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|Traded as||SIX: SOON|
|Founded||1947 (company), 1985 (holding)|
|Robert F. Spoerry, Chairman|
Beat Hess, Vice-Chairman
Arnd Kaldowski, CEO
|Revenue||CHF 2,645.926 million (2018)|
Number of employees
Sonova Holding AG (Phonak Holding AG before 1 August 2007) is an internationally active Swiss company headquartered in Stäfa that specializes in hearing care solutions (hearing instruments, cochlear implants, wireless communication solutions). It is one of the largest providers in the sector worldwide. The group operates through its core business brands Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Advanced Bionics and AudioNova.
On August 1, 2007 Phonak AG officially changed its name to Sonova Holding AG.
Sonova Group and its brands hold 24% of the global hearing aid market in sales.
The group traces its roots back to the Zurich-based AG für Elektroakustik, which was founded in 1947. Ernst Rihs acquired a majority shareholding in 1965, renaming the company Phonak AG. His two sons, Hans-Ueli and Andy Rihs, also went on to join the firm, along with Beda Diethelm; after Ernst Rihs’ death, the two sons took over his shares while Beda Diethelm became a shareholder with equal rights.
Phonak Holding AG was founded in 1985 as a holding company for the Phonak Group. The company was floated on the SWX Swiss Exchange in 1994 and renamed Sonova Holding AG on 1 August 2007, although this change applied only to the holding company; all the subsidiaries (including Phonak AG) and product names have remained unaffected.
Sonova mainly develops and markets hearing aids, cochlear implants, and wireless communication devices compatible with their hearing devices. As of March 2018, the Sonova Group was present in more than 90 countries and employed 14,242 staff, and had sales of CHF 2,645.9 million the previous year.
The group consists of more than 30 constituent companies. Its research facilities are located in Switzerland, Canada, and the USA, with manufacturing plants in Switzerland, China and Vietnam. Distribution is handled by its in-house wholesale network and independent sales partners. The group also owns retail outlets in selected countries.
In November 2009, Sonova announced the takeover of the Advanced Bionics Corporation, a company based in California which specializes in developing and manufacturing cochlear implants. The purchase was successfully completed in January 2010.
In May 2016, Sonova announced agreement to acquire AudioNova International B.V., one of Europe’s largest hearing aid retailers, and successfully completed the acquisition of AudioNova in September 2016. The combination of AudioNova and Sonova creates one of the broadest hearing aid retail service networks in Europe.
Social engagement and sponsoring
The Phonak Group sponsored the Phonak Cycling Team for seven years between 2000 and 2006, although its involvement in competition cycling and the successes it achieved were somewhat eclipsed by several doping affairs in which top riders from the Phonak Cycling Team were repeatedly implicated. On July 28, 2006, Phonak announced it was discontinuing its sponsorship activities in competition cycling.
In the fall of 2006, the Group’s Phonak AG subsidiary launched the Hear the World Foundation. The Foundation’s aim is to create a world in which each person has the chance of good hearing.
The Foundation became a group-wide initiative of Sonova in October 2012.
Sonova operates through its following core business brands:
Phonak manufactures a wide range of digital hearing aids and integrated wireless communication systems. After the merger of Advanced Bionics into Sonova, Phonak started developing wireless technology for Advanced Bionics cochlear implants; notably the Roger receivers that connect to cochlear implant speech processors. In 2016, Phonak launched their first rechargeable hearing aid device.
Advanced Bionics was founded in 1993 and has been a subsidiary of the Sonova Group since 2009. Advanced Bionics develops cochlear implant technology designed to help children and adults with profound hearing loss receive greater access to sound.
Upon the acquisition by Sonova, Advanced Bionics started integrating Phonak technology into their speech processors, starting with the Naída series. Along with sound processors, the company utilizes Phonak technology for bluetooth streaming, Easycall, and FM systems.
As of 2016, Advanced Bionics' primary competitors were MED-EL and Cochlear Limited in the cochlear implant market, in which those two companies held around 70% of the market; as percent of the market share Advanced Bionics holds less than Cochlear Limited and more than MED-EL.
In November 2010, Advanced Bionics voluntarily recalled a batch of its HiRes 90K implants after at least two pediatric patients - Grace Bagadiong and Breanna Sadler, experienced painful malfunctions that resulted in electric shocks, convulsing, and vomiting. In Sadler v. Advanced Bionics the company was found to have been negligent and forced to pay punitive damages as well as for the medical care needed by the victim of the faulty device, but the company announced it would appeal on the grounds of the punitive damages being too high. Years before two pediatric patients had experienced such drastic device failures, the company had been repeatedly warned of problems with the HiRes90k since 2004. Over 4000 devices were recalled, of which 1000 had failed.
-  Annual Report 2017/2018
- "Bernstein analyzes world hearing aid market | David H. Kirkwood |". Hearing News Watch. 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
-  Annual Report Sonova 2012/2013
-  Media Release 11/09/2009
-  Sonova Media Release 01/04/2010
-  Media Release 03/02/2015
-  Sonova Media Release 04/16/2016
-  Media Release 05/04/2016
-  Media Release 09/15/2016
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