October 27, 2010
KONE celebrates today its journey of a century. As an industrial engineering company, the company has been involved in many diverse businesses, but always maintaining the elevator and escalator business as its main focus. It has become an industry leading company with innovative, safe and eco-efficient solutions to deliver the best People Flow experience.
Global leading elevator and escalator company KONE has come a long way the last 100 years. From its start as a tiny machine shop in Helsinki, Finland, it has become a company with annual net sales of close to five billion euros, approximately 33,000 employees and operations worldwide. Today it is an acknowledged technology leader and has established itself as a major player in the world’s fastest growing markets as well as solidified its position in its traditional markets.
”Throughout its history, KONE has demonstrated an ability to adapt to a changing world and to create new opportunities for growth. Urbanization, aging population, and the increasing importance of safety are the challenges societies face today and even more increasingly in the future,” says Matti Alahuhta, President and CEO of KONE Corporation. “KONE wants to contribute to sustainable urban development with eco-efficient solutions that offer energy savings in buildings and enable the best user experience,” continues Alahuhta.
Short history of KONE
In 1908, a machine shop named Tarmo (“vigor”) opened in Helsinki. Tarmo’s owners incorporated their business as KONE (“machine”) Ltd. on October 27, 1910. The tiny machine shop was sold to Strömberg, a producer of electric motors and equipment as well as importer and installer of elevators. In the early 1920s, KONE turned to producing consumer products such as carbide lamps, coffee mills and blades for ice hockey skates. In 1924 KONE became an independent company as Strömberg, amid its financial difficulties, sold its shares to the Herlin family. In the following decades cranes and hoists were added to the product line and equipment maintenance and repair central to business strategy.
The new Hyvinkää factory was opened in 1967 with a capacity of 2,000 units per year, double the size of Finland’s total elevator market and far more than KONE’s total annual output at that time. KONE was set ready to become the first Finnish company to truly internationalize its operations. Its internationalization breakthrough occurred in 1968 with the acquisition of ASEA’s elevator business. In 1974 KONE took another gigantic leap forward with the acquisition of Westinghouse’s European elevator business. Mid 1970’s KONE was an elevator, crane and conveyor company. In the following years KONE expanded its operations into various businesses.
Mid-1990’s KONE divested its crane, wood-handling, cargo access and instrument businesses. In 1994, KONE purchased Montgomery Elevator Company, the fourth largest elevator company in the United States. It would later proceed to buy the remaining shareholding in its escalator partner, Germany’s O&K Rolltreppen. KONE also expanded its operations in the rapidly growing markets of China, India, Russia and Middle-East. In 1996, KONE made a technology breakthrough that would revolutionize the industry, by introducing the new hoisting machine of EcoDisc® and its machine-room-less elevator the MonoSpace®. Since 2005, KONE has outperformed the competition in terms of growth and profit margin improvement.
For further information, please contact:
Anne Korkiakoski, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Communications, KONE Corporation
Tel. +358 (0)204 75 4330
KONE is one of the global leaders in the elevator and escalator industry. The company has been committed to understanding the needs of its customers for the past century, providing industry-leading elevators, escalators and automatic building doors as well as innovative solutions for modernization and maintenance. The company's objective is to offer the best people flow experience by developing and delivering solutions that enable people to move smoothly, safely, comfortably and without waiting in buildings in an increasingly urbanizing environment. In 2009, KONE had annual net sales of EUR 4.7 billion and approximately 34,000 employees. KONE class B shares are listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd in Finland. Founded in 1910, KONE celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2010.