Creating observations for a better world through science-based and sustainable innovations has always been at the core of Vaisala. In 2019, we continued our work addressing the most pressing environmental and societal challenges of our time.
Climate change is undeniably a key global challenge today, making Vaisala’s science-based innovations ever more relevant. Operating since 1936, we are committed to creating solutions that help tackle many of the most crucial challenges of our time. We do this by providing reliable, accurate, and high-quality means to observe and act on weather and environmental phenomena and their impacts as well as developing more sustainable industrial processes.
Visible outcomes of the changing climate are the increasing extreme weather events, Hurricane Dorian being one key example from the past year. In 2016, the Bahamas decided to invest in a new meteorology network by Vaisala to improve its weather forecasting capabilities. As Dorian struck in September 2019, Vaisala’s solutions aided the island nation in sending out accurate and timely alerts. Thanks to these alerts, thousands of people were able to seek shelter in time.
Vaisala has similar capacity building projects ongoing in Vietnam and soon also in Ethiopia. In October, we signed a new and important contract for a project that will bring better weather services to the Ethiopian people and accelerate local economic growth in important weather-sensitive sectors. The project is estimated to start in 2020 and run for two years.
Through our work, we address also several other global megatrends, such as urbanization, digitalization, well-being and health, as well as resource efficiency and circular economy. Here our industrial measurement business plays a key role. With our industrial solutions, customers gain better visibility into their processes and thus are able to save energy and natural resources, improve quality and productivity, and reduce waste.
In addition to our commitment to the UN Global Compact, we have identified and committed ourselves to the UN Sustainable Development Goals that hold the highest relevancy for Vaisala. Our business is entwined with most of the goals, as the contribution of our products and solutions reaches from incubators at hospitals to optimizing processes, measuring air quality, and enabling safe transportation on the ground, at sea, and in the air. Going forward, we want to strengthen this linkage and work actively to reach the goals. Furthermore, our customers can develop the sustainability of their own operations with the help of our products.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals are also important in our own operations and business practices, where we aim to adhere to the highest standards of sustainability. We monitor and address topics ranging from energy efficiency to the environmental footprint of our products. We are also committed to respecting human rights, promoting diversity and equality, ensuring occupational health and safety, and preventing corruption, both in our own operations and in our global partner network.
2019 was a great year for Vaisala. All business areas and geographic markets performed well and many also above our expectations.
In addition to good organic growth, we saw the first positive results from the acquisitions made in late 2018. Both the French Leosphere, supplying remote wind sensing lidar instruments, and the Finnish K-Patents, a leader in liquid measurements, contributed to our growth and opened up many new business opportunities.
Vaisala has been a pioneer in science-based innovations throughout its history, and we continued on this path in 2019, bringing new products to the market. A key highlight of the year came in January, as we launched the world’s first in situ 3-in-1 biogas measurement instrument for measuring methane, carbon dioxide, and humidity in demanding environments. The launch marked a new market entry for us and expands our expertise into the field of biogas measurements.
In 2019, we also stepped up our efforts in the digital sphere. In August, we added an important piece to our digital puzzle by acquiring the professional business-to-business weather services from the Finnish weather forecast services company Foreca. Going forward, we will focus on developing digital solutions for transportation, renewable energy, lightning, and data-driven operations, supporting customers in making reliable decisions in weather-critical operations.
To ensure the best possible environment for state-of-the-art research and innovation, we have invested into building new premises in connection with our head office in Vantaa, Finland. During the year, the construction work of our new R&D building proceeded well, and we look forward to finalizing the new premises towards the end of 2020.
Throughout our history, Vaisala has been a key link in the chain for a well-functioning and safe society. With the increasing requirements for transparency and thorough understanding of the world’s pressing phenomena, it is becoming more important than ever to base decisions on verifiable, comparable, and accurate data.
At Vaisala, we aim to build upon our position as the global market leader providing the world’s most accurate and reliable measurements. We are committed to keeping up our high investments into research and innovation and working actively with our partners and the scientific community to find new solutions to make our planet safe and sustainable for generations to come.
We would like to sincerely thank our employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders for their valuable contribution and close collaboration in 2019. Already for 83 years, Vaisala has been working towards its mission to create observations for a better world, and we look forward to continuing this journey together with you in the year 2020 and beyond.
Chairman of the Board of DirectorsKjell Forsén
President and CEO