Jotun has been a leading manufacturer of paint, coatings and powder coatings for more than 90 years.
1920: The beginning
Jotun's founder, Odd Gleditsch sr., opens a combined colour/ship supply store in Sandefjord. It was a good time for the whaling industry, and Gleditsch sr. soon worked his way into the business of supplier to the whaling fleets in Sandefjord, Tønsberg, and Larvik.
Odd Gleditsch sr. played a very special role in the development of Jotun. His personality had an extraordinary influence on the company, on employees, among customers, and on everyone with whom he came in contact.
He had a particular gift for creating enthusiasm among employees at all levels. He once said; "If I have a secret weapon, it is my ability to find able employees and to listen, and listen carefully, to their thoughts, suggestions and ideas." Many people would say that it was this very way of thinking that created the able employees.
1926: The start of Jotun Chemical Factory
As sales to the whaling fleet increased, Gleditsch sr. saw the potential in manufacturing the paint himself. On 12th March 1926, Gleditsch sr. invited shareholders to subscribe to the new company. With a share capital of NOK 60 000, Jotun Kemiske Fabrik A/S was founded, with Odd Gleditsch sr. as managing director.
1931: First success
Gleditsch sr. buys the patent rights to Arcanol, which is an innovation in protective marine coatings. This grey-coloured red lead had particurlary good rust-inhibiting properties and became Jotun's first major success.
1939: Security in time of crisis
As one of the first companies in Norway Jotun introduces a pension fund for all of its employees.
1948: Launch of Drygolin
Fleischer's Chemical Factories launch Drygolin, an exterior paint. To this day, Drygolin is still one of Jotun's strongest brands.
1951: Investing in research
A new and larger factory is built in Sandefjord. The entire top floor of the building was allocated to research and development (R&D), and five new chemists were hired. Competitors thought this was madness, but Gleditsch justified it: "Our future success depends on an investment in research and development". Today, Jotun has one of the largest private R&D centres in Norway.
1953: Commercial breakthrough with Fenom
Fenom, a matt thixotropic interior paint based on alkyd resin, was launched and proved a major success, enabling Jotun to expand in the retail market. In many ways this product was a breakthrough for the company on account of its application features, adhesion and attractive finish. It enabled consumers to achieve almost professional results themselves.
1956: Trebitt is launched
- and creates fashion for stained houses. Up until 1969 Trebitt came as a "two component"-product, with the tinting colour in a separate box.
1962: The Penguin leaves home
The internationalisation begins with the establishment of a factory in Libya, initiated by Odd Gleditsch jr. Valuable experience was gained in the establishing and running of an international company, and this became the platform for Jotun's later development as a major paints manufacturer in the Middle East and South East Asia.
1968: Jotun opens its first factory in the Far East
The factory in Thailand is a success from the start, partly thanks to the experiences made in Libya.
1968: Jotun starts producing powder coatings
- at Corro-Coat in Larvik, Norway.
1970: Odd Gleditsch jr becomes Chairman
Odd Gleditsch jr. succeeds his father as Chairman of the Board. He took over as CEO in 1968.
1970: Jotun buys Henry Clark & sons
- gaining access to the international shipping industry. This provided the necessary foundation for Jotun to develop further and become one of the largest marine coatings manufacturers in the world.
1972: The merger
The market became increasingly difficult throughout the 1960's, and in 1972 Jotun merges with Alf Bjercke, Fleischer and Denofa Lilleborg.
1973: Launch of Demidekk decking stain
Based on new technology, this product becomes a great success.
1975: First factory in the Middle East opens in Dubai
The Dubai factory has played a major role in the internationalisation of Jotun.
1975: Seamaster - an innovation
This Jotun invention represented a great innovation in antifouling protection. It enabled ships to sail for four years between dry-dockings. Although Seamaster was replaced by self-polishing antifouling after a few years, it was an important invention to prove Jotun’s ability to be innovative, and to get noticed by the international shipping industry.
1976: Jotun Multicolor is born
The launch of Jotun Multicolor is a revolution for both consumers and retailers. This automatic colour tinting machine enabled retailers to mix colours in the shops, and gives customers thousands of colour possibilities.
1976: Disaster - fire at the paint factory in Sandefjord
Six people are killed and 11 are injured. The incident almost broke the new Jotun. The company's research and development activities were severely affected, and the majority of the Group's total production capacity disappeared.
1978: First powder coatings factory outside Norway
Corro-Coat Thailand opens, and became Jotun's first powder coating factory outside Norway.
Early 1980s: Launch of Baltoflake
Baltoflake is an extremely tough glass flake reinforced polyester coating ideal for splash zones and other exposed areas in harsh environments.
1983: Lord and Lady
Launch of Lord and Lady decorative interior paints. In 1994, Lord discontinued, while Lady is still one of Jotun's strongest brands.
Launch of Jotashield in South East Asia. Jotashield is Jotun's most comprehensive range of decorative paints.
1985: Innovative approach to corrosion protection
Launch of the first Jotamastic; Jotun's range of repair- and maintenance epoxy coatings for a wide range of usage situations.
1994: Factory in China
Jotun opens its first factory in China - in Guangzhou.
1996: Jotun Indonesia opens
This factory is the first to produce both liquid paints and powder coatings.
1998: Health, Safety and the Environment
Jotun's international HSE (health, safety, environment) standard is introduced at all production facilities.
2000: Third generation Gleditsch
Odd Gleditsch d.y. takes over as Chairman of the Board.
2000: The future of antifouling
SeaQuantum, antifouling without tin, comes on the market. The world's most advanced TBT-free polishing antifouling
2003: Jotacote Universal
Launch of Jotun's first universal epoxy coating for marine newbuildings - for use in all positions on a vessel for shipyards with focus on high efficiency and throughput.
2008: The world's most health-friendly paint
SENS is introduced to the market, developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association.
2008: Factory in India
First factory in India is inaugurated in Pune.
2010: Innovation in Powder Coatings
Jotun launches powder coatings for use on MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard).
2011: Jotaguard 600 series
Launch of a range of epoxy coatings especially engineered for cargo hold protection for bulkers and tankers.
2012: Further expansion in Norway
New production facility opens in Sandefjord
2020: New headquarters and Research and Development (R&D) centre in Sandefjord, Norway
A united organisation
While Jotun’s regional network of laboratories will continue to play an important role in Jotun’s growth in the years ahead, the construction of the headquarters and R&D centre in Sandefjord will help accelerate exciting new services and product innovation. Jotun’s new well-equipped, state-of-the-art laboratory will serve as a powerful recruiting tool for top chemists. And for the first time in more than 40 years, Jotun’s R&D personnel will share the same building as all other global functions, creating a more unified, flexible and responsive organisation.
The Jotun Group is a matrix organisation with sales of Decorative Paints and Marine, Protective and Powder Coatings organised into seven regions.
The company has 38 production facilities in 23 countries, with 67 companies in 47 countries, and represented in more than 100 countries overall around the world.