Founded in 1802, GF is an industrial company based in Schaffhausen which as at the end of 2023 was active in 47 countries with around 150 companies, including 98 production sites and 142 sales locations. GF has around 19,000 employees who generate a consolidated revenue of more than CHF 5 billion. From its leading position in sustainability and innovation, this Schaffhausen technology group strives for profitable growth and has been offering its customers a high level of added value for over 200 years.
Questions to Roland Gröbli, Corporate Secretary of Georg Fischer AG:
What sets your company apart from others?
GF is one of Switzerland’s great traditional industrial companies with a history that dates back more than 200 years. Even then, the company’s founder, Schaffhausen steel casting pioneer Johann Conrad Fischer, aspired to compete with the best in the world, which at the time meant English companies. As one of Switzerland’s leading industrial companies, GF is still well positioned to benefit from global trends such as sustainable water management, ongoing high demand for energy-efficient solutions in buildings, the transportation of sustainable energy in all forms, e-mobility and digitalization, and the worsening shortage of trained professionals.
How does sustainability play a central role in the your company’s business processes?
Products, services, and solutions in the field of water management are GF’s largest sources of revenue. Sustainability is also an integral part of the GF strategy. The company has defined eight measurable objectives for every part of the company. GF aims to assume a leading position in sustainability and innovation and offer outstanding customer benefits. In line with the company’s commitment to transparency, GF reports on its progress in these areas. Incidentally, GF was one of the first signatories of the Sustainability Charter in 1999 and has published an annual sustainability report since 2000.
Where do you see the greatest export opportunities for your products and services? What challenges do you anticipate in the coming years, and where have you identified opportunities for further growth?
In November 2023, GF bought Finnish company Uponor, increasing sales by around 30 percent. While this represents a great challenge, it is also a great opportunity to further increase global market coverage in the area of water management and building technology, particularly with Uponor’s connections in North America and Northern Europe, and to offer customers additional benefits. In addition, we want to make better use of our potential in Asia and further increase our presence.
The same goes for the Middle East. Also in November 2023, we managed to acquire a majority stake in a company we have worked closely with for more than 40 years. This company, one of the leaders in gas and water supply in the United Arab Emirates, provides an excellent platform that we aim to use for further growth.
Which developments in recent years have surprised and influenced your company the most?
Politically and economically, we are living in turbulent, challenging times. However, we have found that there is little change in long-term trends and needs. We can and want to continue to grow in resilient markets. This also applies to Central Europe. What’s surprising, if I can put it that way, is just how resilient markets are when they’re based on long-term trends.