150 YEARS
OF HISTORY

History of Bergé y Compañía

Background

During the second half of the XIX century, the world of Merchant Navy lived a revolution thanks to two technology innovations: the emergence of the steam engine and the use of iron and steel for the construction of vessels.

Under this context, in 1870, Bergé y Compañía was established.  From these first years some documentary traces exist, both register documents as well as mail and accounting records.

1870 – 1940

First steps

Bilbao, a city founded for and because of the sea, needs a port, its maintenance and make it well known and important. It must be equipped with technicians to maintain its fleet and trade as well as supply the ships that land at it. This is how the history of the city starts.

In this first stage, Bergé y Compañía stands out due to its great activity in the industrial and commercial progress of Bilbao participating, actively, in the development of its port and railway. It also participates in the development of the Chamber of Commerce, being the Chair in some occasions; as well as the drafting of laws, as the Protection of Maritime Industries Act in 1909.

In 1928 Bergé y Compañía opens its first office outside Bilbao, in Santander where it develops and intense activity.

1940 – 1980

Expansion throughout Spain

The Company expands during these years at the main ports in Spain, leading the sector of maritime services and expanding the business areas to towing,  mooring, chartering and the importation of industrial forklifts.

1980 – 2000

Starting diversification

On the 80’s Bergé y Compañia starts its diversification and international expansion. In 1979 it starts its activity in the automobile sector with the import of Toyota forklifts, which follows, in 1987, the distribution of cars of the same brand as well as the eastern european Yugo cars.

1990 Cofiber Financiera S.A is established with the objective of serving and offering financial products to both the importers and retail distributor companies of Bergé y Compañía. Also the insurance broker Bergé y Asociados is established, offering products and services to all economic sectors.

Over the 90s, the Automobile division is consolidated with new trademarks such as Chrysler, Jeep, Hyundai and business areas for maritime and land transport plus vehicle logistics are created.

1992 Bergé y Compañía becomes a holding and in 1995 it amplifies its automobile business through the signing of important agreements with luxury vehicle trademarks such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Ferrari or Maserati.

In 1997 it starts to invest in renewable energy and the Group acquires the ventures Isofotón and Ecolmare.

1999 Bergé y Compañía acquires the Rioja based winery Bodegas Castillo de Cuzcurrita, S.L., where a remodeling and refurbishing project is executed both in the castle and the cellar.

2000 – Today

Internationalisation

With the change of century, important qualitative and quantitative steps are taken within Bergé y Compañía´s automotive division with the incorporation of new brands in Spain such as SsangYong, Subaru, Isuzu, Cadillac, Hummer, Tata Motors, Infiniti, BYD, Mitsubishi plus the internationalisation of its operations. Joint ventures are established with chilean group Sigdo Koopers and  mexican group Clariond, from which SK Bergé rises for the development of car disribution business in Latin America.

These events create the starting point for the development of some of the most important Latin-American markets: Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Colombia. On the other hand, the presence of the group is strengthen in the European market when establishing distribution operations in Portugal and Poland.

2002 Bergé Infraestructuras y Servicios Logisticos S.L. is established to include the different areas of the maritime, port and logistic areas: port operations, vehicle logistics, energy logistics, general logistics and shipping.

2006 Bergé Lift is established, a company dedicated to the distribution of Caterpillar light industrial machinery in Spain. In 2007, Bergé Finance is founded to manage and coordinate all the automobile financial services of Bergé y Compañía, both in Spain and Latin America.

On the other hand, it expands the investment in renewable energies with the creation of Bergé Generación, venture dedicated to the running of photovoltaic solar energy plants. In the same year Compass Transworld Logistics is established, dedicated to render energy logistics under a joint venture with Gamesa, world leader in the manufacturing of wind turbines.

2008 Bergé y Compañía restructures its organization. The next business areas are created: Automobile, Infrastructure and Logistic Services, Solar Energy, Towing, Mooring and Port services, Marine Environment, Financial Services and Energy Generation.

2009 Bergé y Compañía designs its strategy of growth based in three key pillars: strengthen of its international activities, support to alternative mobility initiatives and capitalization of the automobile development both for Spain and Latinamerica.

2015 Bergé Auto founded B4Motion, a Venture + Lab that is born with the aim of becoming a benchmark in the world of mobility, through the development of digital projects.

In 2018 Bergé Auto expands its international presence with the start of activities in Finland. Bergé and GEFCO Spain, a subsidiary of GEFCO, agree to join forces to create the leading company in the finished vehicle logistics market in Spain.

Nowadays Bergé y Compañía focuses its activities on the sectors it leads: the automotive and logistics services. With a team of more than 4,500 people and present in nine countries, the group has two main divisions: Bergé, whose main activities are shipping, port services, industrial and automotive logistics and Bergé Auto, dedicated to distribution of automobiles and the development of mobility projects within the new digital economy.