The climate and landscape of Norway’s south western region is harsh and unforgiving, making farming in this area both difficult and challenging. Despite this, hard working men and women have transformed this area into one of the most productive agricultural regions in Norway. The Kverneland Group has made its own contribution to agricultural development in the region throughout the years. Experience gained in such a tough environment has been invaluable to Kverneland Group’s rise to becoming one of the worlds leading supplier of implements to the professional farming community.
The history of Kverneland Group dates back to 1879 when the founder, Ole Gabriel Kverneland, built his small forge in the village of Kvernaland, 25 km outside of Stavanger, Norway. He named his business "O.G. Kvernelands Fabrik" and started to manufacture scythes. A talented inventor, Ole Gabriel designed his own water powered spring hammer and began producing 7000 - 8000 scythes annually by mass production. This gave him the competitive edge he needed over his rivals who still used traditional, manual production methods.
Implements For Tractors
In 1894 Ole Gabriel transferred his family owned forge to a Ltd in order to finance further development and growth. At this time the company produced mainly horse powered ploughs and harrows. However with the development of the first tractors in the 1920s, the company soon started to explore the possibilities of making agriculture implements suited to tractors. Throughout the first half of the 20th century the company continued to grow, developing its first tractor plough in 1928, going on to produce a new series of products including muckrakes, hay forks, stone forks and harrows.
The First Acquisitions
As early as the mid 1950s the company started to look strategically towards further expansion opportunities and embarked on its first acquisition phase to purchase complementary producers of agricultural implements. Globus Maskinfabrikk located in Brumunddal, Norway, was the first acquisition in 1955. In 1973 Kverneland made its first foreign acquisition when it bought Plovfabrikken Fraugde in Odense, Denmark. This event represented a milestone for future acquisitions abroad and marked the beginning of the modern, international Kverneland Group we know today.
From Family Business To The Stock Exchange
In 1983 the family owned company was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. This move provided the company with the necessary resource for further expand, and in 1984 Kverneland ASA acquired Kyllingstad Plogfabrikk in Kleppe, Norway. Two years later in 1986, Underhaugs Fabrikk in Nærbø, Norway, was added to the family. Today's parent company, Kverneland ASA, was finally established in 1989 as a legal entity.
Rapid Growth In The 1990s
It was, however, the 1990s which marked the beginning of the rapid growth period for Kverneland ASA. In 1993 the company acquired Maskinfabriken Taarup in Kerteminde, Denmark, an acquisition which also included the UK based Kidd factory. This acquisition represented the first steps towards real internationalism as the Group now encompassed production facilities outside of Scandinavia. Over the next 3 years additional European implement manufacturers were acquired by the Group. Machine Agricole Maletti, Modena, Italy was bought up in 1995, Accord Landmaschinen, Söest, Germany in 1996 and finally the German distribution company, Silo-Wolff, Lauenförde, entered the fold in 1997.
1998 – A Real Growth Year
In 1998 the Kverneland Group saw the peak of its expansion - a year when the Group acquired two major companies and cemented its position as an industry leader. In the middle of 1998 the Netherlands-based Greenland Group was acquired, this incorporated the famous Vicon brand name into the Kverneland Group family. This greatly strengthened the Group's grassland machinery range as a comprehensive and top quality product range. Later that year the second major acquisition was made and RAU was added to the Group. RAU, with its high-tech sprayers and cultivators, was a very strong brand in France and Germany and was also well known across Europe.
From Humble Beginnings To World’s Largest Supplier
Thanks to these two acquisitions in 1998, the Kverneland Group’s growth strategy accelerated dramatically when it doubled its size and turnover in just over two years. In 1997 the Group's turnover was approximately NOK 2 billion, and the number of employees amounted to 2200, with more than half the work force outside Norway. By the end of 1998 the Group had a consolidated turnover of almost NOK 4 billion and a work force of 3800 employees. Kverneland Group was now the world's largest manufacturer of farming equipment.
Entering The Viticulture Industry
In 2000 the Kverneland Group diversified further and ventured into the exciting area of viticulture. The Group acquired the world's leading producer of grape harvesters, the French company Grégoire SA, and so embarked upon a strategic move into new markets and .product areas. In addition to grape harvesters, the Grégoire acquisition provided Kverneland Group with vineyard-sprayers and attachments for the operation and maintenance of vineyards. Further acquisitions such as Lagarde and UR Machinery (Vinestar) meant that the Kverneland Group was now the largest producer and supplier of mechanised vineyard maintenance equipment in the World.
Kverneland Group - 125 Years And Looking To The Future
In keeping with our history and tradition, Kverneland Group strives to be the partner and supplier of choice when it comes to agricultural implements and vineyard mechanisation. With our continued focus on our customers we will endeavour to strengthen and consolidate the company’s position as an international leader, This while remaining true to the values on which this company was founded more than 125 years ago.
Kverneland Group Opens Sales Offices in Russia and China
2005 saw the opening of our sales offices in Russia and China. Kverneland Group is looking forward to building a long term and successful partnership in both these markets.
Opening of new Central Spare Parts Distribution Centre
In 2006, the Kverneland Group decided to merge their Spare Parts Warehouses in Giessen, Germany and Orléans, France into one central warehouse. The main reasons for the move was to further support and strengthen the Group’s service and operations, especially in the French and German markets. The 15.000 sqm Distribution Centre is located in Metz, France , and was officially opened April 22nd 2008.
Separation of the Vineyard Business
In 2007 Kverneland Group decided to separate its Vineyard business from the rest of our operations so as to focus on our core business areas within Grass & Arable
New Branding Strategy
In 2008 Kverneland Group has launched a more focused brand strategy, and started the process of reducing the number of product brands. The main principle is that Accord and Taarup will merge with Kverneland and Rau will merge with Vicon.
Kverneland Group Acquires Veenhuis (NL) Loader and Transport Wagon Division
Kverneland Group launches the second generation Virtual Terminal: IsoMatch Tellus
Kverneland Group enters a long term Joint Venture commitment with Gallignani srl.
On September 1st: Launch of new range of Round balers (fixed and variable chamber), wrappers and a new range of Drum Mowers
Kverneland Group opens new assembly plant in Daqing/China
Kubota Corporation acquires Kverneland Group and takes full ownership in May 2012.
Kverneland Group acquires full control of Gallignani s.p.a., baler manufacturing company based in northern part of Italy. New company name of the Baler Competence Centre is Kverneland Group Ravenna S.r.l.
2017 – Expansion to a larger Spare Part Warehouse in Metz
Due to growth in product offering and need for an expanded warehouse facility, Kverneland Group moves its central distribution centre for spare parts to a new location in Thionville in Metz, France. The new warehouse is located midway between Luxembourg and Metz, with great proximity to major transportation facilities and European markets. This makes it an optimal logistical centre for Kverneland Group partners. The new warehouse has storage for more than 65 000 parts and are ready for growth in the coming years.
2019 – A Year of Celebration
Kverneland Group celebrates its 140th Anniversary. Since 1879 the company has grown into a multinational agricultural implement specialist, with 2 482 employees. With 140 years of experience in agriculture, we will continue to further develop innovative implement solutions for the farming society - Dedicated to the Future of Farming serving the world’s growing population.
Read more about the 140th Anniversary here
Ole Gabriel Kverneland