Eventful history - fascinating perspectives

From a family-run business to a public company

Geberit has been on the move for almost 140 years. Geberit's success story has been shaped as much by outstanding personalities as by innovation, partnership, know-how, reliability and quality of life – values we will continue to ascribe to going forward.

Since 2014, each of the three Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has its own Geberit representation.

The German production plants in Pfullendorf, Langenfeld and Lichtenstein are certified to ISO 50001 for their energy management for the first time.

The Geberit production company in Villadose (IT) completes work on a new 6,600 m2 production hall and commissions a third extrusion line for Silent-PP discharge pipes. A 20,000 m2 outside storage area and a new parking lot for trucks and cars are also built.

Albert M. Baehny stands down as CEO on December 31, with Christian Buhl becoming his successor.

The following products are newly launched on the market:

  • Omega concealed cistern and actuator plates
  • Wall drain for showers
  • Sanitary module Geberit Monolith Plus
  • Actuator plate Sigma70
  • Floor-standing Geberit AquaClean Sela

The countless buildings fitted with Geberit products in 2014 once again include a range of architectural gems. Here is a small selection:

  • Avic Science and Technology City, Nanjing (CN)
  • Hotel Victory Therme Erding (DE)
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (FR)
  • The King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh (SA)
  • Markthal Rotterdam (NL)
  • Main station and the Austrian Federal Railways headquarters in Vienna (AT)

Geberit celebrates the 50th anniversary of concealed cisterns with a range of special events and activities. These include gala events, to which customers from Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are invited as a way of saying thank you.

Geberit carries out a social project with apprentices at a school for physically disabled children in India. During this project, the toilet facilities are renovated and made accessible to disabled persons.

The newest Geberit plant commences production in Pune, India. For the time being, the facility manufactures Alpha concealed cisterns for the Indian market.

The most important products launched in 2013 are: Geberit AquaClean Sela, a noise-optimized Pluvia roof outlet as well as a new design for the Sigma50 and Sigma10 actuator plates.

Geberit AquaClean Sela garners a number of coveted prizes, namely, the “iF Product Design Award” and the “Interior Innovation Award”. The renowned prize "Design Plus powered by ISH 2013" goes to two products at one go: the Sela and the Sigma70 actuator plate. This latter award is given for outstanding and particularly innovative design in connection with the three criteria climate protection, energy efficiency, and sustainability.

There are a large number of remarkable buildings fitted with Geberit products. They include Hotel Chedi in Andermatt (CH), the new campus of the University of Economics and Business in Vienna (AT), the Giant’s Causeway visitors' center in Northern Ireland (UK), the green showcase project Bosco Verticale in Milan (IT) and the CCTV Tower, headquarters of Chinese Central Television in Beijing (CN) which was named the "Best Tall Building Worldwide" of the year by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

Geberit is conducting this year's social project with its apprentices in Romania. Another step is being taken to internationalize training. On completing their apprenticeships, apprentices are given the opportunity to take part in an exchange with another Geberit site overseas. The first host country is China.

Belgium, Denmark and Norway now also sell the Geberit AquaClean shower toilet and launch their campaigns in 2012.

South Africa gets a new headquarters in Johannesburg. In Copenhagen (DK), Geberit opens a new showroom for end customers and business customers, including a mini acoustics lab as well as training and meeting rooms. A training center is opened in Ireland.

In Ruse (SI), a site is acquired and construction work begins on a new production plant that is to replace the current site.

The highlights among the newly launched products are the touchless actuator plate Sigma80, the Geberit Monolith sanitary module for washbasins and the lavatory faucet with a self-sustaining power supply. Two products for emerging markets also go on sale – the Geberit Monolith sanitary module for WCs in China and the Alpha concealed cistern with actuator plate for the Indian market.

Geberit products are installed in a range of prestigious buildings, including the Grand Stade de Lille stadium and the Le Louvre Lens museum in France; various buildings created for the Olympic Games in London are also equipped with Geberit products.

Geberit commissions a block heating station in Pfullendorf (DE) that is supplied with regionally produced biogas, thus investing in sustainability.

Geberit carries out a social project in South Africa with apprentices from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Mike Horn’s Pangaea expedition comes to an end. In a four-year expedition supported by Geberit, the adventurer sailed around the globe from 2008 to 2012 and taught young people about treating nature with respect.

The Geberit AquaClean production hall in Rapperswil-Jona is officially opened on November 10. The shower toilet was until then developed and produced externally. The new production company Geberit Apparate AG was founded for in-house production.

Günter F. Kelm steps down as Chairman of the Board of Directors, having reached retirement age. At the General Meeting in April, Albert M. Baehny is elected his successor. Karl Spachmann becomes the latest member of the Group Executive Board and takes over the Sales Europe division.

Geberit AquaClean is launched in the United Kingdom.

A new sales office is opened in Israel. Geberit also opens several Information Centers, for example in Spain and Austria.

The Group's campaigns, "Geberit On Tour" and "Geberit Challenge" are carried out for the first time in several European countries.

Geberit is awarded several prizes: Geberit receives among others the Swiss Marketing Prize 2011 and the German Logistics Prize 2011.

The bathroom comes to resemble more and more an oasis of well-being. With its Sigma60 surface even actuator plate and the DuoFresh odor extraction unit, Geberit brings two products on the market which completely satisfy the latest requirements. Geberit also launches an ultra-thin cistern for the Australian market, that conforms to the three-inch thick walls there.

Geberit is able to extend its global presence in renowned buildings: Geberit products are for example in use in the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery in the United Kingdom, the Guangzhou Opera in China and the HafenCity residential and business center in Hamburg, Germany.

Geberit AquaClean is launched in the Netherlands and France, and Geberit AquaClean lounges are opened in Vienna and Paris, featuring demonstration models for the public to try out.

Geberit opens a sales office in Qatar.

The festive opening of the newly constructed Asia/Pacific headquarters in Shanghai takes place on May 27. Geberit China uses the World Exhibition in Shanghai to put on five engaging customer events from May to September.

Geberit's European Logistics Center in Pfullendorf (DE) is dedicated and inaugurated on March 26.

Well-known buildings such as the Prime Tower, currently the tallest building in Switzerland, are being equipped with Geberit products. Geberit products are also being used at the World Exposition in Shanghai for the Shanghai Expo Performance Center, the China Pavilion and the Switzerland Pavilion.

Geberit is named Switzerland's most sustainable company and awarded 10th place in overall international rankings during the WEF in Davos.

The design products Geberit Monolith and Geberit shower element with wall drain are launched and attract the interest of architects and end users.

Effective January 1, 2010, Geberit is taking over the former Indian sales partner based in Bangalore and additional sales offices in Mumbai and Delhi.

A new factory is being opened in Givisiez (CH). The Lichtenstein (DE) site is expanded: construction of a new production hall creates two-thirds more space.

William J. Christensen joined the Group Executive Board as of January 1, 2009, as Head of the Group Division Sales International.

In preparation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, host country South Africa is building five new soccer stadiums. Geberit products are used in all of them.

The “Princess-Elisabeth-Station” in Antarctica is being supplied with UR controls, toilet elements, Mepla, Mapress, PE and Silent by Geberit Belgium.

Pluvia will be used for roof drainage at the China Pavilion, which is being built for the Expo 2010 in Shanghai (CN).

The toilet with an integrated shower function is being relaunched under the name Geberit AquaClean in the German, Swiss and Austrian markets. In an end consumer–oriented advertising campaign that picks up on the natural properties and power of water, Michel Comte stages Melanie Winiger and Barbara Becker in a Swiss mountain landscape. The core message is "I love Water”.

The first flagship store in Shanghai is being opened.

Effective January 1, Geberit Balena, the sales company responsible for the shower toilet, is legally and organizationally integrated into Geberit Switzerland Sales. The number of employees at Geberit Switzerland practically doubles as a result. The integration is intended to enable quicker growth in the area of shower toilets.

A new sales office is being opened in Cairo, Egypt.

Geberit products are being used for two gigantic new shopping centers. Westfield London – White City in London (GB) is equipped with HDPE pipes and Mapress stainless steel as well as with Pluvia and Duofix installation systems. Mepla and Geberit PE pipes, 165 Pluvia inlets and 250 Geberit Kombifix elements are beeing installed at Italy’s largest shopping center, the Euroma 2 in Rome.

Geberit is joining the UN Global Compact, a United Nations initiative to promote social commitment by companies.

Since the end of 2008 and following the certification of the Chinese and US sites in accordance with ISO 14001, all Geberit production companies throughout the world have a certified environmental-management system targeted at lowering environmental impact, increasing the efficiency of resources, and reducing costs and risks.

Geberit acquires AMS, hitherto the exclusive importer of Geberit products in South Africa, on January 10.

Geberit’s sale of its PVC piping business in the UK, which takes effect on July 1, also includes the entire Aylesford production and warehousing site, the sales team responsible for the PVC business in the UK and the “Terrain” brand.

A new sales company is opened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Architecturally interesting buildings all over the world are being equipped with Geberit products. Examples include the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (AE), the fifty-story residential building Pinnacle@Duxton in Singapore or in Italy Jean Nouvel’s technology park “Kilometro Rosso” and the “Vulcano Buono” shopping center by Renzo Piano.

The Geberit share is split in the ratio 1:10 on May 8.

The Geberit Group organizes “Living Geberit” workshops with around 3,000 employees all over the world. These events offer employees the opportunity to concern themselves intensively with the central corporate values and the Geberit brand, and to become aware of their role as ambassadors of the company.

Geberit introduces respective codes of conduct for employees and suppliers.

Heinrich Gebert, the former co-owner of the Geberit group, dies on August 8 at age 90.

The Chinese sales company has been operating as a legally independent Group company for 10 years. In 2003, Geberit underlined its interest in the Chinese market by setting up the regional headquarters of the Far East/Pacific Region in Shanghai.

Production in Daishan (CN) is expanded. The production area is enlarged by 4,000 square meters, i.e. roughly doubled.

Bernd Kuhlin joins the Group Executive Board on December 1 as Sales Manager. In April, Randolf Hanslin moves from the Group Executive Board to the Board of Directors following 27 years of operative work.

The internationalization of the Balena shower toilet business is increased. The HyTronic line of sensor-controlled washbasin faucets is launched in the USA.

Important buildings are equipped with Geberit products, including the Aspire Tower, the highest skyscraper in Doha, Qatar, the Opera in Copenhagen (DK) and the Generationenhaus West in Stuttgart (DE).

Geberit France wins the Fnas d’Or innovation prize for the concealed cistern Powerflush. The award has been made for the excellent flushing performance of Powerflush and the reduction in water consumption during flushing from six to four liters.

Geberit Langenfeld (DE) inaugurates the first drinking water tower worldwide where drinking water hygiene may be interactively experienced in context.

At the ISH 2005, Geberit presents the new Powerflush technology. It rinses without electricity, using the same amount of water but higher pressure than traditional WC flushing systems.

Deriplast (IT) is subdivided into two companies. Private investors take over the underground piping systems segment. The production of PE and Silent-db20 pipes as well as the manufacture of special piping components remain with Geberit.

Various prestigious new buildings such as the Agbar Tower in Barcelona (Spain) by Jean Nouvel, Turning Torso in Malmö (Sweden) by Santiago Calatrava and the new football stadium by Herzog & de Meuron in Munich are equipped with Geberit products.

Geberit Pfullendorf (DE) is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its existence. The German Geberit GmbH was founded on December 6, 1955.

Geberit acquires Mapress Holding GmbH in Langenfeld, Germany, for EUR 372.5 million.The Mapress Group is a pioneer and one of the leading European providers in the area of high-quality metal press fitting pipe and drainage solutions made of stainless steel, carbon steel and copper for a broad variety of applications. The main areas of application are water supply and heating for residential buildings, building drainage, fire sprinkler systems, gas distribution, industrial applications as well as marine.

Geberit is now a company with sales of approx. 1.8 billion Swiss Francs and 5,300 employees.

Günter F. Kelm announced his resignation from the position of CEO as of the year- end. Albert M. Baehny will be the new head of the Geberit Group from 1 January 2005.

A distribution company is established in Mexico.

Geberit acquires a 100% stake in Huter of Austria.

The two Geberit subsidiaries in the Czech Republic and Hungary celebrate their 10-year anniversary.

Geberit opens its official representative office in Moscow, Geberit International AG Moscow.

Geberit acquires an interest in the Austrian company Huter Vorfertigung GmbH.

In July, Geberit expands in the USA and acquires all shares of the Chicago Faucet Company headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois. In November, it also acquires WC Technology Corporation in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In Australia a new sales company was opened.

Opening of the new Geberit information center in Jona.

Geberit acquires British Caradon Terrain in Aylesford, GB, thereby substantially expanding its position in Great Britain.

In the 125th year of its existence, Geberit successfully goes public. At the same time, it introduces an attractive employee participation plan.

For the first time, Geberit Group sales surpass one billion Swiss francs. The company begins preparations for a listing on the stock exchange.

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 in this way preserves the operational independence of the Geberit Group.

The implementation of “innovation process development” (IPD) prescribes uniform and binding procedures for all Geberit R&D activities. In the same year, the building technology and acoustics laboratory in Jona is completed.

In Slovenia, Prosan is acquired, a company that produces concealed cisterns and interior fittings for ceramic cisterns.

100% takeover of Deriplast S.p.A, a plastic pipe manufacturer in Villadose, Italy (minority interest of 26% since 1989).

Geberit expands into China and sets up two joint ventures with two production sites.

Geberit Lichtenstein GmbH in Lichtenstein, Germany is founded. It produces Geberit installation systems (GIS) and frames.

At the beginning of the nineties, the members of the founding family retire from operational management. In 1991, under the leadership of the new CEO, Günter F. Kelm, a new management structure was developed and introduced. As a result of the new structure, the sales, production and services activities are grouped into separate divisions. All research and development activities are centralized at one company located in Jona.

Construction of a new information center in Pfullendorf and a new plant in Pottenbrunn.

The first comprehensive environmental strategy is developed.

Construction of a new information center in Pfullendorf and a new plant in Pottenbrunn

Fresh water supply systems added to the product portfolio.

An interest in FAE Fluid Air Energy in Marly is acquired together with exclusive marketing rights.

Introduction of the System Data Access Object (DAO), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) and CATIA, a Software for Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Manufacturing (CAM).

Acquisition of Sanbloc GmbH in Weilheim, Germany. This company manufactures installation elements.

Opening of the information center for the Italian market in Manno, Ticino.

Establishment of Geberit A/A in Lystrup, Denmark.

The high-bay warehouse in Jona goes into operation.

Plant expansion in Pfullendorf.

With the introduction of installation systems and shower toilets, the range of products is extensively expanded.

With the establishment of the subsidiary Geberit Manufacturing Inc. in Michigan City, Indiana, USA, Geberit embarks on its overseas expansion.

Geberit’s corporate structure is reorganized and Geberit Holding SA established.

First experiments with shower toilets.

Establishment of Geberit B.V. in Amsterdam.

Introduction of blow moulding technology for rationalized production of cisterns.

Production begins at the Geberit plant in Pottenbrunn, St. Pölten, 50 kms west of Vienna.

Establishment of Geberit P.V.B.A. in Brussels.

The new factory in Pfullendorf opens its doors.

Establishment of the Geberit company in Vienna

Introduction of the first concealed cistern.

Geberit expands further and moves into new premises in the Jona industrial park not far from Rapperswil.

Establishment of the Geberit Sàrl sales company 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 odour traps and other moulded components in PE.

Establishment of the subsidiary Geberit GmbH in the Southern German town of Pfullendorf, with a sales organization and technical advisors.

Geberit is registered as a trademark and the name is used from this time on as brand name and quality label for all Geberit products.

The third generation of the founding family, Heinrich (1917-2007) and Klaus (1926-98), both sons of Albert Emil and Regina Gebert-Droeser, takes over management of the ailing company. Thanks to the efforts of these two young entrepreneurs, Geberit achieves the breakthrough and develops into an international corporation.

The first plastic cistern is produced. In the wake of this product breakthrough the company experienced a marked upswing.

A groundbreaking development for the future of the company is when work begins in the area of plastic processing, at this time a very new technique used to produce corrosion- resistant cistern components and pipes.

Between 1935 and 1952, the Gebert & Cie. company is beset with immense problems. Apart from the Second World War, the reasons for these problems and their specific nature can only be speculated upon. During these years, processing material was delivered only against advance payment. By this time (1953), Albert Emil Gebert is an elderly man of 73 years and Leo Gebert is already 65 years old. The 36 year-old Heinrich Gebert asks his younger brother Klaus (27) to join the company. The entrepreneurial spirit of these two young men is so great that they succeed in resolving all the problems.

Albert Emil Gebert opens the company’s first foreign office; a retail depot in Paris.

An additional 851 m2 of land are purchased in the Falkenstrasse to enlarge the production site.

The new building is completed and all production units and workshops are transferred to the new premises. Production is concentrated on lead-lined cisterns with Geberit- designed copper and lead cistern fittings and ball cocks, patented both in Switzerland and abroad. Traps and shut-off valves of lead for the acids industry are added to the range of products.

The product range is expanded by the addition of odour traps and shut-off valves for the chemical industry.

In the midst of the First World War, construction of the new production plant is begun.

A milestone in the history of Geberit is the purchase of real estate in the Falkenstrasse in Rapperswil. Albert Emil Gebert buys a 1,493-m2 piece of land for the price of 8.50 Swiss francs per square meter.

The first patent for the “Phoenix” wooden cistern is registered. The company is soon supplying customers throughout Switzerland and the neighboring 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 management of the company.

Albert and Leo marry the Basle-born sisters Regina and Anna Droeser. Albert Emil and Regina Gebert-Droeser are sole shareholders and company directors for several decades. Leo Gebert is particularly gifted in the construction of new inventions. He is the actual inventor of the valve-based toilet flushing mechanism. Before long, the two enterprising brothers begin to draw up plans for the construction of their own manufacturing factory so that all their production sites and workshops, which are scattered in various locations around the little town of Rapperswil, will be unified under one roof.

Albert Emil Gebert succeeds in manufacturing the first, lead-lined wooden cistern with lead fittings under the brand name of “Phoenix”. This product is the cornerstone for future growth.

Purchase of the Phoenix property on the sunny side of the Engelplatz. The workshop is also moved to these premises and then a store is opened on the ground floor. The old property is sold in 1900.

Around the turn of the century, appliances and fixtures for sanitary installations are still rather primitive. This situation gives the Gebert brothers Albert Emil and Leo the idea to open their own factory. The company is further expanded by the addition of a foundry, a tool-making shop, a turning shop and a workshop specializing in surface treatment.

Gebert marries Josefina Domeisen, three years his junior. Gebert purchases property in the Herrenberg 25/obere Halsgasse 39 from Josefina’s family for 8,000 Swiss francs. Six children bless the happy marriage. Sadly, three daughters die young of diphtheria and one daughter drowns in a tragic boat accident. Only two children remain to the couple, their sons Albert Emil and Leo Gebert.

Caspar Melchior Albert Gebert (1850-1909) of St. Gallenkappel, Switzerland, opens his first plumbing business on the Engelplatz Square in the old town quarter of Rapperswil.