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Thoughts on Silberauto transaction

Väino Kaldoja’s decision to sell his company is well-timed. One of the reasons is his age, as he has said himself. Another reason being the changes taking place in the transport sector with new technologies and ever stricter environmental requirements.

In April 2019, the European Parliament and the Council approved regulation 2019/631, which sets CO2 emission requirements for new passenger cars and vans starting from 2020. As a result, automotive industry is in a situation where requirements to reduce pollution are getting stricter. Several automobile manufacturers have tried to solve the problem by using innovative technologies such as AdBlue, diesel particulate filters, hybrid technologies etc. There has also been media coverage of scandals about distortion of actual emissions.

By 2021, car manufacturers will have to reduce CO2 emissions of new cars sold to below 95 g/km. Volkswagen, for example, faces a fine of 1.4 billion EUR, as it is predicted that they are not able to meet the target.

As a result of ever stricter regulations, car manufacturers have developed new electric cars models, which will be on the market from 2019 onwards. Electric cars are a major source of cost for the automotive industry because in addition to developing new models, it is necessary to increase production capacity both in the production of electric cars and in the supply of battery banks.The electric cars are posing another problem for the automotive industry in the near future as their maintenance needs are significantly lower compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, resulting in a loss of revenue. Altogether the automotive industry is undergoing changes which may significantly impact the industry in the next 10 to 15 years according to Väino Kaldoja.

Through consolidation processes, the automotive industry is looking for efficiency and seeking to maintain profitability. In the longer term, the automobile retail industry may expect an even greater shift, because the need to maintain an expensive network of importers and retailers between the manufacturer and the customer is reduced. It is likely that manufacturers already have extensive databases of their end-customers, knowing their consumption patterns and purchasing behavior, making it easy for manufacturers to enter e-commerce.

By selling his company, Väino Kaldoja can focus on what he has written a lot about- improving society and developing new technologies, using his extensive professional knowledge and free capital. As a reminder- the self-driving bus in Kadriorg was a result of collaboration between Silberauto and TalTech.

The Silberauto transaction is a sign of the changes resulting from political decisions (for example stricter standards on CO2 emissions) as well as from the impact of new technologies described as the second machine age (artificial intelligence, revolutionary development of sensors, increasing power of computing technologies, etc.) affecting many business areas.

Because of the age of owners and appreciating the interest and ability of management to drive changes, it is necessary to make the right decision at the right time and find the best buyer for the business in the market.

Illar Kaasik, Managing Partner at Investment Agency (Prudentia’s predecessor).

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