BIL helps to write the SAB success story

Mario Kratz and Robert Schweich took over at SAB in 2003. Specialising in mechanical
engineering components and parts for the steel sector, SAB has experienced exponential
growth partly in thanks to BIL’s help and support. Today, the company has around 100

It is certainly no exaggeration to describe SAB as a success story. In the space of around 15
years, the company has expanded from its base in Grevenmacher to carve out a niche for
itself in the steel sector of most key European markets and has gained a presence even
further afield in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Brazil. And yet, at the start, SAB’s
two partners felt as though they were taking a huge risk. “Mario and I were working for a
major player in the sector,” Robert recalls. “We began to notice how hard it was to fulfil
specific client requests that didn’t fit in with the standard processes set up by the company.
Plus, we really wanted to make a change in our lives. That’s where the idea of founding our
own company came from.

Overnight success

Robert and Mario decided launch their business as a partnership and were based in rented
premises. And it took off right away. “At that point, we only wanted to sell bespoke
components, not design them ourselves. But our clients quickly let us know that they wanted
us to both design and make the products,” explains Mario. “That way we could provide our
clients with the exact customised components they were looking for.”

However, this new focus meant a move to larger premises with space for more equipment
and a growing workforce. That’s when the entrepreneurs turned to a local bank. “The
problem was that we were barely ever in contact with them. They didn’t really listen to us,
and we felt that the interest in more intensive cooperation was not intended,” says Robert.
For that reason, and also because we wanted to diversify our risk, we decided to reach out
to another bank. We had a meeting at BIL and its members of staff took the time to listen to
everything we had to say. We had a good feeling about it straight away.”

Better terms, better advice

The first major investment came in 2013 thanks to BIL. Pushed for space, SAB needed to
move to a new factory in Grevenmacher, which is still home to the company’s head office
today. “We were given better terms for our loan,” says Mario. “But, above all, the support we
received from our BIL adviser was excellent. He really listened to us to understand our plans
and our market, and he asked us lots of questions. We’ve had the same advisor at BIL since
then, and we’re really happy.”

Today, SAB’s both Managing Directors continue to foster the development of the company
with advice from BIL. “As soon as we have an investment in mind, we talk it over with our
financial adviser, who always has sound insights to share. Our bank is a true partner for our
business, a trusted ally. BIL wants us to succeed and it’s clear that the support they’ve
provided us with over the past few years has been crucial to our success,” concludes Robert.

A joint venture entitled VCL, launched in 2014 with Paul Wurth, is another major chapter in
the SAB success story. In some ways, the company has come full circle.


Johny Basher, Senior Corporate Advisor, BIL
At BIL, we believe that curiosity is an essential trait in our advisers. Their role is to fully
understand each client’s business, find out about the sector and keep up to date with the
latest trends in the various industries. This is the only way they can be in a position to have a
professional conversation with the entrepreneur and have their own insights to share. Plus,
in the long run, this depth of knowledge will enable the adviser to anticipate the client’s
future development needs and and provide useful insights so that clients can see their
projects through to completion.

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