VEKA AG Company History
A global market leader in just 40 years.
Heinrich Laumann takes over VEKAPLAST, a producer of PVC-U roller shutter and building profiles. At that time, the company had just eight employees – now it has a global workforce of more than 5,200, 1,400 of which are at the Group headquarters in Sendenhorst. The company is still, however, run by the family of its founder Heinrich Laumann.
In 1970, VEKAPLAST starts preparing for production of window profiles. The first window system ‘Basis’ quickly becomes a hit. The product range is expanded to include residential and sliding door systems. In 1974, VEKAPLAST acquires a 115,000 m² industrial plot in Sendenhorst on which to build a new extrusion plant.
Extensive demand leads to a programme of continuous expansion. A new plant with a 41,500 m² production floor is constructed in three stages. In 1981, the first mixing station at the Sendenhorst site goes into operation.
International expansion: In 1983, the first subsidiaries are set up in Spain and the USA. They are followed, in 1984, by a subsidiary in France, which quickly becomes no. 1 on the French market. In 1986, VEKA UK starts production in the UK. In 1987, the new VEKA plant in Thonon-les-Bains, France, goes into operation.
The company becomes a limited company with share capital, VEKA GmbH. In 1992, VEKA takes on the legal form of a public limited company, providing the structural prerequisites for further growth on the international markets. The ownership of the shares is retained by the Laumann family. Annual turnover reaches DM 552 million.
VEKA Umwelttechnik GmbH is founded in Behringen in the German state of Thuringia. It becomes Europe’s largest and most modern recycling plant for old windows. PVC-U windows, doors, roller shutters and profile offcuts are completely recycled and subsequently fed back into the profile production cycle without any loss of quality.
Eastern European expansion: In the summer of 1994, the company founds the Polish subsidiary “VEKA Polska”, followed in 1996 by a sales office in Moscow, which is responsible for dealing with all of the former states of the Soviet Union. The Moscow-based subsidiary “VEKA Rus” is founded in 1998, starting production on its three extrusion lines the following year.
Asian expansion: In 1994, VEKA starts a joint venture with a Chinese partner in the People’s Republic of China. It is followed by sites in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India. In order to serve the Indian growth market faster and more flexibly, the company opens new sales offices and warehouses in 2008. These provide VEKA with 25,000 m² of shelf space for storing profiles and accessories.
Heinrich Laumann resigns from the Management Board and takes on the role of Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Hubert Hecker takes over as Chairman of the Management Board of the company, which is still run by the family. The subsidiaries VEKA România S.R.L. (Bucharest), VEKA México (Monterrey) and VEKA do Brasil Ltda. (Florianopolis) are founded. The VEKA Group realises turnover of 517.8 million euros, thus exceeding the DM 1 billion barrier for the very first time.
Hubert Hecker retires. Andreas Hartleif, Board member since 1997 and son-in-law of the founder Heinrich Laumann, becomes Chairman. His fellow Board members comprise his wife Elke Hartleif (HR), Dr Andreas W. Hillebrand (Deputy Chairman/CFO), Dr Werner Schuler (Technology) and Bonifatius Eichwald (Sales and Marketing).
A second recycling line is installed at the VEKA Umwelttechnik plant, thus raising the total annual capacity by 20,000 tonnes to a total of 50,000 tonnes per year. At the same time, activities are extended on a European level – with the acquisition of additional recycling plants in France and the UK.
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Heinrich Laumann decides to resign his last official post as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of VEKA AG. Nevertheless, he remains closely involved in the company which he himself founded and spent his life developing into a global market leader.
At the end of the year, VEKA SOFTLINE 82 becomes available – the first standard system with an installation depth of 82 mm. The new system, which includes nearly 40 geometric shapes, is one of the most complete profile systems on the market, providing the greatest freedom in design possible for window manufacturers.
The British subsidiary VEKA plc acquires one of the largest competitors in the UK market. The company, Bowater Building Products Ltd, based in Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham, becomes part of the worldwide VEKA Group. With the consolidation of these two companies, one of the largest suppliers of window and door systems in the UK market comes into existence.
VEKA Polska celebrates its 20th anniversary. A market leader in Poland, the company has received several awards, both for its excellent product quality and as a trusted consumer brand. A strategically important step for the VEKA Group is the acquisition of GEALAN. Revenue reaches 1 billion euros. The group is now made up of 36 subsidiaries with approximately 5,000 employees across three continents.
Sales by the VEKA Group, still a family-run company, are stable at over €1 billion. Worldwide, the Group employs a workforce of 5,600 people on 4 continents. VEKA takes over the majority of shares in the Indian market leader NCL Wintech, thus further expanding its position in one of the most important growth markets in Asia.