doing business in Ukraine?

The three most important things when working with Ukrainians are: now, immediately, without delay, so, in our turn, we have to be patient and handle it.

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