Every future needs a past
From a family-run business to a sanitary group – here are some milestones in our company’s history.
Geberit sponsors the exhibition “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design” in the Vitra Design Museum.
Geberit prepares for the future with record investments in the Operations division, focusing on the ceramics plants in Ekenäs (FI), Slavuta (UA) and Gaeta (IT) as well as on the capacity expansion in Pfullendorf (pictured) and the modernisation in Langenfeld (both DE).
In the measuring laboratory in Rapperswil-Jona (CH), a CT scanner is used for the first time. In addition to measuring inner and outer geometries as well as wall thicknesses, this machine also detects irregularities in the plastic.
Major product launches in 2018:
- VariForm (washbasins)
- Rapid sanitary flush unit
- Energy retaining valve
The expanded logistics centre in the southern German town of Pfullendorf takes over the storage, order picking and shipping of long goods.
Picture: “Know-How Installed” has been joined by the claim “Design Meets Function” in order to bring the company’s expertise to the attention of a wider audience.
Major product launches in 2017:
- Setaplano (shower surface)
- AquaClean Tuma (shower toilet)
- Acanto (bathroom series)
- Tap system
With the start of the new year, the Sales teams of Geberit and the former Sanitec are operating as a single unit. Customers can ask one and the same contact person questions about the entire product portfolio.
Picture: The integration of the Ceramic division is also pushing ahead in production: Since the beginning of the year, the Geberit AquaClean Mera shower toilet is in part being produced in the Wesel plant in Germany.
For the first time, a volunteering project is carried out in Nepal in cooperation with the Swiss aid organisation Helvetas.
Major product launches in 2016:
- Urinal system
- Silent-Pro (drainage system)
- Glow (IDO, Porsgrund bathroom series)
- Spira (Ifö bathroom series)
Christian Buhl, the successor to Albert M. Baehny, takes up his new role as CEO on 1 January 2015.
Picture: Geberit takes over the Finnish Sanitec Group, Europe’s leading provider of ceramic appliances. The total value of the transaction, which was announced in October 2014, amounts to 1.29 billion Swiss francs. The Sanitec Group is home to well-known brands such as Keramag, Ifö, Kolo, Allia and Pozzi-Ginori.
The opening of the new plant in Ruše (SI) is celebrated.
Major product launches in 2015:
- CleanLine (shower channel)
- AquaClean Mera (shower toilet)
- Smyle (Keramag bathroom series)
- Sanitary flush unit
Picture: Geberit celebrates 50 years of concealed cisterns. As if further proof of its reliability were still required, a set of first generation “UP” cisterns is being replaced in a Swiss alpine hotel – for purely aesthetic reasons.
A 6,600 m2 production hall is completed in Villadose (IT) and a third extrusion line for Silent-PP discharge pipes is commissioned.
Major product launches in 2014:
- Omega concealed cistern and flush plates
- Wall drain for showers (development)
- Monolith Plus sanitary module
- Sigma70 (actuator plate)
Production begins at the plant in Pune (IN), where the Alpha concealed cisterns are being manufactured for the Indian market.
Picture: One of the highlights at the ISH in Frankfurt is the presentation of Geberit AquaClean Sela – the first shower toilet that looks like a normal toilet.
For the first time, apprentices are given the opportunity to gain practical experience overseas after completing their apprenticeships – the plant in Shanghai (CN) is the first destination.
Major product launches in 2013:
- AquaClean Sela (shower toilet)
- Sigma10 and Sigma50 (redesign, actuator plate)
Belgium, Denmark and Norway launch their campaigns for the Geberit AquaClean shower toilets.
The first Geberit showroom with a “mini acoustics lab” is opened in Copenhagen (DK).
Picture: The Aquatics Centre, which was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is one of the most spectacular venues at the Summer Olympic Games in London. This iconic building contains various Geberit products.
The new block heating station at the Pfullendorf plant (DE) serves as a role model – it is operated using biomass from local sources.
Mike Horn’s Pangaea expedition comes to an end – supported by Geberit, the adventurer has been sailing around the globe since 2008.
Major product launches in 2012:
- Sigma80 (actuator plate)
- Alpha (concealed cistern, flush plate, specifically for India)
Günter F. Kelm steps down as Chairman of the Board of Directors. At the General Meeting, Albert M. Baehny is elected his successor.
The specially set-up Geberit Apparate AG begins producing shower toilets itself at the Rapperswil-Jona site (CH).
Picture: The “Geberit On Tour” campaign is launched in several European countries. The technical advisors travel through their countries in stages in order to pass on their know-how on site.
A new sales office is opened in Israel. Several Geberit Information Centres [m1] also open their doors in a number of locations, including Spain and Austria.
Major product launches in 2011:
- DuoFresh (integrated odour extraction unit)
- Sigma60 (Actuator plate)
- Wall drain for shower
The official opening of the new Asia/Pacific headquarters in Shanghai (CN) takes place.
Geberit makes a splash at the World Expo in Shanghai with its roof drainage for the China Pavilion.
Picture: The logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE) is inaugurated and immediately begins to systematise processes and consolidate consignments.
A new sales office is opened in Doha (QA).
During the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos (CH), Geberit is named Switzerland’s most sustainable company and takes 10th place in the overall international rankings.
Major product launches in 2010:
- Monolith sanitary module for WCs
- Shower element with wall drain
Picture: The shower toilet is relaunched under the name Geberit AquaClean in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The core message of the advertising campaign is „I Love Water”.
Geberit takes over the former Indian sales partner based in Bangalore and additional sales offices in Mumbai and Delhi.
Major product launches in 2009:
- PushFit (supply system)
- Silent-PP (sound-insulating drainage system)
Geberit Balena – the sales company responsible for the shower toilet – is integrated into the Swiss sales company, where the number of employees practically doubles as a result.
Geberit joins the “Global Compact”, a United Nations initiative to promote social commitment by companies.
Following the certification of the Chinese and US sites in accordance with ISO 14001, all Geberit production plants throughout the world now have a certified environmental management system.
Picture: Geberit runs a social project for the first time, with eight apprentices taking part. The project is based at the “Colegio Pomasqui” in Quito (EC).
Major product launches in 2008:
- Sigma10, Sigma20, Sigma50 (actuator plates)
- UP320 (the first concealed cistern that can be installed without tools)
- Uniflex PushControl (bathtub drain)
Geberit splits from the PVC piping business operated under the “Terrain” brand in the United Kingdom.
AMS, hitherto the exclusive importer of Geberit products in South Africa, is acquired.
Picture: Geberit introduces respective codes of conduct for employees and suppliers.
Major product launches in 2007:
- HyTronic85, HyTronic86, HyTronic87, HyTronic88 (electronic taps)
- Kappa50 (actuator plate)
- Balena 6000 (WC enhancement solution)
Picture: In a campaign, elephant, eagle and other animals draw attention to the many benefits of Geberit prewall systems: design freedom, stability, concealed technology, versatility.
The HyTronic line of sensor-controlled washbasin taps is launched in the USA.
The world’s first drinking water tower is inaugurated at the Langenfeld plant (DE). This makes it possible to experience sanitary expertise interactively.
Picture: Geberit splits from Deriplast’s underground piping systems segment. The production of HDPE and Silent-db20 pipes as well as the manufacture of special piping components remain at the Villadose site (IT).
Emerging from the former export department, Geberit International Sales AG (GISA) is founded; it serves over 35 markets and initially has branches in Dubai, Moscow and Bucharest.
Major product launches in 2005:
- Powerflush (compressed-air flush)
Picture: Geberit acquires Mapress Holding GmbH in Langenfeld (DE), for 372.5 million euros. The Mapress Group is the leading provider in the area of high-quality metal pressfitting piping systems and drainage solutions made of stainless steel, carbon steel and copper.
The marketing slogan (claim) “Know-How Installed” is introduced. From this time on, it can be seen on packaging, amongst other things.
Günter F. Kelm stands down from his position as CEO as of 31 December and is replaced by his successor Albert M. Baehny.
Picture: The Italian sales company moves into a new administration and customer training building in Manno (CH).
Geberit opens an official sales company in Moscow (RU).
Picture: Geberit expands its operations in the USA and acquires all shares in the Chicago Faucet Company headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois; shortly afterwards, it also acquires WC Technology Corporation in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
An International Acoustics Symposium featuring renowned scientists is held at the headquarters in Jona (CH).
Geberit acquires an interest in Huter Vorfertigung GmbH, a company based in Matrei am Brenner (AT). It will acquire the remaining shares in 2004.
A new sales company is opened in Australia with its headquarters based in Sydney.
Picture: The new Geberit Information Centre is opened in Jona (CH).
Geberit acquires Caradon Terrain, a company based in Aylesford (UK), thereby substantially expanding its position in the United Kingdom.
Picture: Geberit successfully goes public on the Swiss Stock Exchange. At the same time, it introduces an attractive employee participation plan.
A new logistics centre commences operations in Pfullendorf.
The family shareholders sell the company to the British investment company Doughty Hanson & Co. The Group Executive Board, together with other executive managers, acquires an interest in the company and thus preserves the operational independence of the Geberit Group.
The implementation of the innovation development process (IPE) prescribes uniform and binding procedures for all R&D activities.
Picture: The building technology and acoustics laboratory in Jona (CH) is completed.
Prosan, a company based in Ruše (SI), is acquired. It produces concealed cisterns and interior fittings for ceramic cisterns.
Deriplast S.p.A., a plastic pipe manufacturer from Villadose (IT), is fully taken over; Geberit had held a minority interest of 26% since 1989.
Geberit Lichtenstein GmbH is founded in Lichtenstein, Saxony (DE); from this point onwards it produces installation elements and frames.
The members of the founding family retire from operational management. . In the following years, the new CEO, Günter F. Kelm, leads the restructuring of the Geberit Group, with the sales, production and services activities being grouped into separate divisions while all research and development activities are centralised at the Jona site (CH).
A new plant is constructed in Pottenbrunn (AT).
Picture: A new Geberit Information Centre is constructed in Pfullendorf (DE).
The first comprehensive environmental strategy is developed.
Picture: Fresh water supply systems are added to the product portfolio.
Geberit acquires an interest in FAE Fluid Air Energy in Marly (CH) together with exclusive marketing rights.
A whole host of new tools transform work processes for the Geberit specialists: the systems “Data Access Object” (DAO), “Computer Aided Manufacturing” (CAM), “Computer Aided Engineering” (CAE) and CATIA – a software tool for computer-aided design and manufacturing – are introduced.
Acquisition of Sanbloc GmbH in Weilheim (DE). This company manufactures prefabrication components.
Major product launches in 1985:
- Picture: Kombistar
A Geberit Information Centre specifically for the Italian market is opened in Manno (CH).
The local sales company for Denmark is founded, with its headquarters in Lystrup.
The high-bay warehouse in Jona goes into operation.
Plant expansion in Pfullendorf.
The Geberella shower toilet is launched; the WC enhancement solution is sold until 1993.
With the introduction of installation systems, the range of products is expanded.
Geberit expands into the USA and establishes the subsidiary Geberit Manufacturing Inc. with its headquarters in Michigan City, Indiana.
Geberit’s corporate structure is reorganised and Geberit Holding SA established.
The local sales company for the Netherlands is founded, with its headquarters in Amsterdam.
Blow moulding technology is introduced; this enables the rationalised production of cisterns.
Picture: Geberit opens a new plant in Pottenbrunn (AT), 50 kilometres west of Vienna.
The local sales company for Belgium is founded, with its headquarters in Brussels.
A completely new factory is opened in Pfullendorf (DE).
Introduction of the first concealed cistern.
Picture: Geberit expands further and moves into new premises in the industrial park in Jona (CH), Rapperswil’s neighbouring municipality.
The local sales company for France is founded, with its headquarters in Paris.
As a logical consequence of the market success experienced by the plastic cisterns, Geberit takes up production in the area of drainage technology. In this field, the company also predominantly uses plastic, producing traps and other moulded components from polyethylene (PE).
The German sales company is founded in Pfullendorf. It has its own production facilities.
The name “Geberit” is registered as a trademark and is used as the brand name and quality label for all Geberit products from this point on.
Picture: With Heinrich (1917-2007) and Klaus Gebert (1926-1998), the third generation of the founding family takes over management of the ailing company. These two far-sighted entrepreneurs develop Geberit into an international corporation.
The first plastic cistern is produced, with the company experiencing a marked upswing in the wake of this product breakthrough.
During the Second World War, the company keeps afloat by building flat roofs made of pumice slabs, with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich among its clients (picture: Swiss National Exhibition in 1939, Zurich).
The branch in Paris is closed.
The company ventures into the area of plastics processing, at this time a very new technique – a groundbreaking development.
Picture: Albert Emil Gebert opens the company’s first foreign office with retail depot in Paris.
In the new manufacturing building on Falkenstrasse, production is concentrated on lead-lined cisterns with brass and lead mechanisms and ballcocks; traps and stop valves made of lead for the acids industry are soon added to the range of products.
A milestone is reached in the history of Geberit with the purchase of a plot in the Falkenstrasse in Rapperswil (CH). Albert Emil Gebert buys a 1,493 m2 piece of land for the price of 8.50 Swiss francs per square metre; construction of the new production plant begins the next year.
The first patent for the “Phoenix” wooden cistern is registered. The company is soon supplying customers throughout Switzerland and neighbouring countries with this reliable cistern.
The first cisterns produced in Switzerland leave the production plant in Rapperswil.
After the death of their father, the sons Albert Emil Gebert (1880-1969) and Leo Gebert (1888-1964) take over the business.
The town of Rapperswil awards a major contract for the water supply.
The sons Albert Emil and Leo Gebert succeed in manufacturing the first, lead-lined wooden cistern with lead fittings; called “Phoenix”, this product is the cornerstone for future growth.
The Phoenix property on the sunny side of the Engelplatz is purchased. One year later, the workshop is moved to these premises and a store is opened on the ground floor.
The company founder marries Josefina Domeisen, three years his junior. He purchases the corner property at Herrenberg 25/Halsgasse 39 from her family. The marriage produces the sons Albert Emil and Leo Gebert.
Caspar Melchior Albert Gebert (1850-1909) of St. Gallenkappel, Switzerland, opens his first plumbing business on the Engelplatz in the old town quarter of Rapperswil (CH).