Gear > Manufacturers > Salomon

In 1947 Francois Salomon opened a 50 sq m. workshop in the town of Annecy in the Savoie department of France. The workshop manufactured ski edges. In 1952 Francois’s son Georges developed a machine to automate the production of edges. In 1955 Salomon produced the first safety release toe-piece. By the early 1960s the firm was in a 2000 sq.m. workshop and employed 30 people. By the mid 1960s the turnover was 7.7 million francs per year and Salomon invented the safety release heelpiece. Salomon bindings were used at the World Ski Championships in Portillo in Chile.

Salomon continued to grow by 1975 the turnover was 120 million francs and the firm was making 2 million pairs of bindings per year having passed the 1 million mark in 1972. Salomon was now the world no.1 binding manufacturer. In 1979 Salomon moved into making alpine ski boots. In 1980 the company launched its breakthrough cross-country ski binding system.

The firm went public in 1983, being floated on Lyon’s stock exchange and the company also scored their first alpine boot world cup victory. Salomon also branched out winter sports by acquiring a golf company. In 1990 Salomon launched its first skis, the odd shaped S9000 and scores its first victories in competition in 1993. The firm continues to score victories in international ski competitions. In 1992 the firm moves into the hiking boot market and in the mid 1990s acquires cycle parts manufacturer Mavic. In 1997 Salomon was itself bought by sports good maker Adidas and in the same year launches the snowblade mini-ski, creating a whole new form of snow sports and injuries, the spiral break.

During the late 1990s Salomon sought to recast itself as an “extreme action sports” group. With the launch of the 1080 freestyle ski and the X-Scream and X-Mountain all mountain skis. It also diversified into roller blades and skateboards. However the X-Adventure of Nordic skis were less than successful and the lack of focus meant that the firm’s products fell out of favour with the serious backcountry ski community.

In 2004 Salomon had a turnover of 653 millions € with 9 million € profit (after a restructuring charge of 19 million €) and employed 2,769 people. On the 1st of May 2005 Adidas sold Salomon to the Finnish group Amer sports, owners of Atomic. Amer plans to reduce the number of employees by 400, principally in France with a move to more manufacturing in cheaper, overseas locations such as eastern Europe and China. It hopes this will boost profits by 40 million €.


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