1994 – 2014: From a traditional lock company to a global leader in door opening solutions – this is ASSA ABLOY

From humble beginnings as a traditional lock manufacturer supplying the Nordic region, ASSA ABLOY celebrates 20 years as a global leader in total door opening solutions. 1994, the year that South Africa celebrated its first free and democratic election, ASSA in Sweden and Abloy in Finland merged to form the ASSA ABLOY Group. The Stockholm-listed company offered a comprehensive range of brands through Abloy (IKON, ABLOY, Trioving, VingCard and Cardkey) and ASSA (Arrow, Ruko, Solid and FAS).

Organic growth, a focused strategy on an increased market presence (joint ventures and acquisitions), a high rate of innovation and cost efficiency in all processes led ASSA ABLOY to become an innovative multi-national security Group.

The Group acquired over 200 companies in two decades and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. Between the years 1996 to 2001, ASSA ABLOY added the USA, Norway, Singapore, the Netherlands, North America, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Mexico and Canada to its geographical footprint. The company secured a foothold in the Asian market by opening an office in China. Further acquisitions followed in Israel, Germany, Austria, Spain, Sweden and Finland. When in 2000, ASSA ABLOY acquired Yale Intruder Security, it became the world’s leading lock company almost overnight, extending its already impressive brand offering with Yale, Chubb, Tesa and Union. More acquisitions which followed in 2001 in the Czech Republic, Italy, New Zealand and Viro in South Africa, meant that ASSA ABLOY, with over 100 companies, was now firmly positioned as a truly international Group.

To help integrate the 100-plus companies, the Group took to the high seas, participating in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001; the following year the ASSA ABLOY boat finished second in the event.

The Group went on to acquire automatic pedestrian door solutions specialist, Swedish-based, Besam. More acquisitions followed in Argentina, Slovenia, Chile and France. ASSA ABLOY further expanded its foothold in Africa with an acquisition in Kenya.

Investing heavily in R&D to offer the latest technological innovations, ASSA ABLOY launched a new wireless technology, Aperio, in 2008 and Mobile Keys in 2010. When ASSA ABLOY introduced Seos in 2012, it brought about the world’s first commercial ecosystem for digital keys. ASSA ABLOY’s 78th ranking in 2013 on Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most innovative companies, bears testimony to the Group’s resolute commitment to R&D and product innovation.

The Group, now almost 15 times larger than in 1994, increased profits by over 5 000% and growth by 1 300% in 20 years. Initial sales of SEK 3.6 billion with 4 700 employees has grown to over SEK 48 billion, with 43 000 employees in more than 70 countries.

“We are rapidly growing with good profitability and cutting edge technologies,” says Johan Molin, CEO and President of ASSA ABLOY. He attributes the Group’s ongoing success to rising prosperity, extensive urbanisation and increasing security. Molin also identifies important emerging fields, secure identities and biometric solutions, new services in electro-mechanical solutions, sustainable products and emerging markets as other key factors. “Rapidly growing areas are mainly electro-mechanical and digital door solutions, which currently account for almost half of our sales,” adds Molin.

ASSA ABLOY continues to substantially increase investments into R&D, employing approximately 1 400 developmental engineers. More than 27% of sales come from products launched over the past three years. “To meet the demand for increasingly advanced security solutions we will increase the already high rate of innovation over the next five years. Our aim moving forward is to continue to be the industry’s most innovative supplier of door opening solutions,” concludes Molin.

This impressive journey has transformed ASSA ABLOY into a company that has opened more doors than any other in the world. The local subsidiary, ASSA ABLOY South Africa (Pty) Ltd is able to draw on this international pool of innovation, knowledge, expertise and state-of-the-art technology to offer local customers a comprehensive range of world-class product and system solutions.