Elrad International: a Hidden Champion Wishes to Regulate the World

One of the winners of the 2014 Best Foreign Investment Award was electronic components developer and producer Elrad International. Its key products are electronic regulators for various applications. Elrad Intenrational is owned by the Swiss Kona corporation and provides components mostly for home appliances, power tools and automotive industry.

Back in Yugoslavia the majority of households in the federation could receive TV signals thanks to aerial antennas made by Elrad, a small company from  theSlovenian town of Gornja Radgona, near the Austrian border. In 1996 the company was re-established as Elrad International, its new focus was the production of electronic components, specializing in electronic regulators. What followed was rapid development. In 2004 Elrad opened new production facilities in Serbia and few years later – in 2007 – in Dongguan, China.

The company is now controlled by Swiss Kona International.  It develops and produces components for various industries, mostly home appliances, power tools and automotive. The Elrad International group employs around 1.000 people in three factories. The group's key customers include Bosch, Miele, Metabo, Husquarna, Stihl and Panasonic. The headquarters of the group remain in Gornja Radgona, where Elrad is also keeping the development and manufacture of its most high end products. The latest investment was a new production line for robotic lawn mower components. This was also the main reason why SPIRIT Slovenia - Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism – recognized Elrad International as one of the best foreign direct investments in 2014. The company's Slovenian arm employs 330 people. Its 2014 sales exceeded 50 million euros.

The latest title of Best Foreign Direct Investment is but one of many prestigious awards Elrad has received in recent years. In 2013 Elrad International fought its way into the European Business Awards finals as one of the ten most innovative companies in Europe. It also boasts a number of “Supplier of the Year” awards from companies like Robert Bosch Power Tools Division and Metabo, two of the most established power tool brands.  Elrad's finances are more than sound: the company's growth is not spectacular, yet solid and robust. Sales revenues between 2010 and 2014 increased by 47 percent. Elrad also receives the highest rankings by the credit rating agencies.

Despite its successes Elrad Interational’s name doesn’t appear too often in the press. To the Slovenian general public the company was much better known in the times when an Elrad antenna was on almost every roof in the country. Nowadays the company in much bigger, stronger and – what is most important – much more active in development. One could say that Elrad is a typical hidden champion: shy around the general public and firmly focused on global success in a narrow niche. Elrad’s ambitions are clearly that of a hidden champion. The Company’s vision is to “become the regulator center of the world” and they seem to be firmly on path to fulfilling this ambitious vision.

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