For over 145 years of doing business with compassion, B.Grimm is now a multi-business corporation active in the fields of energy, industrial, healthcare, lifestyle, transport and real estate, and has been the oldest infrastructure and healthcare company in Thailand.
The B.Grimm story began in Bangkok in 1878 when German pharmacist Bernhard Grimm and his Austrian partner, Erwin Mueller, started a chemist’s shop, the Siam Dispensary, on the Oriental Hotel Avenue off Bangkok’s New Road. The shop, one of the earliest European modern pharmacies in the country, prospered and it was soon appointed official “Court Pharmacy” to the Thai royal family. During this time, the company joined with the Snidvongse family to build Southeast Asia’s largest infrastructure project, the 1,500 kilometres Rangsit irrigation canals.
Something for everyone
In 1903, after King Chulalongkorn returned from his grand tour in Europe, he began putting in place measures to modernize the country to bring it more in line with European nations. Adolf Link was hired as a manager to help expand the growing business. A young pharmacist from Luebeck, the ambitious, visionary Link was in the right place at the right time to set the company on its future course.
Restart, the Great Depression and War
Following the outbreak of World War I, Adolf Link, as a German national, had all his assets seized on orders of the British government and was sent with his wife, Erna, and two children, Herbert and Gerhard, to concentration camps in India. The Links had much credibility in Thailand and they knew the Thais hadn’t taken away their assets on their initiative.
Therefore, they came home after the war ended in 1920 and settled back into life in Bangkok. In 1928, the strong relationship between B.Grimm and the Thai royal family was once again demonstrated when HRH Prince Bhanurangrsi built on his property the new premises for the company at Wang Burapha and Their Majesties King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambhai Barni presided over the opening of the new offices.
In 1939, after the outbreak of World War II, Adolf Link moved back to Germany to take care of the store in Hamburg and was appointed Thailand’s honorary consul in Hamburg.
Adolf Link reopened the company in Thailand in 1949 and assigned Herbert Link to take charge of the store while brother and partner Gerhard remained in Germany to help expand the B.Grimm name in Europe. In 1953, Gerhard Link was also appointed Thailand’s honorary consul and later its consul general in Hamburg.
Over the next decade, the brothers expanded the business so that by 1964 it included divisions dealing with engineering and equipment for healthcare, power generation, telecommunications, air conditioning and mechanical engineering. In 1967, HRH the Princess Mother graciously opened the company’s new office and warehouse on New Petchaburi Road.
In 1975, Herbert’s wife, Alma, was bestowed the title of Khunying by HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej in recognition of her tireless work for various charitable foundations. She was the first foreign woman to receive such an honour.
Becoming Industrialist and Joint Venture Partners
In 1987, with Dr. Gerhard’s son Harald at the helm, B.Grimm expanded further into power generation, manufacturing and real estate, and also forged joint ventures with some of the world’s largest corporations. Harald Link had joined his uncle Herbert in Thailand in 1978 to help manage the growing business.
“I arrived here at a time before globalization was changing the world. The Infrastructure in Thailand was also changing, which allowed the company to expand more into the manufacturing and infrastructure side. We also established many joint ventures with companies for which we were acting as distributors such as Carrier, Siemens, Merck, Zeiss, Maquet, KSB, Urgo, MBM, and Monika, three-wheeler manufacturing.” said Link. In 1992, the company built new factories and work also began on another new head office. The building was named after Dr Gerhard Link who passed away in 1995. Soon afterwards, B.Grimm expanded into power generation, bio-diesel production and the lifestyle industry.
Caroline Link, Harald’s daughter, joined B.Grimm in 2008 to help her father manage the family business with an enthusiasm to drive the company to be one of the top global corporations. She has been developing new company businesses as well as implementing the innovation culture to prepare B.Grimm for the digitalisation and globalisation future. Continuing the B.Grimm’s spirit of “Doing Business with Compassion for the Development of Civilization in Harmony with Nature.”