Indutrade works in a decentralised way, long-term, with an infinite owner horison. It gives us freedom and own responsibility, yet with stated requirements, expectations and the support needed to continuously develop.
Belos specialises in water supply products for sustainable water and wastewater systems. The company is the leading Swedish distributor of products such as valves and ductile iron pipes for below ground water and wastewater installations, i.e., water supply products for underground applications. Belos works with leading European manufacturers. Its customers are municipalities that own water and wastewater networks, as well as contractors, wholesalers and water and wastewater consultants.
“We work with the most important resource there is: water,” says MD Daniel Mattsson. “Part of our business model is based on having a close relationship with end customers in our processing, and on generating needs by demonstrating the unique benefits of our products and drawing on all our expertise in water and wastewater. We are to be the first company they contact.”
The needs of the water and wastewater market are estimated to be great. In Sweden alone – Belos’ main market – many of the municipal water and wastewater networks are in need of renovation. Industry association Svenskt Vatten estimates the investment requirement to be SEK 31 billion per year up to 2040. As well as in Sweden, Belos has operations in Denmark, where a branch was established in 2005.
Crucial team spirit
Alongside strong products and a high skills level, Daniel highlights the corporate culture as an asset. The company currently has 18 employees who work closely with each other.
“Several of us have a sporting background, and we function very much as a team. Everyone is committed to the same goals, persistent in what they do and able to achieve results. My role is to help develop the company through analysis, supplier and customer negotiations and by creating resources for organic growth.
This, combined with having all the processes in place, allowing staff to concentrate on developing the business.”
Cooperation with suppliers is a strength. Belos has a unique opportunity to influence suppliers’ product development, providing insights into what customers require and how the market is evolving. Another competitive advantage is the company’s close cooperation with wholesalers, which gives customers access to Belos’ wide range of products.
An abundance of skills
The company was founded in 1944, and some of its supplier partnerships date back to the 1960s. Daniel’s own history as MD of Belos, on the other hand, is much shorter. He took over as MD in 2020, aged just 28. By then, Belos had been part of Indutrade for more than 20 years.
“One of the owners wanted to develop the business and his own role further, selling it to Indutrade in 1999. That owner is now part of Indutrade’s Group management. Growth has been strong for a long time. We’ve grown profitably by more than 110% over the last ten years, excluding 2022. In 2022 organic growth was 20%.”
The support from Indutrade is evident in several ways. As a young MD, Daniel joined a group of companies that offers an abundance of skills through seminars and joint MD meetings. Another example is the Indutrade portal, which is a hub for sharing information and experiences.
“Indutrade has supported my development since day one. For example, I was able to participate in the Indutrade Leadership Programme and the expanded network I have gained has been invaluable. I’m constantly challenged to grow and continue raising the bar on my performance.”
“Overall, Indutrade has given me an invaluable network of contacts. I’m constantly challenged to develop and perform a little better than before,” Daniel continues.
Many of these contacts are made in exchanges with the management of the Fluid & Mechanical Solutions business area, of which Belos is part. The focus obviously concerns continuing to achieve profitable growth, but also specific issues, such asoptimal inventory management.
“Indutrade works in a decentralised way, long -term, with an infinite owner horison. It gives us freedom and own responsibility, yet with stated requirements and the support needed to continuously develop, which I appreciate. As a company, it makes us more flexible and able to make quicker decisions based on how the market develops. That was really evident to us during the pandemic, when it also suddenly became much more important.”
Sustainable all the way
Working with water means that sustainability is a cornerstone of the entire business. The company works on several specific sustainability issues, such as offering products made from more sustainable materials and with a long lifespan. This is crucial, because the products form part of a technical infrastructure that is buried in the ground and is expected to function flawlessly for 50 to 100 years.
“Internally at Belos, we try to offer more sustainable transport and view sustainability as a business opportunity. We’ve also reviewed our own vehicle fleet, investing in vehicles that generate less pollution,” he says. “When we look at sustainability efforts in general, we’re also supported by Indutrade.”
This support includes their Code of Conduct. All companies can benefit from this, both when customers demand documented guidelines for work on sustainability and when Belos has its own requirements for suppliers and partners regarding environmental issues and corporate social responsibility.
need for digitisation
Belos can look back on 2022 as a year in which the business grew by around 20%. The number of employees also increased – from 15 to 18.
“Our next step is to take advantage of this reinforcement so that we grow even further and capture market share,” says Daniel Mattsson, summing up.
“In the long term, as mentioned, the lifespan of our products is a key issue in terms of development, as it will help to secure water resources. Another area is digitisation, where new technologies will need to be used to monitor and control water and wastewater networks.”