Winoa (formerly Wheelabrator Allevard) was created in France, in 1961, to introduce steel abrasive in Europe, a new technology that would revolutionize sandblasting and descaling operations in the casting and forging industry. 50 years on, the group has become world leader in its historical business activity and has also won a major share of the diamond tools market, thanks to the dynamic attitude of its staff coupled with an 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 in training its technicians 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 essentially be divided into three stages
> In the 60s-70s, Winoa developed its business in France, Germany and Spain, with 90% of its sales in these countries.
> The 80s-90s were marked by major acquisitions (United Kingdom, Italy), a foothold on the production market in North America (Canada, USA), the strengthening of the steel abrasives sector in Europe (Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Slovenia) and industrial plants in Brazil, South Africa and Asia (China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan).
> Since 2000, growth in the steel abrasives activity has progressed thanks to major investments in France, Italy and South Africa, the continued development of test and research centres 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 French Wendel group. In 1991, Wendel became the sole shareholder. In 2005, the company was taken over by the LBO France investment fund with management participation.
In June 2011, Wheelabrator Allevard celebrated its 50th birthday and changed its corporate identity to Winoa.
On 30 January 2014, a consortium headed by KKR Asset Management (KAM) acquired Winoa from its previous owner, LBO France.