Kohler, over 100 Years And Only Getting Better With Age

In 1920, we introduced the first automatic standby generator, the KOHLER® Automatic Power and Light, to rural America.

A few years later, KOHLER generators powered Admiral Richard Byrd's historic expedition to Antarctica. They helped light the way for Hoover Dam's construction crew and provided radio communications during WWII - even helping rescue a sunken submarine. 

Over a century later, we're still innovating and creating a sustainable future for your power needs.

SDMO headquarter until 2015 in Brest rue de Villeneuve

Where it all began

1966 Creation of SDMO by the MEUNIER family to distribute MWM marine engines.

1969 SDMO moves towards the manufacture of generating sets and phases out the distribution of marine engines.

1970-73 SDMO begins to develop due to growth of poultry farming and food processing in Brittany.

1973 After its regional success, SDMO decides to develop its presence on the French market opening an office in Paris and building its head office and an adjacent plant to accommodate for its growth.

Business Development Accelerates

1974-83 Two sales offices are opened in France to strengthen the national development. SDMO sets up a distribution network in Africa and takes on its first export sales representative. Thanks to considerable success in Libya, SDMO establishes itself in the region and wins an increasing number of contracts in the Middle East and French-speaking Africa. SDMO decides to diversify with a range of low-capacity gensets at 30 kVA.

1984-85 SDMO buys the "AMAN" generating set division from ALSTOM and thus acquires know-how in the field of specific applications (standalone power stations, telecommunications, military, offshore, etc.). During this same period, the Meunier group buys SOREEL, a firm specialized in automatic cabinets, in order to control its "sensitive" products.

New opportunities in France and international expansion

1986 EDF (French national electricity board) launches the EJP (peak saving) system, providing a strong incentive to high and moderate consumers of electricity to buy generating sets in order to produce and sell energy. SDMO develops significantly in France and earns its position as leader thanks to its technical engineering know-how and the superior quality of its after-sales service. This increase in volume allows it to expand to new export markets, particularly in Europe where it sets up a network of distributors.

1989-92 SDMO decides to open subsidiaries in Spain and England, as well as in Singapore to reach the fast-growing Asian markets.

Building a new plant in Brest

1993-96 SDMO decides to strengthen even further its development of exports to anticipate a predicted drop in the French market, which is overly dependent on the EDF tariff policy (peak saving). SDMO dedicates additional resources to its export business and sets up a distributor network in South America.

1996 To support its expansion and the development of its sales and manufacture of standard generating sets, SDMO opens a new plant with a surface area of 15,000 m2, located in the industrial area of Brest (France).

1997-2001 SDMO continues to develop its exports by asserting its position in areas where it is already present (opening subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil and the USA, as well as a sales office in Algiers).

David Kohler, Herbert Kohler & Hervé Prigent visiting the kohler-sdmo factory

Power Shift: SDMO’s Acquisition by KOHLER

2001-2005 SDMO standardises the colour of its generating sets and restructures its range of products. SDMO opens a subsidiary in Belgium and Nigeria. In 2005, MEUNIER Holding sells SDMO to the American KOHLER group. Kohler group already owns and distributes its own range of gensets internationally.

2006-2008 SDMO sets up offices in Dubai, Johannesburg and Moscow. SDMO and Kohler divide the world’s sales regions between them, based on their existing market penetration. The rapidly growing business and increasing demand call for further investment: plans for an extension of the main plant (Kergaradec II) are approved by Kohler.

2009 SDMO invests in new resources to expand its product ranges and offer hybrid energy solutions. Building work begins on the Kergaradec II plant.

The new KD series era

2010-2011 Despite the global economic crisis, SDMO remains on course. Launch of the new range, Rental Compact, which is designed specifically for the rental market. Introduction of biogas engine gensets. Synergy with the Kohler group is strengthened by the inclusion of its engines in the Portable Power and Power Products ranges.

2012 SDMO strengthens its presence in the Middle East and opens an office in Cairo, Egypt. The new Kergaradec II plant opens. SDMO’s main production site now extends over 40,000 m².

2016 A turning point in its history: SDMO is being renamed KOHLER SDMO, a change of positioning and now a manufacturer of its own engines. It is unveiling its new KD Series range, over 700 kVA, fitted with Kohler engines. The company's head office is moving into new premises in the immediate vicinity of its Kergaradec plant.

2021 Brand Transition 2nd step: from KOHLER-SDMO and KOHLER-BES (French Service) to KOHLER.