Winoa (formerly Wheelabrator Allevard) was founded in France, in 1961, to introduce steel abrasive in Europe, a new technology that would revolutionise sandblasting and descaling operations in the casting and forging industries. 50 years on, the group has become the world leader in its field thanks to its dynamic workforce and its active acquisitions policy.
Its organic growth is the fruit of major investment in production capacity and productivity, and sustained efforts in innovation. It has been promoted by the paramount importance that Winoa places on training its technical personnel and sales staff. The cornerstone of its external growth has been the methodical penetration of the world market through strategic acquisitions.
The history of Winoa can be divided into three stages
> Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Winoa developed its business in France, Germany and Spain, with 90% of its sales in these three countries.
> The 1980s and 1990s saw the company make major acquisitions (United Kingdom, Italy), secure a foothold in the North American production market (Canada, USA), consolidate in the steel abrasives sector in Europe (Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Slovenia) in Brazil, South Africa and Asia (China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan).
> Since 2000, growth in the company’s steel abrasives operations has progressed thanks to major investments in France, Italy and South Africa, the continued development of Testing and Research Centers and the consolidation of its position in emerging countries (China and Russia).
Wheelabrator Allevard was born from a joint venture between the American company Wheelabrator Corp. and the French company Hauts Fourneaux et Forges d'Allevard, a subsidiary of the Wendel Group. In 1991, Wendel became the sole shareholder. In 2005, the company was subject to a takeover with management participation by the LBO France investment fund.
In June 2011, Wheelabrator Allevard celebrated its 50th birthday and changed its corporate identity to Winoa. On January 30, 2014, a consortium headed by KKR Asset Management (KAM) acquired Winoa from its previous owner, LBO France.