Premium manufacturer for surface finishing and care products looks forward to further success stories with its business partners.
The big day is almost here: On 13 April 2022, LOBA, the premium manufacturer of surface finishing and care products, will be 100 years old. Under the banner of its centenary slogan, "Creating the Future Together", the family-run firm intends to celebrate in style – all year long. To thank its customers, distributors, partners and employees for their dedication and loyalty, the company will be running a whole raft of centenary-year activities throughout 2022.
The celebrations for employees will kick off at the firm's head office in Ditzingen / Germany, the hub of LOBA's internationally renowned chemical manufacturing operations. Meanwhile, the LOBA-Wakol subsidiary in North America will mark the start of the centenary at the leading US trade show for parquet, "NWFA Expo 2022". The company will be using its various communication channels to announce more activities over the course of the year.
Looking to the future
LOBA's strategy remains firmly focused on the finishing and care of floors and on continuing to expand its business activities in Germany and key international territories. "Our activities are split into three business areas based on the whole lifecycle of a floor – LOBA has it covered from start to finish," says Managing Director Mario Probst. He is referring to the company's industrial systems for the factory finishing of parquet, the close cooperation with installers and dealers in the trade market, and an extensive portfolio of cleaning, care and DIY products for end customers.
The first key milestone in the company's "next century" will be the construction of its new R&D Center, with a groundbreaking ceremony due to take place this year. Managing Director Alfred Melka elaborates: "As of 2023, this sustainable new building will provide space for product development and application technology," thus freeing up space in the existing technology building to expand and modernize production operations in response to ever-increasing demand.
Even back in 1991 when current Managing Partner and Chairman of the Managing Board Michael Fischer first joined the company, LOBA started forging ahead by developing innovative, environmentally friendly products that are safe, easy and reliable to use, and are also designed to work as a system. This approach earned LOBA a major coup in 1995 when it launched the world's first water-based two-component parquet finish, WS 2K 95 – the predecessor of all LOBA water-based two-component finishes today. And the success stories just kept coming.
Sustainability also plays a key role in the company itself. "Sound management and a broad international presence continue to see us through challenging times," says Fischer. And the management team is clearly on the right track: in 2019, consulting firm Munich Strategy named LOBA as one of Germany's Top 100 fastest-growing SMEs. The manufacturer has now achieved record sales three years running.
The story – from 1922 to date
Michael Fischer's appreciation of sustainability as a success factor is built on LOBA's eventful history.
It all began on 13 April 1922, when Dr. Max Fischer and Wilhelm Hornung founded the Vereinigten Wachswarenfabriken AG Hornung und Dr. Fischer. The company's product range included floor stains, floor polish, shoe cream and household candles. A ski-jumping enthusiast, Dr. Fischer invented a bestseller used by skiers the world over: in Ditzingen, he developed and produced the first industrial ski wax, which to this day is still marketed under its original brand name, HOLMENKOL.
After a highly successful first decade, World War II came as a harsh blow to LOBA. Short of workers and raw materials, production ground to a halt. But on his return from the war, Dr. Fischer threw his dogged determination and tireless energy into rebuilding the business. In the 1950s, LOBA split into three divisions: HOLMENKOL, building preservation, and LOBA floor oils and waxes. The company also started producing finishes, for example for the ski industry. In 1959 Dr. Fischer launched yet another global innovation with the world's first thermal insulation system, Dryvit®, which again has stood the test of time and is still on the market today.
In the 1990s, MBA Michael Fischer – the founder's son – engineered another commercial breakthrough by focusing the business on preserving the value of floors and hiving off the HOLMENKOL and building preservation segments. But just like the company's distinctive orange branding and the characteristic raven that has been its emblem from day one, the legacy of Dr. Max Fischer – a brave, extraordinarily resilient and highly inventive visionary – lives on at LOBA. And today, sustainability, internationalization and a focus on the core business are woven through its DNA like an orange thread.
Based in Ditzingen near Stuttgart, LOBA was founded 100 years ago. Its core business is the design, finishing and care of parquet and wooden flooring. It also has experience and expertise in elastic and concrete floor coatings. With subsidiaries in Brazil and China as well as joint ventures with Wakol in Poland and North America, the LOBA Group currently employs around 130 people, 100 of whom work at its site in Ditzingen. Since 1922, LOBA has established its successful brand in over 60 countries through technical excellence, premium products and unwavering dedication to its customers. LOBA On Top!