Action / Milestones

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26. April 1921  

Establishing a simple company for the purpose of manufacturing and selling precision mechanical-optical instruments, especially surveying instruments & exploitation Wild's inventions

Name of he company:
Heinrich Wild, Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Optik, Heerbrugg

Contract between :

Heinrich Wild 

Dr. Robert Helbling

Jacob Schmidheiny



Construction of the first factory building in Heerbrugg (CH)
Purchase of a production building in Lustenau (A)
1921 Baugesuch Wild grossjpg

1.Juli 1922

Takeover of the surveying office Dr.Robert Helbling


10. Juli1923

Foundation of an AG by Dr. Robert Helbling & Jacob Schmidheiny
Verkaufs-Aktiengesellschaft Heinrich Wild's geodätische Instrument
Purpose oft the V.A.G:
Funding the company „Heinrich Wild“

Creating self-employed Verkaufsorganisation
and ev. Takeover oft he „Vermessungsbüro Helbling“



Heinrich Wild participates with 100’00.- an der V.A.G.


Ernst Schmidheiny participates with A loan of 100‘000.- to the V.A.G.


reorganization oft he workshop:
The workshop remains the property of H.Wild and is transferred to V.A.G. leased.
H.Wild becomes technical delegate of the board of directors

A operation manager is appointed to relieve H.Wild (Wüthrich)


Reorganization of the V.A.G with the following Departments:
a) Design office & Control of finished products (H.Wild)
b) Workshop: Heerbrugg, Lustenau & Dividing department (Wüthrich)
c) Administration & Sales (Head Kaufmann)
d) Surveying office (Dr.R.Helbling)


Entry of Albert Schmidheini as a commercial Delegate and member of the Board of Directors


Purchase of a factory building in Rebstein and merging of all optics departments at the Rebstein plant

1.April 1926

Redevelopment of the V.A.G.
Dissolution of the purchase & Lease agreement with workshop and takeover Of the workshop Heinrich Wild from V.A.G.
Depreciation of 990,000 CHF share capital


new Logo



Foundation of  Wild Heerbrugg AG



50 year anniversary /  new Logo



Cooperation  Wild Heerbrugg AG  and  Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH



Dec. 10. 1984

new Logo

Joint-venture with Magnovox (Wild/Magnavox WM101)
(Magnavox was an electronics company based in Torrance, California, and the GPS "pioneer")



Acquisition of Leitz Wetzlar (including Leica Camera business)


1. January 1987

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH and Wild Heerbrugg AG merge to form the  Wild Leitz  group


13.May 1988

takeover of   Kern & Co. AG, Aarau (see  Milestones of Kern & Co. Aarau  here)

founding oft the “Studiensammlung At the City Mueeum SCHLÖSSLI in AARAU

 Kern Logo Studiensammlung kleinjpg 

1. January 1989

Changing the name from  Wild Heerbrugg AG to  Wild Leitz AG


16. August 1989

First information about the merger with Cambridge Instrument


2. April 1990

The merger of Wild Leitz Holding AG with the Cambridge Instrument Company plc creates the new  Leica Holding B.V. group


at this point my overview of  Wild Heerbrugg  is ending. More information on the  successors will you find below:

The  successors  of  Wild Heerbrugg:


Action /Milestone

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This are the three independent successor of :

Wild Heerbrugg AG, Switzerland

Ernst Leitz GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany

Kern & Co.
AG, Aarau, Switzerland

1. April 1998

The mechanical engineering facilities in Heerbrugg become an independent company, named Polymeca AG


3.September 1998

Investcorp, the London-based international investment group, acquires Leica Geosystems  from the Dutch-based Lancet Investments B.V., Rijswijk


12. Juli 2000

Going public / Börsengang Leica Geosystems Holding AG
IPO of Leica Geosystems (LGSN) on Swiss Stock Exchange


13. July 2001

Leica Geosystems and the German company Berliner Glas KG Herbert Kubatz GmbH & Co announced on today that they have reached an agreement that Berliner Glas KG will acquire a majority of the shares of  SwissOptic AG, today a 100% daughter company of Leica Geosystems.
Since April 1, 2001, Berliner Glas KGaA has taken over 75% of SwissOptic AG's share capital.


19. Feb. 2001

Acquisition of Cyra Technologies Inc., San Ramon, CA, USA


27. April 2001

Acquisition of ERDAS, Inc., Atlanta, GA, USA


27. April 2001

Acquisition of remaining 50% of LH Systems, San Diego, CA, USA


25. July 2001

Acquisition of Laser Alignment, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, USA


1. April 2002

The former business unit “Defense & Special Projects ” in Heerbrugg will become an independent daughter company of Leica Geosystems AG as of 1 st April 2002 , named Leica Vectronix AG

3.Feb 2003: acquisition of Leica Vectronix AG from the French high-technology defense and communications group  SAGEM 


3. Feb. 2003

Escatec, a Swiss owned and Malaysia based contract manufacturer for electronic and mechatronic products, will acquire a 75% interest in Wiltronic AG and Leica Geosystems will maintain a minority investment of 25%.


8. Dez. 2003

Acquisition of Tritronics Pty in Brisbane, Australia



Divestment of remaining 25% interest in Swissoptics and Escatec (Wiltronics)


5 July 2005

Leica Geosystems Expands Headquarters for the Americas and acquires Terramatics Systems Inc.

Heerbrugg, Switzerland, July 5, 2005 – Leica Geosystems (SWX: LGSN), the world leader in spatial information technologies, expands its North American headquarters in metropolitan Atlanta. At the same time, Leica Geosystems announces the acquisition of Terramatics Inc., active in the inertial positioning industry. The acquisition further strengthens the expertise of Leica Geosystems’ Geospatial Imaging division.

Leica Geosystems will occupy a 100,000 square foot facility at Technology Park in Norcross, Georgia, USA. Functioning as the Leica Geosystems regional headquarters for the Americas, each of its divisions will be represented, with a special focus on Geospatial Imaging and Surveying & Engineering.

This move will enable Leica Geosystems to further leverage the resources of its operational units and drive its effectiveness in the market. The Atlanta location offers a state-of-the-art demonstration room, enabling the company to showcase all of its technologies and divisions under one roof.

"Leica Geosystems has a strong position in the US and is market leader in spatial information technologies," said Hans Hess, CEO of Leica Geosystems. "Now, we further expand our local presence, supported by a dedicated team that knows the Americas market and its customers very well."

At the same time Leica Geosystems announces it has acquired from Terramatics Systems Inc., Canada (Terramatics) the Intellectual Property relating to inertial positioning (IP) technology and has taken over the key development staff.
No financial details were disclosed.

Terramatics has a proven track record of developing customized GPS Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) that cover specialized terrestrial, marine and airborne applications.
The IP acquired from Terramatics will enhance the core expertise of Leica Geosystems. The technology is immediately applicable to many Leica Geosystems sensor systems that are used in airborne geospatial data acquisition.

"INS coupled with GPS are widely used and are well proven in our airborne sensors ," added Eugen Voit, Corporate Technology Officer of Leica Geosystems. "Integrating Terramatics’ GPS/INS IP into our technology portfolio allows us comprehensive market coverage in the area of high accuracy systems."

Terramatics, located in Calgary, was founded in 1999. Leica Geosystems will maintain an office in Calgary, serving as the Inertial Solutions Group within Leica Geosystems’ Geospatial Imaging Division.


13. June to 18.Nov. 2005

Takover from Hexagon AB, Sweden :

Leica Geosystems Welcomes Clarification of Future Ownership

26 September 2005

Heerbrugg, Switzerland – Today, after the expiration of the initial acceptance period, Hexagon AB published the preliminary interim results of its offer for all outstanding shares of Leica Geosystems. The preliminary results confirm that Hexagon has received acceptances in relation to 1’748’585 shares, representing 71.30 percent of the issued share capital. Leica Geosystems welcomes the fact that the future ownership of the Company will soon be resolved. 

The Board considers that the shareholders of Leica Geosystems will now receive a fair price for their shares. The unaffected share price of Leica Geosystems on 10 June 2005 (the date prior to Hexagon's pre-announcement) was CHF 380. Hexagon's first offer was at CHF 440 per share. The intrinsic value of the revised Hexagon offer on 23 September 2005 was CHF 594, representing significant value accretion for the shareholders of Leica Geosystems. 

The Board of Leica Geosystems believes that Hexagon will be a judicious owner of the Company in the future. „In the course of numerous talks prior to, and after, the launch of the improved offer both companies managed to build up mutual trust and understanding for their respective positions", says Mario Fontana, Chairman of the Board of Leica Geosystems Holdings AG. Hexagon has confirmed to representatives of the Board and management, as well as the Works Council and the unions, that Leica Geosystems' strategy, and the further development of the Company, will continue. Furthermore, Hexagon has shown its commitment to Leica Geosystems' current competence center in Heerbrugg, as well as the Company's management and workforce. The Board appreciates Hexagon's long-term perspective and its intention to develop further Leica Geosystems' position as market leader in its industry. 

Leica Geosystems has been subject to a takeover battle since 13 June 2005. The conclusion of this situation will enable the management and employees to continue to focus on the Company's customers and daily business.
In the upcoming weeks both companies will begin to discuss and initiate the steps for a smooth integration. 

Shareholders who have not yet tendered their shares will have the opportunity to tender their shares into the Hexagon offer during the additional acceptance period commencing on 29 September 2005 and ending on 12 October 2005. It should be noted that the Danaher Offer has now lapsed after less than 0.1 percent of shares have been tendered into the Danaher offer. Therefore, if shareholders wish to accept the Hexagon offer, they should tender their shares prior to expiry of that additional acceptance period.


Leica Geosystems Holdings Ltd: Results of the Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting

18 November 2005

At the extraordinary shareholders’ meeting, the shareholders have taken note of the resignation of all current Board members and the shareholders present, including Hexagon AB, have granted discharge to all resigning members of the Board of Directors. Representatives of Hexagon AB have been elected as new members of the Board of Directors: Ola Rollén (CEO of Hexagon AB), Håkan Halén (CFO of Hexagon AB) and Urs Brügger (attorney and previous secretary of the Board of Directors). Moreover, Ernst & Young Ltd, Zurich, has been elected as new auditors of Leica Geosystems Holdings Ltd. 

This was the last shareholders’ meeting of Leica Geosystems as publicly held company. Leica Geosystems is now part of the Hexagon Group and the new owner plans to get the remaining shares of Leica Geosystems Holdings Ltd cancelled and, at the same time, to apply for the delisting of the shares at the SWX.




See what the Swiss TV send about this merger:


13.06.2005, Tagesschau, SF 1  (21kb)

Übernahmekampf um Leica Geosystems

Der Vermessungstechnikkonzern Leica Geosystems ist mit einem Übernahmeversuch des schwedischen Hexagon-Konzerns konfrontiert. Für 1,1 Milliarden Franken soll das Heerbrugger Unternehmen die Besitzer wechseln.  Der Leica-Verwaltungsrat lehnte das Angebot ab.

see Video in German



13.06.2005, 10vor10, SF1  (17kb)

Übernahme-Angebot für Leica

Nach der traditionsreichen Schweizer Vermessungsfirma Leica Geosystems greifen jetzt die Schweden. Und zwar die schwedische Firma Hexagon, die selber stark in der Vermessungstechnik ist.

see Video in German



17.06.2005, 10vor10, SF1  (19kb)


Der  Verwaltungsrat von Leica Geosystems will definitv nicht mit dem Schwedischen Hexacon-Konzern fusionieren.

see Video in German at 13:30



26.07.2005, Tagesschau, SF 1  (19kb)

Verlockendes Angebot für Leica Geosystems

Im Übernahmekampf um den Vermessungstechnikkonzern Leica Geosystems gibt es eine überraschende Wende. Der US-Konzern Danaher überbietet das Angebot der schwedischen Hexagon.

see Video in German at 4:11



26.07.2005, 10vor10, SF1  (19kb)

Grosses Interesse an Leica Geosystems

Lawrence Culp, Chef des amerikanischen Mischkonzerns Danaher, will das traditionsreiche Unternehmen Leica Geosystems kaufen.  An der heutigen Pressekonferenz bekräftige Culp, dass Leica Geosystems und Danaher sich perfekt ergänzen. Bis anhin lag eine Offerte der schwedischen Firma Hexagon auf dem Tisch. Doch Culps Gebot liegt rund 14 Prozent höher.

see Video in German



15.08.2005, Tagesschau, SF 1  (21kb)

Hexagon bietet mehr

Die schwedische Hexagon hat ihr Übernahmeangebot für Leica Geosystems überraschend erhöht. Neu will sie 1,44 Mrd. Fr. hinblättern, 31 Prozent mehr als im ersten Angebot versprochen wurde.

see Video in German at 14:19



23.09.2005, Tagesschau, SF 1  (21kb)

Leica wird schwedisch

Die Schweizer Vermessungstechnik-Firma Leica Geosystems ist auf das Kauf-Angebot der schwedischen Hexagon eingegangen.

see Video in German at 15:50


24 May 2006

Leica Geosystems expands further into Machine Automation by Acquisition of Scanlaser

Scanlaser AB, Sweeden and Scanlaser AS, Norway  have a combined turnover of approximately 120 MSEK and over the last years have shown an average growth of about 35 percent per annum. The companies’ results will be consolidated from 1 May 2006 and will immediately contribute to Hexagon’s and Leica Geosystems’ earnings. 

“This acquisition is an important cornerstone of our growth strategy and a commitment to the ongoing development of the machine automation business within Leica Geosystems”, comments Clement Woon, President of the Geosystems Division within Leica Geosystems. “The Scanlaser business model will become a seed for the further expansion of our machine automation distribution in the region”.

The two companies will remain independent and will continue to be managed by their respective management teams who will directly report into the Group Sales Region EMEA within Leica Geosystems. Scanlaser has 36 employees working out of nine locations in Sweden, Norway and Poland.


8 Sept. 2006

Continued Expansion into Construction by Acquisition of Mikrofyn

On 8 September 2006, Hexagon and Leica Geosystems announced the acquisition of Mikrofyn A/S in Denmark. The company is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of machine automation and laser levelling and alignment equipment for the building construction and civil engineering industries. Mikrofyn’s product range consists of a portfolio of automatic and manual machine control systems for excavators, graders, dozers and paving machines, as well as a broad basket of laser rotators, laser receivers and pipe lasers.

”The acquisition of Mikrofyn is part of Hexagon’s growth strategy and commitment to global expansion within machine automation technology. Mikrofyn is the largest European manufacturer of one and two dimensional solutions for construction machine automation and ideally complements Leica Geosystems’ product range of GPS, TPS and laser based machine automation systems that manoeuvre infrastructure machines with increased efficiency and precision. Mikrofyn also complements Leica Geosystems’ existing construction laser product basket and adds a second brand to our portfolio”, says Ola Rollén, CEO and President of Hexagon AB.

Mikrofyn is based in Odense, Denmark, and currently has 70 employees. In the past years the company has shown annual growth rates in the range of 30 per cent. Mikrofyn will be consolidated within Hexagon Measurement Technologies and will immediately contribute to Leica Geosystem’s and Hexagon’s earnings. 

”The company has a long and successful record of cooperation with Scanlaser, which we acquired in May this year. Although Mikrofyn and Scanlaser are set up as independent business units, their combined competency will be applied globally within Leica Geosystems and Hexagon”, says Clement Woon, President of the Geosystems Division within Hexagon Measurement Technologies, to whom the new businesses will report operationally.
“We welcome our new employees and their management team. Their competency and experience is a tremendous asset to our organization and will help to further accelerate our growth in the Construction segment”, continues Woon.

In recent years the world market for machine automation has grown at rates in excess of 25 per cent per annum. Market growth is driven particularly by the need for increased efficiency in infrastructure projects across the world. 

Find more information about Mikrofyn on their website


13 April 2007

Hexagon continues the expansion within machine automation

Hexagon, the parent company of Leica Geosystems, has entered into an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of the French companies  D&P Systems and Topolaser System s.a.s.

D&P Systems develops and supplies multidimensional systems for measuring, planning and machine control for excavators, graders, dozers and pavers. Similar to the recently acquired  Svensk ByggnadsGeodesi AB (SBG), D&P Systems’ main operation is software development. Topolaser’s main operations are distribution of surveying and construction equipment and integration of machine guidance systems in France.

The two companies combined have a turnover of about 5 MEUR, excluding sales of Leica Geosystems products. Sales of D&P Systems and Topolaser have increased by about 20 per cent annually for the last couple of years. The companies will be fully consolidated as of 1 May 2007 and will immediately contribute to Hexagon’s earnings.

“The acquisition of the French companies D&P Systems and Topolaser is a vital piece in Hexagon’s growth strategy and commitment to global expansion within the measurement market segment machine automation. In software development D&P Systems is a valuable complement to SBG, a company that we acquired earlier this year. Topolaser will broaden distribution and service in France with a similar concept to that of Scanlaser”, says Ola Rollén, CEO and President of Hexagon AB.

The two companies combined employ 22 people today. They operate from Le Pecq outside of Paris, Merignac outside of Bordeux and Orleans, France. Combined with a number of corresponding businesses within Leica Geosystems, D&P Systems and Topolaser will constitute the foundation of a machine automation business, similar to the businesses of Scanlaser and Mikrofyn.

”We now plan for further geographical expansion within this rapidly growing market for machine automation”, says Ola Rollén.

In recent years the world market for machine automation has grown at a rate of about 25 per cent per annum and can today be estimated to about 5 500 MSEK. Market growth is driven particularly by the need for increased efficiency of infrastructure machines in the construction, agricultural and mining industries across the world.




10 May 2007

Hexagon acquires leading catalogue distribution company in the US

Hexagon, the parent company of Leica Geosystems, has entered into an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of the American company  Allen Precision Equipment, Inc. (       . Allen Precision is primarily a catalogue company that represents several major suppliers and sells surveying equipment and related supplies to engineers, surveyors, contractors and government agencies.

Allen Precision had a turnover of over US $24 million in 2006 and has shown consistent growth exceeding the USA market growth for several years. The company is based in Duluth, Georgia and employs 41 people.

“The acquisition of Allen Precision is an important step in the overall NAFTA growth strategy in the core surveying and construction markets.
Allen Precisions unique business model complements our current business model of local direct and distributor sales for our customers”, says Ola Rollén, CEO and President of Hexagon AB.

Allen Precision will be consolidated as of 1 May 2007 and will immediately contribute to Hexagon’s earnings

“Allen Precision will operate as a stand-alone company and will continue to operate as a full-service, multi-brand catalogue company. We expect that Allen Precision will continue to be the premier catalogue supplier to NAFTA customers in these key market segments”, says Ola Rollén.


16 May 2007

Hexagon acquires leading construction laser company in France

Hexagon, the parent company of Leica Geosystems, has entered into an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of the French group of companies  GAMFI International (GAMFI group). The GAMFI group is a global leading provider of laser tools and instrumentation that operates under different brands such as  AGL, QBL and AGATEC. Its own research and development and manufacturing sites span from the USA, Europe and China.

The GAMFI group had a consolidated turnover of 32 MEUR in 2006 and has shown consistent growth, especially in the rotation laser business for several years.
The group's head office is in Mesnil le Roi, France. The group employs approximately 350 people.

"The acquisition of the GAMFI group is an important step in the overall growth strategy in the core construction market. The group's worldwide distribution and established portfolio of brands in combination with its state of the art research and development and production capabilities complement our current business model", says Ola Rollén, CEO and President of Hexagon AB.

The GAMFI group will be consolidated as of 1 July 2007 and will immediately contribute to Hexagon's earnings. The deal is conditioned by approval of competition authorities concerned. 

"The companies within the GAMFI group will continue to operate largely as independent companies and will continue to focus on servicing their brands and OEM customers", says Ola Rollén.






08 Oct. 2007

Hexagon to acquire leading GNSS provider NovAtel Inc.

Hexagon AB (STO:HEXA B) and NovAtel Inc (NASDAQ:NGPS) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Hexagon has agreed to acquire all the outstanding shares of NovAtel for USD 50 per share.

NovAtel is a leading provider of precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) components and subsystems. NovAtel develops quality OEM products including receivers, enclosures, antennas and firmware that are integrated into high precision positioning applications worldwide. These applications include surveying, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping, precision agriculture machine guidance, port automation, mining, timing and marine industries. NovAtel's reference receivers are also at the core of national aviation ground networks in the USA, Japan, Europe, China and India.

NovAtel recorded sales of CAD 77.6 million and net income of CAD 21.5 million in 2006. Hexagon expects that NovAtel's organic revenue growth will be approximately 20 per cent per year. NovAtel is based in Calgary, Canada and has about 300 employees worldwide.

Background and reasons for the transaction NovAtel has a long standing partnership with Hexagon's subsidiary, Leica Geosystems, focused on the development of high-precision GNSS technologies. NovAtel has been a core supplier of these technologies to Leica Geosystems since 2002.

The combination of Hexagon and NovAtel will add new applications to the Hexagon product portfolio and give Hexagon access to technologies applicable to new high growth markets.

21 Nov. 2007

Hexagon, the parent company of Leica Geosystems, acquires all outstanding shares in four companies; R&A Rost Vertriebs GmbH, R&A Rost Produktions GmbH, both in Austria, Geopro Kft. in Hungary, and Junglas GmbH in Germany.

The two Rost companies, headquartered in Vienna, are leading distributors and service providers for surveying and construction equipment in Austria. Geopro is a leading distributor for surveying and construction equipment in Hungary based in Budapest. Junglas is a German distributor for construction and machine control equipment located in Münster.

“Both Rost and Geopro are important elements in Hexagon’s global growth strategy. We believe the economies in Central and Eastern Europe to continue to show accelerated growth over the next couple years. These two acquisitions constitute a solid foundation for Hexagon’s market leadership and further expansion in the region”, says Ola Rollén, CEO and President of Hexagon AB.

“The acquisition of Junglas will expand Hexagon’s market presence in the rapidly growing market for machine control in Germany. Junglas will operate under the same business model as Scanlaser, a company that we acquired last year”, says Ola Rollén.

Together Rost, Geopro and Junglas currently employ 40 people. Rost and Junglas will be fully consolidated as of 1 October 2007, and Geopro will be consolidated as of 1 December 2007. All four companies will immediately contribute to Hexagon’s earnings.


Acquisition of:

Comercial e Importadora Wild Ltda, Brazil

Viewserve AB, Sweden

Haselbach Surveying Instruments, USA 

Santiago & Cintra Ibérica S.A., Spain

Surveyors Service Company, USA





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