It is with great sadness that we have learned that the former principal owner of the Sveba Dahlen Group, Kenneth Eliasson, has died from complications of COVID-19 at the age of 77.
Kenneth’s grandfather Johan Adolf Eliasson founded the business in 1948 together with his sons Ingemar and Nils. At the time, the business was known as Borås Elmekano and was based in a small workshop in Holmens gård. In 1959 the business moved to Fristad, and four years later in 1963 the company changed its name to Svenska Bakugnsfabriken, Sveba. Kenneth’s father Nils became CEO for many years until Kenneth, who had started working in the business as a 17-year-old in 1960, took over as CEO in 1982. Kenneth was an only child, so for him it was an obvious step to take responsibility for running the company.
On 1 January 1990, Kenneth and Sveba acquired another illustrious Borås company with a similar history — Dahlen. With this acquisition, the business became one of the world’s leading producers of baking ovens. The new company was named Sveba Dahlen. All operations were moved to Fristad, and Kenneth (who valued loyalty very highly) invited six of his closest colleagues to become partners in the company.
Kenneth was highly strategic and always strove to distribute risks across various markets and companies. During his time as CEO, Kenneth established early operations in the Baltic states and also acquired two companies: Glimek, which manufactured dough handling equipment (in 1998), and Denmark-based Varimixer, which manufactures professional whiskers (in 2000). With these acquisitions, the Sveba Dahlen Group was created. Products from the group’s various operations are now available in virtually every country in the world.
Kenneth distinguished himself as an honorable man who always kept his promises. The way in which he unfailingly stood behind and supported his business, his customers and his employees was undoubtedly one of the most important cornerstones of the group. Kenneth was very social, always stood up for others and was highly esteemed by the people around him. When you collaborated with Sveba Dahlen — as an employee, a customer, or in some other way — you became part of his family.
I had the privilege of attending some of his final professional appearances. One of these occasions was in the summer of 2015, when he gave a fantastic speech for the 100th anniversary of his Danish company Varimixer, which was celebrated together with distributors from all over the world. Another was in 2017, when he gave a speech in Stockholm for some 50 of Sveba Dahlen’s global distributors. The following month, the company was sold to the American listed group Middleby (which continues to be our owner), and Kenneth finally retired at the age of 74.
Thank you, Kenneth — for everything you did for your various businesses, for all of us who have worked at Sveba Dahlen, and for your customers. We will always remember you.
Our thoughts go out to Kenneth’s wife, his children and their families.
Peter Larsson and all of Sveba Dahlen’s employees and customers in Sweden and around the world.