The foundations for ITAB were laid when the entrepreneur Tord Johansson conducted his degree project at the neon tube manufacturer ITAB at the end of the 1970s. The company was experiencing difficulties at the time, and when his work, including his opinions on change, was presented to the owners, he was offered the opportunity to purchase the majority of the company. Tord accepted the offer and became the company’s majority shareholder.
The first tasks were to convince the bank to continue its co-operation and to extend the customer base. The work of cultivating customers outside of Sweden was initiated. Product development based on existing technology was launched, in order to increase the product range and have the opportunity to sell to more sectors. The company began adapting products to the market in a way that had not been done before. Major business challenges were tackled in order to increase sales and improve profitability. Between the years 1979-1984, turnover doubled every year.
In 1987, the company acquired companies in another sector. Acquisitions along this line continued, forming three branches of a corporate group that was then known as ITAB Industri, now Xano Industri.
During the 1990s, companies were acquired outside of Sweden, in Norway and Denmark. Several acquisitions were made and the interior fittings segment continued to grow. The expansion continued, and in 2004 the interior fittings segment split away from ITAB Industri, forming ITAB Shop Concept as a separate group that was listed on First North.
The company experienced a downturn in profitability during the period 2008/2009, after which it began focusing even more on profitability improvement and product development measures. This became an important launching pad for the journey of growth and profitability that the Group has made. Resolute and gradual growth has produced a group with market presence in large parts of Europe. The client base, the product portfolio and geography have all been important elements for growth.
Over the years, ITAB has continued to acquire companies, often built up by entrepreneurs with strong operational concepts and visions. The ability always to see opportunities has been a powerful driving force among the managers in the organisation.
The Group has been characterised by a positive attitude, a desire to collaborate and dedication. The foundation for the Group’s growth has been the development, in close co-operation with the customer, of new shop solutions and systems for more effective and more attractive shops. Through our concept and product portfolio, working model and geographic presence, ITAB now has the capacity to offer all-inclusive solutions to major retail chains in Europe. ITAB is now one of the strongest players in Europe.
As part of its strategy, ITAB has expanded into southern Europe during the year thanks to its largest acquisition to date. La Fortezza Group is one of southern Europe’s leading players within shop fittings, and has its head office in Bologna, Italy.
The Group also has operations in France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Argentina, Dubai and Malaysia. La Fortezza was established in 1962 and has long-term business relations with several of southern Europe’s major retail chains. Just as with ITAB, part of its strategy has been to move into new markets in line with its customers’ expansions. La Fortezza conducts production and sales, as well as project management for concept shopfitting. The group has its own production facilities in Italy, France, Russia and Argentina.