SGM Moves Production to Denmark

A year and a half ago, Peter Johansen took ownership of the Italian lighting company SGM and started up in humble facilities in Aabyhoj, Denmark. Now the entire production, warehouse and administration are combining in a new 6,500 sq. metre facility in Aarhus.

In the intervening 18 months since Peter Johansen became CEO, a complete new LED product range has been launched, a global distributor network established, top international touring references have appeared across the world’s media — and now the entrepreneur aims to establish a dedicated Danish base. What this will mean is Danish manufacturing, Danish employment and — to a great extent — Danish and European sub-suppliers.

Peter Johansen“We anticipate that this move will create up to 400 new jobs over the next two years,” stated a bullish Peter Johansen, announcing the decision.

The strategy is based on the winning model that the entrepreneur has implemented over four decades, with a number of successful start-ups that quickly converted into market leaders. The success story began with Martin Professional in the 1980’s, with its foundation based on many of the same professional and innovative employees who are guiding SGM today.

Having headquarters and manufacturing in Denmark had always been part of the plan, so once the administrative organisation had become firmly established, work was put in place to accomplish the mission. SGM Manufacturing has now been founded as an independent company and a subsidiary to SGM Holding.

A new 6,500 sq. metre facility has been located in Aarhus and renovation initiated to create a state of the art production environment. Meanwhile, the Danish labour force is already increasing dramatically.

By the end of 2013, SGM expects to have moved all production activities to Denmark, thus ensuring greater flexibility and enhanced quality assurance for its customers.

“It is true that labour costs are higher in Denmark, but this evens out with the savings related to international sea and air freight costs,” maintains Johansen. “On top of that there is the ‘feel-good’ factor, knowing that all future products will be manufactured under the most acceptable working conditions and environmental considerations, while it enables us to monitor compliance, and uphold strict quality control.”

This accelerated programme has been made possible by a significant strengthening of the capital base, as Danish investment company, Industri Udvikling, last month confirmed a 30% stake in the Group. The company’s equity now stands at nearly 9.5 million euros.

Investment director from Industri Udvikling, Lars Buhl, comments: “SGM and Peter Johansen have demonstrated an impressive phase of development. In a very short time they have not only developed numerous new products, but they have also gained acceptance on the market. I believe that Peter Johansen and his team have ‘done it again’, and that SGM’s prospects are excellent.”

SGM’s turnover has more than doubled from 2012 to 2013 and the high growth rate is expected to continue as SGM is already market leader in several LED based products.

David MeyerThis development coincides with the appointment of David P. Meyer (former COO at Velux) as chairman of the board. Announcing the appointment, Peter Johansen says: “Now that SGM has passed the start-up phase and is into the growth phase it makes perfect sense to have such experience and competence in our management.”

“SGM is an innovative and customer-focused company based on highly skilled and dedicated employees. SGM sets new standards in an industry where customer focus, creativity and speed are the key for success. It is motivating and inspiring to be part of a company with such significant growth and high potential. Add to this the fact that this growth is based on national labour makes SGM a great asset for Denmark. There should be more businesses like SGM,” concludes David P. Meyer.

This is the latest, and most progressive phase in a remarkable career for Peter Johansen. After building Martin Professional to become the largest company in stage lighting, he went onto further success with Nitram Dental (manufacturer of autoclaves to sterilise dentist equipment), Dencam (manufacturer of moulds for the windmill industry) and Lantic Entertainment Systems (manufacturer of entertainment systems for luxury yachts) — all of which became market leaders in their appropriate segments — before the new adventure with SGM began.


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