• Tarkett
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Trailblazing pioneers

From the late 19th century to the 1940s

In 1872, the year in which Jules Verne published Around the World in Eighty Days, Dominion Oilcloth (Domco) was founded in Canada. The Sommer family set up its felt factory in Mouzon, France in 1880. On the fringes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Mihels brothers invested their family wealth in a hemp workshop in 1884 (Sintelon). Two years later, the Malmö Joinery Company opened for business in Sweden (Tarkett). In 1898, the Ohio Pail Company started manufacturing wooden pails in an Ohio Amish area in the United States (Johnsonite). In 1912 in the French Alps, Joseph Allibert founded his niche company, manufacturing insoles.

Key dates

1872 The history of Domco dates back to the company Dominion Oil Cloth, that started producing linoleum.

1880 The history of the Sommer Allibert Group dates back to Alfred Sommer who opened a felt- producing plant in Mouzon (France) and Joseph Allibert who founded a factory for the shoe industry in 1910.

1884 Foundation of the later Sintelon AD as Mihel Hemp Soaking and Rope factory.

1886 Tarkett AB is founded in Ronneby (Sweden) and quickly establishes a reputation as a high quality flooring manufacturer for Europe.

The age of entrepreneurs

From 1945 to the early 1970s

1947 marked the birth of “Tarkett”, the first vinyl floor covering manufactured by the Swedish company Limhamns. In France, in the early 1950s, the new Allibert factory specialized in manufacturing plastic products and the Sommer factories invented Tapiflex vinyl flooring. In 1957 and 1962 respectively, Domco, leader in Canadian linoleum, and the company which would eventually become Sintelon in Yugoslavia, began manufacturing vinyl flooring. The first rolls of vinyl flooring left the Eurofloor factory in Luxembourg in 1963. In the United States, Johnson Rubber manufactured its first baseboards in 1964.

Left: Joseph Allibert, founder of the eponymous company.

Right: François Sommer, a pioneer of employee profit-sharing.

 

Key dates

1942 Bernard Deconinck takes over the management of Allibert. The same year, 3 layer hardwood flooring is introduced at Tarkett, minimizing hardwood use to protect forests.

1952 Invention of first vinyl flooring offering durability and a wider choice in decoration for interiors.

1957 Recycling of vinyl tile to reduce waste in landfills.

1966 Development of vinyl wall coverings for better interior hygiene.

1959 Sommer is the largest French producer of modern floorcoverings.

1962 Sintelon starts producing resilient flooring.

1967 Tarkett is the largest flooring manufacturer in the Nordic countries. The company is taken over by Swedish Match AB in 1970.

 

Gathering momentum

From the 1970s to the late 1990s

The Sommer and Allibert companies merged in 1972. Tarkett, which was now controlled by the Swedish Match group, focused on floor coverings and merged with the German company, Pegulan, in 1987. In Yugoslavia, Sintelon began manufacturing floor coverings in 4-meter (13-foot) widths in 1979, using a new process developed by its experts. Johnsonite, a division of Duramax, made radical changes to its customer culture. The Canadian company, Domco, set its sights on the United States in 1991. In Russia, a factory in Otradny, which would become the world’s largest manufacturer of vinyl floor coverings in 4-meter (13-foot) widths, began operations in 1995.

Key dates

1972  Sommer and Allibert merge to create Sommer Allibert which continues strong development and growth over the next two decades.

1975 Launch of PUR surface treatment minimizing water and detergent usage, thus reducing maintenance costs and environmental footprint.

1978 First loose lay flooring eliminating adhesives to improve indoor air quality.

1980 Product life-cycle cost assessments are introduced to help customers better understand overall economic impact.

1986 Sommer Allibert takes over a share in Domco.

1987 Swedish Match AB acquires a majority share in German Pegulan-Werke AG. Both companies merge to become Tarkett Pegulan AG.

1988-90 Sintelon: privatization and joint stock company.

1991-94 Domco acquires Azrock and resilient flooring manufacturer Nafco.

1994 Launch of artificial turf reducing injuries for athletes and water and pesticides use in upkeep.

1995 Sintelon starts production with Russian company "Roof and Polymers" under the brand "Sinteros".

1996 First rubber products made from post-consumer tires.

1997 Tarkett and flooring activities of Sommer Allibert merge and become Tarkett Sommer AG, listed at the German stock exchange.

1999 Tarkett acquires Domco and becomes Domco Tarkett Inc.

 

Fully international and devoted to flooring

From 2000 to the present day

Tarkett and the flooring division of Sommer Allibert merged in 1997. Legacy branches such as homes or automobile equipment manufacturing were sold in order to focus on a single activity – floor and wall coverings. Tarkett, which had been operating under this name since 2003, was now represented in 100 countries. In the East, the Group signed a joint venture in 2002 with the Serbian company Sintelon, which opened up the Russian marketplace. On the other side of the Atlantic, Tarkett became the majority shareholder of Domco in Canada then acquired FieldTurf in 2004, thus carving out a major role in the sports surface sector. Johnsonite followed in December 2005.

Since January 2007, Tarkett SA has been owned through a holding company by the Deconinck family (50%) and funds affiliated with “Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts” (KKR) (50%). Tarkett has continued to develop its presence both in terms of products and geographies: in sports surfaces (Defargo, Beynon, Atlas), in wood (Marty in France), and in emerging countries (Turkey, China, Brazil). The Group has also continuously built its sustainability leadership through its Cradle to Cradle design approach, introduction of low-VOC products, and numerous awards and certifications.

Key dates

2002 Joint venture Tarkett Sommer and Sintelon for development and expansion in Eastern Europe

2003 The group operates worldwide as Tarkett; post installation recycling program is launched  in North America to reduce landfill waste (ReStart)

2004 Tarkett acquires FieldTurf and merges sports businesses for strong worldwide presence

2004 Tarkett acquires UK-based Marley Floors with strong focus on healthcare, education and retail in the UK and beyond.

2005 Tarkett acquires USA-based Johnsonite commercial flooring specialist.

2006 Tarkett delists from German stock exchange; a new surface treatment for linoleum is introduced to minimize water and detergent consumption

2007 Kravis Kohlberg Roberts & Co (KKR) becomes a 50% shareholder with the Deconinck family

2007 FieldTurf Tarkett acquires Defargo – specialist sports track company

2008 FieldTurf Tarkett acquires Beynon – specialist athletics track company

2009 Tarkett acquires all outstanding shares of Sintelon, its Serbian subsidiary as well as Atlas – a US specialist in athletics tracks. The Group also engages in a joint venture with Aspen to further develop the Turkish market.

2011 Introduction of low VOC emissions standards across the entire European product range (10 times lower than current European standards). Tarkett is the first French company to sign a partnership agreement with the German EPEA (Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency) and starts to implement the Cradle to Cradle® principles to guide its product development and production. The Tarkett Linoleum range is awarded the Cradle to Cradle® Silver Certificate. Tarkett is recognized for its sustainability strategy with the Strategic Development Trophy of the Green Business Award.

2012 Tarkett obtains the Cradle to Cradle® Silver Certificate for its wood product ranges manufactured in Sweden and Poland.

2012 Acquisition of Tandus Group, which allows Tarkett to expand into the commercial carpet business in North America and Asia Pacific, and enhances each company’s ability to provide their customers with a broader range.

Tarkett continues its historical external growth strategy: over 4 years (2009/2012), 10 acquisitions have been made (Fademac, Atlas and Aspen, Rhinofloor, EasyTurf, Centiva, Morton Extrusion and Poligras, Marty and Tandus).