From Coal to Plastics

A company rich in tradition that has always been committed to continuity even during times of change - a fitting description of the family-owned Röchling Group. Founded almost 200 years ago in Saarland, it has developed from a coal trading company into a global plastics group. Its particular strength lay in its focus on one particular material: For a long time it was steel, today it is engineering plastics.

Continuity Amid Change

The history of Röchling begins in 1822: That was the year in which Friedrich Ludwig Röchling founded a coal trading company in Völklingen. His four nephews, the "Röchling brothers," begin producing coke and processing industrial iron in 1849. The acquisition of Völklinger Iron Works in 1881, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, marks the beginning of the steel era. But that's not the only material Röchling bets on - in 1920, it acquires its first plastics company, making it a trailblazer in plastics processing.

The acquisition of Rheinmetall Berlin AG, supplier of the newly constituted German Army, in 1955 is another step toward diversification and away from dependence on steel. In 1978, Röchling finally leaves the mining industry altogether and instead pushes ahead with greater diversification into various business areas outside of materials trading during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Company does not lose sight of plastics, though, and expands its product range here through acquisitions - such as in automotive plastics for example. At the end of the millennium, it then adopts a fundamental change in strategy: Röchling focuses on its core expertise in plastics and sells all other holdings. Along with the restructuring, the Company intensifies the internationalization of the plastics group in Eastern Europe, America, and Asia, and taps into new markets, particularly in medical technology.

A Century of Competence in Plastics

1920 - Acquisition of Holzveredelung GmbH in Berlin with the patent for the laminated compressed wood Lignostone®

1935 - The Company relocates to its current site in Haren, Germany

1964 - Development of the thermoplastic Polystone®

1975 - Development of the glass fiber reinforced plastic Durostone®

1980 - Takeover of the Sustaplast Group

1981 - First subsidiary in the US is founded

1986 - Entry into automotive plastics through acquisition of the Seeber Group in South Tyrol, Italy

1987 - First production site in the US is established

1991 - First Asian subsidiary founded in Singapore

2002 - First production site in China is established

2007 - Production in India begins

2008 - First medical technology company acquired

2012 - Production site in Brazil is established

2015 - New site in Mexico

2016 - Start of joint venture in Japan