In 1908, Charles Geisen, a building materials trader, moved on to bigger things by setting up “Usines Alsaciennes d’Émulsions” in Strasbourg, France. The company specialised in the development and production of waterproofing liquids and paste made from natural asphalt and coal tar pitch.
Charles Geisen discovers a material that is impermeable yet flexible and easy to apply : canvas dipped in hot bitumen. As the finished product resembles the skin of an elephant, it is called the “MAMMOUTH“waterproofing membrane. Some installations built with this product have not been touched since, and some of them are more than 80 years old!
The business moves to Switzerland when World War I breaks out. A company is set up in Zurich.
SOPREMA installs its first bituminous membrane on the Asian continent, to waterproof the Majestic Hotel’s roof, an historic and luxury hotel located in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.
Charles GEISEN’s son, Pierre GEISEN takes over the management of the company. At the same time, Pierre improves the “Mammouth“ membrane by covering it with a fine sheet of aluminium to protect it from temperature variations, the effects of the weather and ultraviolet rays, and thereby increasing its lifespan.
As World War II breaks out, the company is once again forced to leave its base. This time, it moves to Avignon, where Pierre GEISEN sets up a new company called SOPREMA, “Société des Produits et Revêtements d’Etanchéité Mammouth”.
SOPREMA launches its first synthetic waterproofing product line, FLAGON. Through the founding of its subsidiary FLAG in Italy, SOPREMA’s expertise in synthetic membranes starts with the manufacturing of PVC membranes for agriculture works and tunnel waterproofing.
The laboratory in Strasbourg develops SOPRALENE, the first range of waterproofing products using SBS elastomer bitumen reinforced with unwoven polyester. Exports grow across the world and sales subsidiaries are set up, first in Europe and then in North America.
Growing demand for airtightness in Canadian buildings creates an opportunity for SOPREMA to take part in the development of building envelope products. Working with the National Research Council, SOPREMA develop an air/vapour barrier product line.
SOPREMA introduces parking-deck and foundation waterproofing products.
SOPREMA introduces a green terrace roof system called SOPRANATURE. The concept slows down rainwater runoff and improves the thermal and acoustic insulation of buildings.
Pierre GEISEN hands the management of the company over to his grandson, Pierre-Etienne BINDSCHEDLER.
SOPREMA’s subsidiary FLAG perfected its manufacturing process to extrude TPO into waterproofing membranes.
SOPREMA introduces RESISTO product line for the residential market. RESISTO specializes in the manufacturing of light construction material products for waterproofing, insulation and soundproofing.
SOPREMA releases a range of liquid waterproofing systems using bitumen/polyurethane resin called ALSAN.
SOPREMA presents its latest innovation in the filed of SBS modified bitumen membranes : the MACADEN, the first device for automated installation of waterproofing sheet membranes on bridges and parking lots. The new device allows the installation of 200 m2 of membranes in one operation.
Growing demand for construction materials in China creates an opportunity for SOPREMA to introduce its products to the Chinese market.
Sales development in China leads SOPREMA to the opening of its first office in the region, in Beijing. Later, in 2008, SOPREMA opened Shanghai office.
SOPREMA acquires the Italian company FLAG, worldwide specialist of synthetic waterproofing.
SOPREMA opens a sales office in Australia.
SOPREMA purchases EFISOL. Established in 1987, French-leader in manufacture of insulation products made of polyurethane foam or expanded minerals.
SOPREMA opens a sales office in Singapore.
SOPREMA acquires the entirety of CONVOY, a North American distributor of building and roofing materials.
Integration of the TEXSA waterproofing, insulation and geotextile activity.
Acquisition of the TOPOX extruded polystyrene activity.
SOPREMA continues its expansion in China with the opening of several sales offices : Zhengzhou, Guangzhou and Chongqing.
SOPREMA opens a sales office in Hong Kong and in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
SOPREMA acquires CHEM LINK, a manufacturer of polymers, BENOLEC, a manufacturer of cellulosic products and PAVATEX, manufacturer of wooden fibre insulation.
Following the opening of several sales offices in China (Wuhan, Xi’an, Hangzhou & Shenyang), SOPREMA opens its first manufacturing facility in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. This first investment phase also includes a technical training center and a research centre.