18.10.2017 | Axpo joins forces with WZ-Systems AG

Expand crisis-proof data communication

Axpo intends to expand further in the growing market of the data network business. For this reason, it founds a new company with WZ-Systems AG (see box). Daniel Zimmermann, Head of Operations and Maintenance at Axpo Power AG and Rainer Zürcher, CEO of WZ-Systems AG and designated CEO of the new company explain the background.

Rainer Zürcher

Rainer Zürcher, you founded WZ-Systems 25 years ago and developed it to its current size. Now you will have a leading role in your company operating under the Axpo Holding AG roof. Did you get tired of the autonomy at some point?

Rainer Zürcher (laughs): No, on the contrary. I have always been an entrepreneur with heart and soul, and WZ-Systems is so to speak my baby. But I had to admit that we had reached our limits in terms of growth - and that we could only take the next steps with a strong partner.

And that strong partner is Axpo?

Zürcher: Absolutely! Axpo and WZ-Systems have been working together closely in the area of data communication services for a long time, and both companies are well known and respected. We have the same understanding of how to develop products and provide customers with comprehensive solutions. Consolidating our activities was a logic step.

Daniel Zimmermann: I agree. Axpo's competences in the area of crisis-proof fixed network communications in the industrial area ideally complement the know-how of WZ-Systems in crisis-proof mobile communications with a focus on blue-light organisations. Together we are stronger to than if were to continue operating as separate companies, and, in the future, we can focus on expanding our services. The Axpo Group and our customers will benefit.

Daniel Zimmermann

Would Axpo have reached similar growth limits described by Rainer Zürcher without the merger?

Zimmermann: Yes, that's so. Axpo WZ-Systems AG will be able to enter other markets that would have simply been inacessbile to Axpo owing to the great initial effort. We have always been focused on fixed network communications in the industrial environment. That's our core competence. With the know-how of WZ-Systems in the area of mobile solutions for blue-light organisations we are closing the gaps in our offering.

What do you mean by closing the gaps?

Zürcher: The data communications market is experiencing strong growth on a global scale. The requirements have become more demanding, as has the technical complexity. Many customers want to focus on a strong partner that understands the field and can offer solutions from one source.

What they're looking for is a "one shop stop."

Zürcher: Right. On a global level, today's customers basically tend to buy these services externally and forego the ownership of infrastructure. In Switzerland this means that they want a trustworthy, established service provider with Swissness that ensures reliability and delivers quality. Thanks to Axpo we are now in an excellent position.

Ultimately, the goal is to enter new business fields and generate additional revenue for the Axpo Group. How will that be done?

Zimmermann: Both the Axpo data communications department and WZ-Systems have a good market position in their speciality areas. We want to maintain that of course. Targeted cross selling will offer significant synergy potentials that we can use for further growth.

Zürcher: In addition, we can serve larger customers thanks to a larger organisation. This will also allow us to expand our market share thanks to the consolidation of business activities.

Additional Revenues

Axpo is focusing on generating additional revenues from the data network business: In order to expand in this growing market, the Axpo Group is merging its data communication business, which is currently part of the Grids division, with WZ-Systems AG. In the future the two companies will operate under the name "Axpo WZ-Systems AG", in which Axpo holds an 80% interest. Axpo's competences in the area of crisis-proof fixed network communications in the industrial area ideally complement the know-how of WZ-Systems in crisis-proof mobile communications, in particular for blue-light organisations. This creates a sound basis for generating additional revenues. Rainer Zürcher, the founder of WZ-Systems, has been designated as the CEO of Axpo WZ-Systems AG.

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