ERBER Group’s History
1983 - 1988
On 1 January, 1983 Erich Erber Kommanditgesellschaft started its business in a rented warehouse in Pottenbrunn, Austria, with 3 employees on the payroll. The company was founded as an unlimited partnership between Erich and Margarete Erber. At that time, this was an important guarantee factor for the bank which otherwise was not willing to lend some money to the new start-up. Apart from the bank loan, all private savings were invested into the new company.
Prior to this new venture, Erich Erber (nowadays he is only called by his first name ‘Erich’ by all employees of the entire group), had worked as a sales manager in the largest feed additive and vitamin premix distribution company in Austria, also operating in parts of Central Europe. Inspired by a good friend and one of the world’s first innovators on probiotics, late Dr. Herbert Egger, Erich launched vitamin mineral premix line "BIOMIN". It was the first in the world to use a natural growth promoter in feed instead of antibiotic growth promoters which were widely used then.
In 1985 he acquired his first enterprise, a small pre-mix and veterinary drug company called Interpremix in Austria. The owners of Interpremix, ass. prof. Dr. Halama and Ing. Weninger, were about to retire and wanted to sell the company. It had a small production facility and an interesting product portfolio. Under the helm of Dr. Halama, Interpremix had developed a few interesting feed additives but had not yet been able to market them. One of them was a product called “Antitox Plus”. This was the first product worldwide which could bind mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are a natural by-product of fungi on grains, nuts, grapes... and are toxic to animals and humans.
From the end of 1985 onwards, all BIOMIN products, as well as feed additives and the veterinary product line were produced by Interpremix. Interesting enough, due to one of Dr. Halama’s contacts the first sales of Antitox Plus went to Taiwan and later to other parts in Asia. The vitamin pre-mix business enjoyed a healthy growth in Austria, as well as Interpremix’ veterinary products.
In 1988 a research agreement was signed by Prof. Dr. Leibetseder of the Veterinary University in Vienna (VETMED) to further improve the efficacy of Antitox Plus and expand it to a wider range of mycotoxins. As a result, the second generation of mycotoxin deactivation products was launched in 1992 under the brand name Mycofix®. Today, Mycofix® is already in its fifth generation of products.
1994 - 1999
In 1994 it was decided to separate the BIOMIN brand from the Interpremix product line to allow each brand to have a better focus on customer needs. Another very important aspect was the guarantee of a better regulatory control due to Austria’s accession into the EU in 1995. Hence ERBER AG, a not listed stock company, was founded to become the holding for the two existing lines and any future business. The shares are fully held by the Erber family members and are not traded in the market, yet the governance strictly follows the legal requirements of the laws and regulations for listed stock companies. Hence, a two tiers board is necessary: the Supervisory Board with external directors needs to be involved in any major decision and the Executive Board with its directors is in charge of day to day business. BIOMIN, now considered an affiliate, or rather a “division” of ERBER AG, saw strong international growth in the following years in the Americas, with a regional office in San Antonio and in Asia, with a regional office in Singapore.
In 1999 ERBER Group expanded once again with adding Romer Labs Missouri in the US. Romer Labs is a major player in the field of diagnostic solutions for feed and food safety, especially in the field of the analysis of mycotoxins. Romer provides test kits that allow QC labs worldwide to detect undesirable substances in feed and food. Romer Labs was a small 17 staff company at the time of acquisition and since then the company has grown to nearly 150 employees with laboratories and R&D in the US, EU and Asia. Romer became the second division to ERBER Group.
2002 - 2010
In 2002 a new organizational structure was developed and put in place to facilitate the fast growth of the group on a worldwide scale. The so called unique “One Boss Matrix” was installed and has ever since served its purpose very well. According to Malik “The best organization structure is the one that produces results”. And measured on the average growth of 20% p.a. ever since, the above formula together with great managers and employees seems to work out just fine.
The development of BIOMIN and Romer Labs is based on strong research and development, high innovation rates, as well as strong presence in all major markets. Starting with affiliates in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Rumania and China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and UK – just to name few. Direct interaction with the customers has always been a strength of the organization. The largest ever investment of the ERBER Group into a state-of-the-art, large fermentation plant was in 2007. It went into operation in 2010 in Piracicaba (Brazil).
In 2007 ERBER Group opened up a new chapter regarding its business fields with the acquisition of Bio-Protect in Konstanz, Germany. Bio-Protect, founded by Prof. Frehland and Dr. Kunz, had been working on biotechnological crop protection for almost a decade. The product, a specific yeast strain, was first externally fermented by BIOMIN. What started as co-operation lead to incorporation into the ERBER Group. Bio-ferm Research, earlier called Bio-Protect, now acts as an R&D base. The ERBER Group company bio-ferm is in charge of marketing. Both are part of EFB catering for promising business fields which are not (yet) included into the main business structure.
2008 was also a strong year in terms of acquisition: the long term distributor SANPHAR Brazil offered their shares for sale. SANPHAR has been a reliable and successful distribution partner for BIOMIN in Brazil. Now SANPHAR is a division of ERBER Group.
2011 - Today
ERBER Group consists of more than 50 affiliates in all continents. It is now organized in five divisions: BIOMIN Additives, BIOMIN Animal Nutrition, ROMER LABS , SANPHAR and EFB (holding bio-ferm and a number of research projects).
BIOMIN opened production sites in Vietnam (2013) and Panama (2015). A production plant in Wuxi (China) is currently under construction.
In fall 2013 the ground was laid for the construction of the new global headquarters: the ERBER Group Campus in Getzersdorf, Austria. The relocation of the ERBER Group administration (including all divisions) was carried out in May 2015. The heart of ERBER Group research is located in Tulln (Austria), in close proximity to research partners from academia and economy. Three global hubs facilitate administration operations in the regions: San Antonio (North America), Piracicaba (South America) and Singapore (Asia).