Stronger together

Swedish wholesaler CDS, specialising in accessories for cars and the transport industry, wanted to gear up its operations and ambitions. The company found its perfect match in Axel Johnson International.

Stronger together

Swedish wholesaler CDS, specialising in accessories for cars and the transport industry, wanted to gear up its operations and ambitions. The company found its perfect match in Axel Johnson International.

A couple of years ago, the management team at CDS stood at a crossroads. The company a specialist provider in lighting products and other accessories for cars and the vehicle industry, needed to realise a generational change in management, and at the same time it had ambitious plans for the future.

“We started looking for a new owner that could help us take the company to a new level,” says Sam Carlsson, retiring former CEO and owner.

With the group’s purchasing power and product expertise we increase our strength.

Good impression from the start
Axel Johnson International was one of the companies that started a discussion with the CDS management team.

“We got a really good impression of Axel Johnson International and the group’s professional approach,” Sam says. “On a personal level it felt great from the start."

Marcus Larsson, a long-time Business Area Manager within CDS, recently appointed as CEO, explains that Axel Johnson International’s value-based leadership and culture felt like the best match for the company.

“It’s a serious owner with the best possibilities to develop the company further into the future,” he says.

Founded by entrepreneurs
CDS was founded by a team of entrepreneurs in the early 1980s, and initially the company’s profile was to offer an important product of the time: car stereo systems. But time changes and now the company is a wholesaler of lighting products, accessories, and electrical equipment for the vehicle industry. Customers include car dealers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and one of the largest vehicle equipment wholesalers in the Nordic region.

“From large manufacturing industries to smaller local wholesalers, we always strive for long-term relationships with our customers,” says Marcus.

Sam Carlsson retiring former CEO and owner

Great momentum in the company
Both Marcus and Sam agree that there is great momentum in CDS after joining Axel Johnson International and Transport Solutions in June 2021. One of the clearest advantages of belonging to the group is the access to expertise and competence in key areas such as product development and sustainability.

“CDS operate in a market where many compete with similar products,” Marcus says. “For a small company it can be hard to gain exclusive rights from the best suppliers, but with the group’s purchasing power and the product expertise within business group Transport Solutions, we increase our strength.”

Marcus points out that, as today’s customers put higher and higher demands on their suppliers to be sustainable and fully transparent, this is also an area where belonging to a group is beneficial.

“Axel Johnson International has established processes for sustainability – for example, clear policies and demands – that also applies to our suppliers,” he says. “This is a competitive advantage for us and means we can reach a whole new level in sustainability.”

About

CDS was formed in 1980 and has its head office in Kungälv, north of Gothenburg. The company is a wholesaler of lighting products, accessories, and electrical equipment for the vehicle industry.

Strong ­aftermarket

The Transport Solutions companies offer innovative solutions within cargo securing and vehicle components. Together, the companies provide market leading solutions to European transport providers, freight forwarders, truck and trailer owners, body builders, other heavy vehicle OEM, ­shipping lines and airlines.

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High acquisition rate

The group’s acquisition rate continued to be high in 2021, with a total of 15 acquisitions. ­During the year, Fredrik Eklund was ­appointed Director of Strategy and M&A, ­taking lead on the strategic ­direction and supporting the business groups.

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