After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future.

This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Discover the history of Legrand through 6 topics.

 

Discover the history of Legrand via

  • tl_theme1
  • 1865
  • 1918
  • Legrand's origins

Key dates

From a simple porcelain workshop to a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future. This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

Discover the Chairman's message

Legrand's origins

The company was founded in 1904, but in fact, Legrand is the successor of a company created in 1865.

The origins of Legrand go back to 1865, when a porcelain tableware workshop was set up wood merchants Henri Barjaud de Lafond and Léonard Clidasson along Route de Lyon (now called Avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny) in Limoges, where the Group's head office is still located today.

Porcelain workshop - product storage

 

The factory was built on the banks of the Vienne river so that wood could easily be brought to fuel the kilns in which the porcelain was fired.
It was operated in turn by Ernest Duchatelet (1865), Mr. Léobon (1871), Paul Lacroix (1876) and Henri Barjaud de Lafond (1877).

Porcelain workshop - product finishing

 

Porcelain workshop - porcelain kiln

Porcelain workshop - product decoration

 

In 1897, brothers Jules and François Vultury bought the factory and operated it themselves.

In 1904, the business was bought by Frédéric Legrand, Charles Alary and Jean Joquel, to become the Legrand, Alary & Joquel Company. From then on, Legrand was part of the company name.

In 1911, the company name changed to Betoule Legrand & Co.

  • tl_theme1
  • 1919
  • 1948
  • Electrical devices - the beginnings

Key dates

From a simple porcelain workshop to a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future. This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

Electrical devices - the beginnings

In 1919, one of the partners, Jean Mondot, a Limoges craftsman who had set up a small factory at nearby Exideuil producing light switches made from porcelain and boxwood, expanded the company’s business by creating an ‘electrical wiring devices’ branch. Over the years, low-voltage electrical wiring devices were to gradually become the company’s main activity.

Tumbler switch (1919)


As a means of optimising kiln capacity, small insulating components for electrical wiring devices were cured and dried in the otherwise unused space between stacks of round plates.


Over time, the part design and curing processes became increasingly professional and ovens dedicated to producing insulation components for electrical devices were set up.

 

 

The company became Legrand & Co. (Porcelain and electrical devices factory)

 

The factory acquired the first tunnel kiln in Limoges, operating on town gas, and intended for the firing of porcelain for electrical engineering applications. It was later demolished, in 1980, when porcelain manufacture was permanently halted in Limoges.

Inside the kiln during firing

 

Legrand was taken over by two industrialists from Northern France who were also brothers-in-law, Jean Verspieren and Edouard Decoster.

Jean Verspieren and Edouard Decoster

 
  • tl_theme1
  • 1951
  • 1969
  • Legrand from 1950 to 1970

Key dates

From a simple porcelain workshop to a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future. This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

Legrand from 1950 to 1970

Porcelain was still the main material used in the assembly of devices. The use of plastic was gradually increasing, first with thermoset plastics, then with petroleum-based thermoplastics from 1959 onwards.

Tumbler switch with porcelain housing

In 1966, Legrand acquired its first subsidiary outside France, in Belgium. This date marks the beginning of its policy of self-financed, carrefully targeted acquisitions. Find out more about Legrand's acquisition policy.

Discover Legrand in 1969, in an 8-minute feature broadcast in June 1969 on the regional news channel.
 

 

View the photo series to see the various Legrand workshops in the years between 1950 and 1970.

 
 
  • tl_theme1
  • 1949
  • 1950
  • Specialisation in electrical material

Key dates

From a simple porcelain workshop to a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future. This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

Specialisation in electrical material

On August 25 th , 1949, a fire destroyed almost all of the workshops where porcelain tableware was manufactured, putting a stop to that line of business. The electrical wiring devices branch was also badly damaged, but the two directors, Jean Verspieren and Edouard Decoster, decided henceforth to specialise in the production of electrical wiring devices only.

Legrand headquarters in 1948, before the fire. Production of porcelain tableware adjoined that of electrical wiring devices.

 

Legrand headquarters after the fire in August 1949. Buildings were severely damaged.

Factory reconstruction in 1949. The facilities were fully functional again within a year.

 
  • tl_theme1
  • 1970
  • 2005
  • Stock market flotation and Schneider/Legrand episode

Key dates

From a simple porcelain workshop to a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future. This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

Stock market flotation and Schneider/Legrand episode

In 1970, on the strength of its economic performance, Legrand was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange.

In January 2001, Schneider Electric launched a friendly securities exchange takeover bid aimed at controlling all of Legrand’s capital. But the European Commission eventually opposed the merger on competition grounds.

 

The ensuing ‘demerger’ process was completed in December 2002. After an agreement with Schneider Electric was reached, 98% of the Legrand Group's capital was acquired by a Consortium consisting mainly of Wendel Investissement and KKR.

 

Following the above operation, Legrand shares are withdrawn from the Paris stock exchange in October 2003.

 
 
  • tl_theme1
  • 2006
  • today
  • Legrand looks to the future

Key dates

From a simple porcelain workshop to a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

After over a century of company history, Legrand is more than ever looking to the future. This historic background is an asset for the Group, which has always demonstrated its ability to adapt to changes in the market. What started out as just a porcelain workshop gradually became a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures.

Legrand looks to the future

Legrand returns to the stock market, listed on Euronext. In 2011, Legrand becomes part of the CAC 40.

For more than 60 years, Legrand has been supplying integrated solutions for lighting, heating, energy, network and access management in buildings. The Group's business is to design, develop, and market electrical and digital systems that are both simple and innovative. Systems for better communication, tighter security, and improved comfort and convenience in buildings

 
 
  • tl_theme2
  • 1970
  • 1989
  • 1970-1989: External growth develops internationally

Acquisition

A pioneer in international development

Legrand's growth model is based on innovation, regular launches of value-added products, and targeted, self-financed acquisitions of small to medium size companies that enjoy leading positions on their markets and are complementary with the Group's business.

1966: first subsidiary outside France, in Belgium
1977: first subsidiary outside Europe, in Brazil
1989: acquisition of BTicino in Italy

Find out more about the Legrand Group's acquisitions

Martin & Lunel (1974 – France)
Inovac (1974 – France)
Pial (1977 – Brazil)
Sarlam (1977 – France)
Arnould (1980 – France)
Planet-Wattohm (1982 – France)
Pass & Seymour (1984 – USA)
Bticino (1989 – Italy/Latin America)

 
 
  • tl_theme2
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • Access to new fast-growing markets

Acquisition

A pioneer in international development

Legrand's growth model is based on innovation, regular launches of value-added products, and targeted, self-financed acquisitions of small to medium size companies that enjoy leading positions on their markets and are complementary with the Group's business.

1966: first subsidiary outside France, in Belgium
1977: first subsidiary outside Europe, in Brazil
1989: acquisition of BTicino in Italy

Find out more about the Legrand Group's acquisitions

Baco (1992 – France)
Tenby (1992 – United Kingdom)
Kontavill (1993 – Hungary)
RTGamma (1995 – Italy)
MDS (1996 – India)
Luminex (1996 – Colombia)
Fael (1996 – Poland)
The Watt Stopper (1996 – USA)
URA-Saft (1997 – France/Spain/Australia)
Ortronics (1998 – USA)
Anam (1999 – South Korea)
Ceb (1999 – Italy)
Tegui (2000 – Spain)
Quintela (2000 – Spain)
Lorenzetti (2000 – Brazil)
Wiremold (2000 - USA/UK/Poland)

 
 
  • tl_theme2
  • 2004
  • 2010
  • Intensified acquisition drive

Acquisition

A pioneer in international development

Legrand's growth model is based on innovation, regular launches of value-added products, and targeted, self-financed acquisitions of small to medium size companies that enjoy leading positions on their markets and are complementary with the Group's business.

1966: first subsidiary outside France, in Belgium
1977: first subsidiary outside Europe, in Brazil
1989: acquisition of BTicino in Italy

Find out more about the Legrand Group's acquisitions

Van Geel (2004 – Netherlands)
On Q (2005 – USA)
Zucchini (2005 – Italy)
TCL Building Technology (2005 – China)
TCL International Electrical (2005 – China)
ICM Group (2005 – France)
Cemar (2006 – Brazil)
Shidean (2006 – China)
RM Kabelbaner (2006 – Denmark)
Vantage (2006 – USA)
HPM (2007 – Australia)
Macse (2007 – Mexico)
UStec (2007 – USA)
Kontaktor (2007 – Russia)
TCL Wuxi (2007 – China)
Alpes Technologie (2007 – France)
PW Industries (2008 – USA)
Estap (2008 –Turkey)
HDL (2008 – Brazil)
Electrak (2008 – United Kingdom)
Inform (2010 – Turkey)
Indo Asian Switchgear (2010 – India)
Meta System Energy (2010 – Italy)

 
  • tl_theme2
  • 2011
  • today
  • Continual progress on strategic markets

Acquisition

A pioneer in international development

Legrand's growth model is based on innovation, regular launches of value-added products, and targeted, self-financed acquisitions of small to medium size companies that enjoy leading positions on their markets and are complementary with the Group's business.

1966: first subsidiary outside France, in Belgium
1977: first subsidiary outside Europe, in Brazil
1989: acquisition of BTicino in Italy

Find out more about the Legrand Group's acquisitions

Electrorack
(2011 – USA)
specialist in Voice-Data-Image enclosures for datacenters

Intervox Legrand Intervox
(2011 – France)
French No.1 in connected security systems

SMS Legrand SMS
(2011 – Brazil)
Brazilian No.1 in UPS

 Legrand Middle Atlantic Products Inc. Middle Atlantic Products Inc.
(2011- USA)
US leader in audio and video enclosures

 

Megapower Legrand Megapower
(2011 - Malaysia)
leader in Malaysia in plastic cable management products (joint venture)

Numeric Legrand Numeric
(2012 - India)
Indian No.1 in low and medium power UPS

Aegid Legrand Aegide
(2012 - Netherlands)
Dutch leader in Voice-Data-Image (VDI) enclosures for datacenters

Daneva Legrand Daneva
(2012 – Brazil)
Brazilian No.1 in connection accessories (joint venture)

 

Daneva Legrand NuVo Technologies
(2012 – USA)
Specialist in residential multi-room audio systems in the United States

Daneva Legrand Seico
(2013 – Saudi Arabia)
Saudi leader in metal industrial cable tray

Seico S2S UPS (2013 - France)
French UPS specialist

 

> Discover the Group's news and press releases

 
  • tl_theme3
  • 1970
  • 1970
  • Legrand goes public

stock market

Legrand on the stock market

Since its first flotation on the Paris stock exchange in 1970, Legrand has maintained close ties with its shareholders, who support its development by providing the capital needed to finance its expansion.

Back to the Finance Corner home page

1970: Legrand is introduced onto the Paris Stock Exchange
1987: Legrand was part of the CAC 40 from the start on December 31st, 1987

 
  • tl_theme3
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • Schneider, KKR and Wendel

stock market

Legrand on the stock market

Since its first flotation on the Paris stock exchange in 1970, Legrand has maintained close ties with its shareholders, who support its development by providing the capital needed to finance its expansion.

Back to the Finance Corner home page

2001: Schneider Electric launches a friendly securities exchange takeover bid aimed at controlling all of Legrand’s capital. But the European Commission eventually opposes the merger on competition grounds. As the share exchange process has taken place, Schneider is forced to divest itself of the entire share capital of Legrand.

 

2002 / 2003: Completion of the ‘demerger’ process: after an agreement with Schneider Electric is reached, the capital of the Legrand Group is acquired by a Consortium consisting mainly of investment funds Wendel Investissement and KKR, and Legrand is delisted.

 
  • tl_theme3
  • 2006
  • 2006
  • Back to the stock market

stock market

Legrand on the stock market

Since its first flotation on the Paris stock exchange in 1970, Legrand has maintained close ties with its shareholders, who support its development by providing the capital needed to finance its expansion.

Back to the Finance Corner home page

2006: Legrand returns to the stock market and is listed on Euronext Paris in April. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Wendel Investissement remain majority shareholders with a 30% share each, with 19% free float, 16% held by minority shareholders and 5% by management and staff.

At the end of 2006 minority shareholders (banks and funds) sell their shares via an accelerated private institutional placement, thereby taking traded shares to 35% of the capital and increasing stock liquidity.

 
  • tl_theme3
  • 2011
  • 2011
  • Part of the CAC 40 index

stock market

Legrand on the stock market

Since its first flotation on the Paris stock exchange in 1970, Legrand has maintained close ties with its shareholders, who support its development by providing the capital needed to finance its expansion.

Back to the Finance Corner home page

KKR and Wendel Investissement strongly reduce their shareholdings in Legrand, which are brought down to 6% each.

In December 2011,the combined effect of its share price trend, an increase in free float and the rising volume of traded shares leads to Legrand's inclusion in the CAC 40 index.

Gilles Schnepp commenting on the return to the CAC 40 index :
"Legrand’s return to the CAC 40 is good news, not only for the 32,000 Legrand employees, who are proud of this accomplishment, but also for the company, whose profile will be raised, and of course for the shareholders."

Gilles Schnepp, Chairman and CEO, rings the ceremonial bell that signals the opening of trading at the stock exchange.

 
  • tl_theme4
  • 1920
  • 1929
  • Pushbutton switches

Light switches

An early illustration from 1920 with the switch

Utile :
La personnalisation d'interrupteurs muraux

The first pushbutton switches appeared between 1920 and 1930.

Pushbuttons contain a stem, whose conducting end touches the fixed tabs when you press the pushbutton at the other end. A spring in the axis of the stem returns the stem and pushbutton as soon as you release the button: this is what is called a non-maintained contact.

 
  • tl_theme4
  • 1930
  • 1949
  • Rotary switches

Light switches

An early illustration from 1920 with the switch

Utile :
La personnalisation d'interrupteurs muraux

A rotary switch operates by the rotation of conducting tabs around an axis perpendicular to the fitting plane, which enter into contact with fixed terminals or tabs. The control button is called the key. Rotary switches continued their development until 1950, and were then gradually phased out as new toggle switch ranges replaced them (the last waterproof model dates from 1969). This disappearance is mainly due to the complexity of the mechanism and the difficulty of operating the key.

 
  • tl_theme4
  • 1950
  • 1959
  • Tumbler-type toggle switches

Light switches

An early illustration from 1920 with the switch

Utile :
La personnalisation d'interrupteurs muraux

Tumbler switches operate by the rotation of a stem or rocker around an axis parallel to the fitting plane, with the end being squeezed to come into contact with fixed terminals or tabs.

The control button at the other end (on the outside) is called the key.

Like rotary switches, these developed until 1950, and then gradually disappeared as new toggle switch ranges began to replace them.

 

In 1953, the built-in fuse range appeared, incorporating a feature that had previously been external. This enhanced the safety of installations, while also improving repair and maintenance. The new range (Antibes and Amboise series) also used this option, which was to disappear (because of changes in standards) around 1984.

 
  • tl_theme4
  • 1960
  • today
  • Other switch ranges

Light switches

An early illustration from 1920 with the switch

Utile :
La personnalisation d'interrupteurs muraux

With only a few exceptions, up to 1955 all switches had washable contact surfaces.

The appearance and development of these new ranges is related to the use of silver contacts (already used in electrical contactors), and thanks to the self-cleaning nature of these contacts, this movement could be replaced by a normal direction movement.

 

Because the silver contact was also better than the earlier ones, the contact pressure could be reduced, allowing new simpler, more lightweight, more compact mechanisms to be developed. The control button changed its name and became known as a ’rocker’.

Chambord range

 

Unlike the old tumbler switch, these new ranges would be in constant evolution in terms of shape, colour, functionality (adaptation to living circumstances and use, flush-mounting, ease of installation, etc.). This gradually increased their complexity. Moreover, it is noteworthy that each new range created would incorporate the options from previous ranges in addition to its own new options. From a basic switch to a touch screen via a soft-touch control, it is now possible to choose how to control lighting.

Mistral range

 
  • tl_theme5
  • 1870
  • 1949
  • The porcelain tableware logo

The Legrand logo over the years

This logo was used between 1870 and 1949 on porcelain tableware. It shows a star encompassed by two half-moons, bearing the inscriptions 'Limoges' and 'France'.

On the back of plates, this logo was often combined with the name 'F. Legrand & Cie Limoges France'.

 
  • tl_theme5
  • 1925
  • 1967
  • The electrical devices logo

The Legrand logo over the years

Made up of the letters CLL, for 'Compagnie Legrand Limoges', this logo was used from 1925 until 1967. During this period, it was to be found on packaging, catalogues and the façade of the head office building.

Logo displayed on the Legrand factory building in 1955

Logo on the catalogue front page in 1934

 

From 1955 on, the "CLL" logo is used in combination with a cartoon of an electrical installer in action, whose cap bears the logo. This figure ceased to be used in 1968.

Installer displayed on wiring device cardboard box

 

Installer figuring on the back cover of the 1956 catalogue

Installateur figuring on the front cover of the 1963 catalogue

 
  • tl_theme5
  • 1968
  • 1973
  • Light-switch type logo

The Legrand logo over the years

Before the creation of the version we are currently familiar with, the logo was redesigned through reassembly of the two capital 'L's in the "CLL" logo, placed facing each other head-to-foot in combination with two lines to represent a switch with its incoming and outgoing wires. The name "legrand" was placed in small lettering to the right of this visual.

This logo was used for 6 years between 1968 and 1973.

This logo in black was also frequently combined with the name "legrand" written in larger-scale lettering, and in several colours.

 

 

Logo in the 1969 catalogue

Logo in the 1970 catalogue

 

Logo in the 1971 catalogue

Logo in an addendum to the 1972 catalogue

 
  • tl_theme5
  • 1974
  • today
  • The current logo

The Legrand logo over the years

Still in use today, this logo was first used in 1974 in certain applications. It comprises the two black 'L's facing each other head-to-foot in combination with two lines to represent a switch with its incoming and outgoing wires, as well as a red "legrand" of the same size as the square that suggests a switch.

Extended to all-purpose use as of 1976, this logo is a registered trademark to protect against counterfeit and copy.

 
  • tl_theme6
  • 1865
  • 1923
  • Management of the porcelain tableware factory

Legrand Senior Management

The experience and commitment of Legrand's senior and middle management have enabled it to nurture and maintain a unique corporate culture that inspires and rewards talent and initiative.

Go to Legrand's Executive Committee page

In 1865, Henri Barjaud de Lafond and Léonard Clidasson, wood merchants, built the porcelain factory, which was operated in turn by Ernest Duchatelet (1865), M. Léobon (1871), Paul Lacroix (1876) and Henri Barjaud de Lafond (1877).

In 1897, brothers Jules and François Vultury bought the factory and operated it themselves.

In 1904, the business was taken over by Frédéric Legrand, Charles Alary and Jean Joquel.

In 1911, the company was run by Emile Betoule and Frédéric Legrand.

 
  • tl_theme6
  • 1924
  • 1943
  • Frédéric Legrand

Legrand Senior Management

The experience and commitment of Legrand's senior and middle management have enabled it to nurture and maintain a unique corporate culture that inspires and rewards talent and initiative.

Go to Legrand's Executive Committee page

After a period of joint management with Emile Bétoule, in 1924, the company was managed solely by Frédéric Legrand and took on the name Legrand & Co.

 
  • tl_theme6
  • 1944
  • 1987
  • Jean Verspieren and Edouard Decoster

Legrand Senior Management

The experience and commitment of Legrand's senior and middle management have enabled it to nurture and maintain a unique corporate culture that inspires and rewards talent and initiative.

Go to Legrand's Executive Committee page

In 1944, Jean Verspieren and Edouard Decoster took over the management of Legrand.

After Jean Verspieren's death in 1983, Edouard Decoster continued running the company until 1988.

 
  • tl_theme6
  • 1988
  • 2005
  • François Grappotte

Legrand Senior Management

The experience and commitment of Legrand's senior and middle management have enabled it to nurture and maintain a unique corporate culture that inspires and rewards talent and initiative.

Go to Legrand's Executive Committee page

In 1988, Edouard Decoster handed the chairmanship of Legrand over to François Grappotte, a graduate of the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), who was to be Chairman and CEO until 2006.

 
  • tl_theme6
  • 2006
  • today
  • Gilles Schnepp

Legrand Senior Management

The experience and commitment of Legrand's senior and middle management have enabled it to nurture and maintain a unique corporate culture that inspires and rewards talent and initiative.

Go to Legrand's Executive Committee page

Gilles Schnepp became the Group's Chairman and CEO in 2006.

A graduate of HEC in 1981, Gilles Schnepp joined Legrand in 1989. Having been Deputy CFO and then CFO, he became Vice Chairman and COO in 2004.

In 2006, he succeeded François Grappotte as Chairman and CEO.