On 4 May 2021 we celebrated our 75 year anniversary and are looking back with pride to a company history full of success.
Thanks to our employees, we were able to grow into the company we are today. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank all of our employees, as well as our long-term customers and partners for their commitment and the valuable and trusting cooperation.
Learn more about our history from small business to global player!
1946 - 2021: RENOLIT is celebrating!
Since our founding on May 4th, 1946, we have evolved from a small company into a global player that takes a leading role in plastics processing worldwide. We have overcome numerous challenges along the way.
The picture shows one of the first RENOLIT buildings from 1947.
Jakob Müller began our success story in Worms in 1946. The entrepreneur owns a leather goods factory that emerged robustly from the Second World War. But production is often halted: Genuine leather is scarce at this time. Jakob Müller sees the potential of using leather substitutes made of PVC as a replacement. He finds a suitable factory in Worms and establishes RENOLIT on May 4th. His entrepreneurial vision is evident: Right from the start, he uses PVC not only for leather substitutes, but also for flooring, films and much more. In just a few years, the man of action and visionary builds up an international company. When Jakob Müller dies in 1976, Team RENOLIT already has several hundred employees and achieves profits in the millions
Where did the name RENOLIT originate? And what does it mean?
There isn’t much information from the past, but we do know: "LIT" comes from IGelit. This basic material, known today as PVC, was used to manufacture our products from the very beginning. But opinions are divided about the name "RENO". One theory is that it stands for the river Rhine, in Latin Rhenus, which runs along the city of Worms. But there is another explanation that is just as compelling: "RENO" stands for a leather substitute that was known as "Reno" at the time of our founding.
When Jakob Müller founded RENOLIT in 1946, he focused on Worms and the surrounding area, but by 1950 we had already grown into an international company: The first exports were made to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and South America. The great wave of expansion began in 1956 with the first plant in Spain. Production Sites followed in the USA, the rest of Europe and China. We are now globally active with more than 30 locations in some 20 countries.
Since our company was founded, we have manufactured a wide range of plastic films and products. These products make day-to-day life easier and more pleasant; they are used in medicine, to protect facades and waters, and much more.
Our products are contemporary witnesses to the events of the past 75 years. For example, our furniture films date from the time of the German economic miracle, the booming years for home furnishing and design.
Twelve employees and three directors: That´s how it started in 1946.
Team RENOLIT has not stopped growing since. Today, RENOLIT has almost 5000 employees, with more than half of them outside of Germany.
It is hard to imagine nowadays that in the beginning, films were rolled out on simple rolling mills and delivered in sheet form. The first calander was acquired in 1950 and made everything easier and faster.
Since then, calandering has been the centerpiece of production at many of our sites, and of course always adapted to the latest technology.
Led by our curiosity, for 75 years we have developed our products to meet the demands and needs of the time and our customers. Therefore our portfolio is constantly being updated, too. Initially, rubber shoe soles were also part of our product range, along with material for hula hoops and inflatable swimming toys.
Today it’s unimaginable: In the early days of RENOLIT, employees mixed the raw materials by hand in large kettles before the mixture could be further processed at the rollers. Those times are long gone, of course. Our production facilities have been and are constantly being modernized and expanded, kept as state-of-the-art technology and expanded to include new calanders, extrusion lines, warehouses or clean rooms.
Just one year after our foundation and the start of production in 1946, we reached our first million in sales, at that time still in Reichsmarks (around 3.2 million euros in today's purchasing power). After the currency reform and introduction of the D-Mark in 1948, the German economy began to boom and so too did business at RENOLIT. We ended our first decade with record revenues of 22 million D-Marks. In 2002, when euros first appeared on the balance sheet, our sales totaled over 900 million euros. Today, our sales volume reaches more than one billion worldwide.
We set up our first exhibition booth as early as 1949 at a small regional trade fair in Worms with the delightful name "Business is booming in Germany's sweet wine country". In the following years, we began making international appearances and always made the design of our booths a high priority.
One particular highlight was our booth at the EuroShop exhibition in Düsseldorf in 2011. The designers of this booth took their inspiration from the children's book "Alice Through the Looking Glass". We even received a distinction for that appearance: the Red Dot Award.
And one more anniversary: We have been a training company for 70 years. In 1951, the first apprentice started in Worms with a commercial apprenticeship; apprentice plastics moulders joined later. Today, by the way, the profession is called process engineer for plastics and rubber technology and it is still one of our technical apprenticeships.
In 2016, we opened our training workshop in Worms for apprentices at our sites; it specifically aims to equip trainees with important skills and practical work experience.
In 1960, the fleet at the Worms site included two Volkswagens, an Opel Kapitän, a Mercedes 220 SE and a Borgward Isabella. Ultra-modern then, nostalgic driving pleasure today.
Cars also play an important role in our product range – and they have for some 50 years. We started with composite materials for automotive construction. We then developed self-adhesive automotive exterior films and later our special window films to make convertibles safer.
In the 60s, furniture made of chipboard appeared on the market. Wrapped in film, they triggered a huge trend. We started producing furniture films in 1963. First in white, then in a wood look, and finally as 3D films, which can be applied around corners and curves without creasing. Our machines have not stopped making furniture films since then. The furniture from the early days is now enjoying a cult status.
The internal company newspaper KALANDERSTRASSE, distributed in 1969, was the first to cover topics of interest for colleagues at the Worms headquarters. Almost 40 years later, RENOLIT was active worldwide and the employee newspaper was multilingual. The new magazine, called RENOLIT News, was a source of information for employees at all of the sites. In 2019, the employee magazine was renamed ONE. It is published in seven languages; along with addressing current topics and projects in the Group, it also presents profiles of employees.
Focus on tomorrow – from small business to global player
RENOLIT was founded on 4th May 1946 in Worms. At the time, the “RENOLIT-Werke-Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung” produced PVC sheets with seven employees. Its financial strength allowed investments, such as in the first calendar for continuous production in 1950. With shops in Holland and a plant in Spain, RENOLIT ventured abroad early on in its history. Thanks to its own production and investments, as well as consistent research and development, today RENOLIT has an outstanding reputation around the world as a specialist for first-class plastic films and other plastic products.
Ground breaking ceremony in Worms
After founding the RENOLIT Werke GmbH in Worms in 1946, the first calendar line for the industrial production of padded foils and films for producing office organisational equipment and flooring was set up in 1950. Integration of the engineering and production of machines and facilities for plastic processing began with the takeover of Paul Kiefel GmbH, Freilassing. The ground breaking ceremony for the current main plant in Worms took place in 1956 (reference 1958).
This was soon followed by the founding of RENOLIT Hispania, the first foreign subsidiary in Estella, Spain. The production of films for furniture surfaces started in Europe in 1963. This was followed in 1977 by the production of self-adhesive films, and films for window-frame profiles in 1981. The manufacture of 3D furniture foils started in 1988.
Across the Atlantic
The acquisition of SOLVAY for the manufacture of CAST-PP films in La Porte in 1998 resulted in our first production site in the USA. In June 1998 the operational part of RENOLIT was divided off and the operational business continued under the name “RENOLIT Werke GmbH”. The company was changed from a limited company (“GmbH”) to a public limited company (“AG”) on 1st January 2003. In 1999, the “Pegulan” film division located in Frankenthal was taken over by Tarkett Sommer.
China, Spain and Eastern Europe
In 2003, RENOLIT Werke GmbH was transformed into three independent companies: RENOLIT AG, RKW AG and Kiefel GmbH. The holding company was JM Holding GmbH & Co. KGaA. Following the takeover of the SOLVAY Industrial Foils Business foil division of SOLVAY S.A in 2006, a film company was acquired in China in the same year. RENOLIT Hispania, S.A. officially entered into operation in 2008. The years 2008/2009 followed with further incorporations of sales entities in Moscow, Russia, in Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Italy and Istanbul
In 2010 RENOLIT took over the Italian film manufacturer, Eurogloss. In 2011, RENOLIT became a European Company (SE). The RENOLIT Istanbul sales company was established in the same year. The takeover of the “Medical Film Division” of AUSTAR PMC, China took place in 2012.
Major global projects
RENOLIT Chile SpA opened its doors in Chile in May 2018. The investment of 8.5 million euros opened up new markets throughout South America. RENOLIT has invested a total of 20.2 million euros in the La Porte, USA site in order to meet the strong demand of the American market. Another milestone was the new PET plant located in Munich with an investment of 12 million euros. PET-based laminates open up new perspectives in furniture front design. A further 7.5 million euros was invested in the Thansau site. The new BS10 extrusion line to expand the capacity of RENOLIT MEDICAL was commissioned in April 2019.
As part of the reorganisation of the ownership structure, the Fischer and Lang/Helms families took over 100% of the shares in JM Holding and therefore of RENOLIT SE in 2019. RKW SE split off in tandem and was taken over by the Müller and de Alvear families.