On April 1, 1976, Heliotron Kerzen GmbH was founded by Mr. Peter Schneeberger. Alongside his activities as a company director, he also co-managed the “Freiburger Wachswarenfabrik” (Freiburg wax goods factory) together with Mr. Birmelin jr. from 1970 onwards, which in subsequent years expanded considerably due to the new votive candles and natural candle shells with solid wax inserts being used in the church sector in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Ireland.
Heliotron set itself the goal of producing candles with a maximum burning time that would not drip, even with a considerable amount of air movement. To achieve this, two new products were born: the Heliotron Natural Candle Shell with a high quality plastic body that looks just like a wax candle, and the Heliotron-Ewigbrenner® Liquid Wax Candle, in which a liquid wax insert is slid inside the body of the candle. Both products are still being used today in a revised form throughout the church sector, and they form one of the essential pillars of the company.
A patent application was made for the Heliotron Liquid Wax Candle on December 2, 1983. The patent was granted on March 10, 1988.
The company took over the Hermann Birmelin KG wax goods factory which had run into financial difficulty, which would later turn out to be a major mistake for the business.
In February 1991, Freiburger Wachswarenfabrik filed for bankruptcy following the acquisition of Hermann Birmelin KG.
Together with his wife Yvonne Schneeberger and in cooperation with the liquidator, Mr. Peter Schneeberger bought all of the Freiburger Wachswarenfabrik’s assets, the client base, the trademarks and the building, which to this day remains the head office of the company and continues to lead business operations in a different form under Heliotron Kerzen GmbH, which was founded in 1976. Producing votive candles and plastic beakers, which were the core products of Freiburger Wachswarenfabrik, was avoided after the bankruptcy, so Heliotron Natural Candle Shells, Heliotron Liquid Wax Candles and other solid wax products formed the new core business of the company and were produced on site.
In order to move forward with the company’s expansion, the idea evolved to sell a product concept that was similar to the one sold for churches and ecclesiastical institutions (candles based on liquid wax) to the gastronomy sector as well, which offered the company completely unlimited potential for expansion. For this, new products were developed and as early as 1994, the first products under the brand name Kerzotron® were delivered to the target group in question.
Particularly in the business division “Gastronomy & Hospitality Industries,” company growth was driven forward throughout these years with the help of a close network of sales representatives. This meant that during the period of 2005 – 2010, sales in this field tripled. From 2006 onwards, commercial relationships with gastronomy suppliers abroad were expanded and developed, meaning that products are now sold in numerous countries around the world.
To help drive international growth and improve brand recognition, the brand name Kerzotron® was changed to FlexiLight®.
Due to the departure of the company’s Head of Sales and many sales representatives associated with him at the time, revenue dropped drastically from 2010, which resulted in the company filing for voluntary insolvency.
On November 21, 2011, the company director Mr. Peter Schneeberger decided to secure the company’s existence and its future by filing for insolvency and streamlining the company as part of a planned insolvency procedure together with his son, Oliver Schneeberger.
As part of the planned insolvency procedure, Mr. Oliver Schneeberger was appointed as the company director by the liquidator of Heliotron Kerzen GmbH on February 1, 2012, and he took responsibility for restructuring and streamlining the company to ensure it stayed afloat.
The restructuring of the company was carried out as part of a streamlining concept. For this, among other changes, the sales department was completely restructured and set up again. From then on, the company focused on using permanent sales staff and a comprehensive sales concept which made it possible to grow using small teams who were responsible for covering specific areas of the market. At the same time, several products were discontinued to make way for a new, contemporary product range. Internally, new service units were introduced to ensure optimum customer service and customer satisfaction.
As part of the streamlining efforts, the sales division was heavily supported to ensure that sustainable growth would arise. A widespread network of competent employees had now been built, which is constantly reinforced to ensure that customers receive a comprehensive service on site.
To conclude the insolvency proceedings, Oliver D. Schneeberger, the son of the former founder and inventor of the Liquid Wax Candle and the Ewigbrenner®, founded the company Heliotron Deutschland GmbH, which acquired the assets of the insolvent Heliotron Kerzen GmbH as part of an Asset Deal. All employees were taken on by Heliotron Deutschland GmbH. Today, Mr. Oliver D. Schneeberger is the company director and majority shareholder of the company. During the planned insolvency proceedings of Heliotron Kerzen GmbH, the number of employees was nearly doubled. No employee lost their job as a result of the company’s insolvency.
Today, the company relies on organic growth and is continuing to expand considerably within Germany and its neighboring countries. Along with a complete revision of the product portfolio, marketing has also been significantly increased and more has been invested in improving customer relationships.