Vikan – from local to global
Company founded in 1898
Today, Vikan is one of the world's leading producers of professional cleaning implements. Presumably, A. P. Pedersen did not foresee that the company would be so successful when he established it in 1898 under the name of Skive Børstefabrik. A. P. Pedersen was then 29 years old. He came from a family of farmers, but chose an apprenticeship as a brush binder, among other things because he was small and delicately built, which made the hard work of the countryside difficult for him to manage.
Skilled craftsman giving good service
As he only had a modest clientele, A. P. Pedersen started cautiously, with himself as the only employee. However, brush binder Pedersen was a skilled craftsman who provided good service, consequently, he quickly attracted new customers, among them clients of another local brush factory, which had originally been the only one in the market in Skive. As a result, he soon needed more employees at the factory, which for many of the first years was located on Thinggade in Skive.
The factory burned down in 1918
In 1918, disaster struck. The factory burned down and caused A. P. Pedersen major financial losses. In fact so great were these that the survival of the brush factory was threatened. However, with the help of the bank he managed to get through the crisis, the company survived and continued on the path of expansion.
A new generation
In 1933, a new generation took over the company. By then, A. P. Pedersen was 64 years of age, and he felt the time was right to hand over control to his two sons Carl Vilhelm and Gunnar Pedersen. Four years earlier a new factory had been erected in Thinggade. The building was designed by Architect H. Toft Hansen, who, by the way, had been A. P. Pedersen's first apprentice.
From craftsmanship to factory
Despite its name, Skive Børstefabrik (Brush Factory) started as a traditional craft company. However, as early as the 1930s the company began to mechanise a number of work processes, which had originally been carried out entirely by hand.
Denmark's first element building
Gradually space was getting too tight at the brush factory's buildings in Thinggade, and as a result a new 6000 square metre factory was built at Viborgvej 7 in Skive. This building was to become part of Danish building history: it was, in fact, the first time a building of this size was erected using ready-cast concrete elements without the use of bricklayers.
From the 1920s onwards the name Vikan (which is quite simply the Danish for "We Can") began to appear on several of the company's products - but only as a brand. When the new factory on Viborgvej was ready, a logo with the Vikan name was placed on the gable facing the street. For many years thereafter the factory was officially called VIKAN A/S - Skive Børstefabrik. Since 1997, Vikan has been the sole name used.
From the end of the 1950s and the following decades the company was housed at various locations in Skive. Besides the original factory on Thinggade and the factory on Viborgvej, there was also a production unit and warehouse in newly built premises on Jernbanegade. In 1970, all operations were gathered in a new factory at Frisenborgvej in Skive. The factory was later expanded.
As early as the 1930s there were plans to sell the factory's products abroad, but ambitions remained at the planning stage. Actual export activities commenced in the early 1960s and exports really took off in the 1970s.
In 1992, Vikan took over its largest competitor in England, and subsidiaries were also established in Sweden and Germany. Today, exports account for some 90 percent of Vikan's output.
In the 1990s, Vikan embarked upon a process of automation, which is still on going. The first industrial robots were introduced, and since then more have been added. Today, Vikan is a highly modernised and innovative company, and in terms of technology it is among the leaders in the field.
Until 1986, Vikan was a family-owned company with roots going back to the company's founder, A. P. Pedersen. In 1986, most of the shares were sold to E. H. Bodilsen A/S, Glyngøre, and the two investment companies of Dansk Kapitalanlæg A/S and Investor Venture A/S, which together had a majority holding of shares in the company. In 1988, they sold their shares to Bay & Vissing Holding A/S, which was one of Denmark's largest brush producers.
Today, Vikan is a globally focused company, which develops, produces and sells cleaning implements and solutions to a variety of sectors. The overall workforce is some 225 people strong.
Vikan is 90% owned by the Vissing Foundation and the rest is owned by the company CEO Carsten Bo Pedersen. The Vissing Foundation often donates an amount in the millions (DKK) for charitable purposes.