The current head of development at Fagerhult, Leif Norrby, has been a part of the journey since 1978. He states that this uncompromising drive to offer the most benefit for users is still the defining characteristic of Fagerhult luminaires:
“Delivering superior energy efficiency without compromising on glare reduction and visual comfort is our trademark. Working closely with leading research institutes has given us an advantage in developing proactive solutions – lights that make people happier, more alert and more active. Our sustainability concept doesn’t just cover energy conservation, environmental impact and working conditions; it embraces the entire human context.”
In 1969, Bertil – who had been the company’s CEO since 1949 – was invited to take over all shares in the company. This was the beginning of an international expansion that occurred both organically and through acquisitions. In the coming decade, Fagerhult established sales offices in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany. It also bought out its Swedish competitor Ateljé Lyktan. In 1984, Bertil left the office of CEO.
A few years later, Fagerhult was acquired by the Swedish Almedahl Group. In 1993 it was time for the next acquisition, when the investment company Latour, under the leadership of the Douglas family, took over all shares in the corporate group. Latour gave Fagerhult another long-term and committed owner – and the Douglas family have remained a major owner even after Fagerhult’s introduction to the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1997. Not long after that, Fagerhult established offices in the UK and the group for the first time surpassed SEK 1 billion in sales.
The turn of the millennium kicked off a rapid expansion, and in 2005 Fagerhult opened its big production facility in Suzhou in China. Through several aggressive acquisitions, Fagerhult became one of the big names in the European lighting industry, not just in terms of technical development, but also in market share. Thanks to the Finnish company, Fagerhult began making inroads in the Russian market, alongside establishments and acquisitions in Central and Eastern Europe.
Among the biggest acquisitions were Whitecroft Lighting in the UK, Project Lighting in Ireland, Waco in Belgium and Eagle Lighting in Australia. Two other interesting acquisitions – LampGustaf in Sweden with its subsidiary Elenco and LTS in Germany – came to be the cornerstones of Fagerhult’s extensive focus on shop lighting and outdoor lighting. The operations were divided into three business units with their own manufacturing and development: Fagerhult Professional, Fagerhult Retail and Fagerhult Outdoor.