The history of Evonik basically goes back to six time-honored chemical companies that were founded in Germany between 1847 and 1938: Goldschmidt, Degussa, Stockhausen, Röhm, SKW Trostberg, and Hüls. These companies were very good at doing what they did: They invented and produced chemical substances, developed new processes, and helped other sectors such as the textiles, automotive, and construction industries to launch successful products on the market.
In the late 20th century, these companies pooled their capabilities and, after two big mergers, formed the new Degussa AG in 2001. This company was a producer of specialty chemicals. In 2006 Degussa AG became a part of the RAG Group. Traditionally, RAG was primarily involved in coal mining, but also operated in other industrial sectors. An important step was taken when RAG decided to expand Degussa AG and thus make the specialty chemicals business the core element of its future industrial activities. In 2007 these industrial activities (the “white sector”) was separated from RAG’s “black sector” of coal mining and coal processing. This “white sector” became part of RAG Beteiligungs AG.
In the same year, this company was renamed Evonik Industries AG. Evonik was initially a conglomerate. In the years that followed, the company focused its activities on specialty chemicals. That was why it divested itself of its energy and real estate business. Units such as the methacrylate activities, which no longer belonged to the Group’s core business operations, were also divested later on. Evonik is also strengthening its position as one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies by acquiring other businesses such as J. M. Huber, Dr. Straetmans, PeroxyChem, and parts of the US firm Air Products.
Evonik has been listed on the stock exchange since 2013. It has around 32,000 employees and is active in more than 100 countries.