Kverneland celebrates 140 years and umpteen big-name acquisitions

This year – 2019 – sees Kverneland celebrate 140 years as a manufacturer and supplier of agricultural machinery.

The history of Kverneland apparently dates back to 1879 when founder Ole Gabriel Kverneland built a small forge in a village (Kvernaland) 25km from Stavanger in Norway. At that time, the company was known as ‘OG Kvernelands Fabrik’; it manufactured scythes, sickles and knives.

Kverneland’s first plough

Its first plough appeared in 1882; the development of heavier equipment followed soon after – to meet the needs of larger farms using horses.

With the development of tractors in the 1920s, the company started to explore the possibility of producing implements specifically for tractors.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the business continued to grow – launching its first tractor-drawn plough in 1928. It went on to produce a series of new products, including muck-rakes, hay-forks, stone-forks and harrows.

As early as the mid-1950s, the company started to look strategically towards further expansion; it embarked on its first acquisition phase – to acquire other manufacturers of agricultural implements.

During its history, much of the growth of Kverneland Group has been due to many such acquisitions.

The 1990s, in particular, marked the beginning of a period of rapid growth for Kverneland ASA. In 1993, for example, the company acquired Maskinfabriken Taarup (Kerteminde, Denmark) – an acquisition which also included the UK-based Kidd factory.

Image source: Justin Roberts

Over the next three years additional European implement manufacturers were acquired. Machine Agricole Maletti (Modena, Italy) was bought in 1995.

Accord Landmaschinen (Soest, Germany) was added to the portfolio in 1996.

Image source: Shane Casey

German distribution company Silo-Wolff (Lauenforde) entered the fold in 1997.

In 1998, Kverneland Group acquired two major companies – the Netherlands-based Greenland Group (incorporating the famous Vicon brand-name into the family) and Rau (well known for its sprayers and cultivators).

In 2008, Kverneland Group launched a “more focused brand strategy”; it embarked on the process of reducing the number of product brands. The main principle was that the Accord and Taarup brand-names would merge with Kverneland and that Rau would merge with Vicon.

Following further acquisitions (including Veenhuis NL Loader and Transport Wagon Division in 2009) and joint ventures (Gallagnani in 2010), Kverneland Group was acquired by Kubota Corporation in 2012 (the same year that the former acquired “full control” of baler manufacturer Gallignani SPA).

Nowadays, Kverneland Group is known as a manufacturer of a wide array of tillage and grassland machinery – a dossier of equipment that also encompasses precision farming technology. It currently has 2,470 employees.

The 140-year anniversary will reportedly be celebrated globally in several regions throughout 2019, with input from some dealers and distributors.

The anniversary will also be a key element of the entity’s presence at international shows such as SIMA in Paris, France (February 24-28) and Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany (November 10-16).