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The HASSLACHER Group: The Capital Equipment Decision

By Ioannis Ioannou, Ken Mark


A visitor to Sachsenburg, a quiet village nestled in the Austrian Alps, might not know that it was the headquarters of the Hasslacher Group, Europe’s largest producer of glued laminated timber. It was early May 2022 and Christoph Kulterer, CEO of the Hasslacher Group, wanted to decide what to do with €40 million in glued laminated timber factory equipment sitting in a Polish warehouse. The equipment had been ready to enter Russia on February 24th, 2022, the day the Ukraine was invaded. Given that the borders were closed, arrangements had been made to temporarily store the equipment.

Mass timber products included glued laminate timber and cross-laminated timber. These were valued-added goods made from softwood lumber that was resurfaced and glued together. Glued laminate timber, or glulam, was used in commercial construction in place of concrete or steel frames. Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, was multiple layers of planed lamellas glued together, and was used to form walls, floors, and ceilings. While regular timber products sold for about €200 per cubic meter, glued timber products could command prices between €500 and €1,000 per cubic meter depending on quality, strengths and engineering design.

Hasslacher had intended to upgrade its plant located in Malaya Vishera, Russia, which was about 200 kilometres from St. Petersburg. The plan had been to double timber production to 200,000 m³ and to upgrade it to produce up to 50,000 m³ of glulam products per year for the Asian market. Christoph’s options were to wait for the Russian and Ukrainian war to end and then to proceed with the upgrades, to buy a basic sawmill in Eastern Europe and upgrade it, to look for an acquisition in North America, or to sell the equipment. “We have to make a decision that will be best for the long-term even though we don’t have all the information we need in front of us,” remarked Christoph. “We have close relatives and long-standing employees working for us in Russia and Asian customers lined up for our glulam product. On the other hand, there is significant amount of uncertainty about the political situation. It’s not an easy decision for us to make.”

Learning objectives

  1. Analyse the role of sustainability in the engineered wood products industry and evaluate Hasslacher's sustainability initiatives.
  2. Understand the dynamics of family business decision-making and the challenges of balancing long-term vision with short-term challenges.
  3. Assess the strategic options available to Hasslacher and evaluate the risks and opportunities associated with each option.
  4. Develop an appreciation for the importance of effective leadership and stakeholder management in navigating complex decisions.
  5. Apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to recommend a course of action for Hasslacher.


Publication Date: May 2024
LBS Case Code: CS-24-022
Subjects: , , , , , , , , , ,
Industry: ,
Geography: ,
Pages: 19
Format: pdf