Going Public and Focus on Biopharma
The year 1990 marks a turning point in the history of Sartorius: the company, which until then had been family-run, was restructured, and went public under managerial control.
Since the mid-1990s, Sartorius has focused on biotechnology, which was still in its infancy at the time. As the first biopharmaceuticals such as human insulin reached market maturity, production facilities were needed on an industrial scale for the first time. In 2002, for the first time, sales revenue for the Biotechnology Division exceeded sales revenue for the Mechatronics Division, underlining the importance and success of the technological transformation that had been initiated.
1990 - 2006
1990 Going Public
To provide a more diversified basis for financing and to enable long-term growth, in June 1990, Sartorius went public, with the most of ordinary shares remaining in family ownership. Prior to this, the transfer of management from the third to the fourth family generation had failed, so external managers take over. Horst Sartorius remained on the Supervisory Board until his death in 1998 and was appointed Honorary Chairman. After his death, most of the ordinary shares remain in family ownership, with these being administered by an executor until 2028.
1994 Monolithic Weighing System
To this day, the monolithic weighing system is the mechanical heart of modern Sartorius balances. The introduction of the monolithic weighing system replaced a complicated system composed of up to 150 different individual parts. Rationalization and the use of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies make it possible to mill the monolith with its filigree elements entirely from a single block of aluminum, which reduces potential sources of error and enormously increases quality in terms of robustness and precision.
1995 Sartorius in China
Sartorius established a joint venture to produce laboratory balances in Beijing. The site is then successively expanded and enlarged. Today, in addition to laboratory balances, disposable bag systems and other equipment are also manufactured there.
In the 1980s, China became more and more important as a market and possible production location during the reform and opening-up policy, so a subsidiary was founded in Hong Kong in 1988. The first post-war business relations with the People's Republic even date back to 1950.
1999 Temporary Multi-Brand Strategy
Around the turn of the millennium, Sartorius acquired Denver Instrument Company, GWT Global Weighing Technologies GmbH and Dr. Hans Boekels GmbH & Co. as part of a temporary multi-brand strategy to strengthen its market position in weighing technology in the USA and Asia on the one hand, and to position itself more broadly in the pharmaceutical and food industry segments on the other. The focus here was on industrial weighing technology. In the same year, Sartorius acquired Vivascience Ltd. in the separation technology business area, focusing on protein purification and ultrafiltration.
2000 Focus on Biopharma: Acquisition of B. Braun Biotech International
The acquisition of B. Braun Biotech International represented the first major coup in terms of Sartorius' strategic focus on the biopharmaceutical industry. Previously specialized primarily in filtration solutions, Sartorius expanded its portfolio in the growth market of biotechnology by acquiring the world's leading manufacturer of bioreactors and established itself as a solution provider for laboratory and process solutions. The integration of the global market leader in fermentation, the central processing stage in biotechnology, further improved Sartorius' international positioning, especially in the fast-growing North American market.
2002 Biotechnology on the Fast Track
More than 130 years of dominance by the Weighing Technology Division came to an end: For the first time, the Biotechnology Division's share of sales exceeded that of the Mechatronics Division, which also included the Weighing Technology Division. Compared with 1996, sales of the Biotechnology Division, formerly the Separation Technology Division, tripled. This enormous growth development highlighted the importance of the initiated technological structural change, the changing acquisition strategy, which is to be continued in the future, and the investments in the "Plant 2001" in Göttingen to expand the capacity of Separation Technology products.