Henkel (company)

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Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

legal form AG & Co. KGaA
ISIN DE0006048408
founding September 26, 1876
Seat Dusseldorf , GermanyGermanyGermany 
  • Carsten Knobel , CEO
    Marco Swoboda
    Sylvie Nicol
    Jan-Dirk Auris
    Jens-Martin Schwärzler
    Bruno Piacenza
  • Simone Bagel-Trah , chairwoman of the supervisory board and chairwoman of the shareholders' committee
Number of employees 52,650
sales 20.114 billion euros (2019)
Branch Consumer goods industry
Website www.henkel.de
As of December 31, 2019

The Henkel AG & Co. KGaA , headquartered in Dusseldorf-Holthausen is a listed German manufacturer of consumer goods industry with worldwide brands and technologies in three business areas Laundry & Home Care ( washing / cleaning agents ), beauty care ( beauty care ), and Adhesive Technologies ( Adhesives ). In the 2019 financial year, the company achieved sales of around € 20.1 billion and an operating profit of € 2.9 billion. With 52,650 employees with 120 nationalities, Henkel is represented in 78 countries.


Today, Henkel is active in the laundry and home care sector with brands such as Persil , Pril , Purex , Weißer Riese , Perwoll , Fewa , Spee , Dixan , Vernel , Somat , Sidolin , Ata and Bref . The product range extends from all-purpose detergents to special detergents and fabric softeners to bathroom and glass cleaners.

In the beauty care sector , for example, Henkel sells products from the Schwarzkopf , Syoss , Dial , Fa , Bac , Schauma , Taft , Gliss Kur and Diadermine brands and manufactures products for hair, body, skin and oral hygiene.

Adhesives, sealants and functional coatings from Henkel are used in a variety of industries - including the aerospace , automotive , electronics and medical technology sectors . The products are sold under the five brands Loctite , Bonderite , Technomelt , Teroson and Aquence . Henkel also produces adhesives for home, school and work. The best-known brands include: Pritt , Ponal , Pattex , Ceresit , Metylan , Sista and Tangit .


General view of the Henkel factory in Düsseldorf-Holthausen (1913)
Hugo Henkel (1881–1952), Friedrich Karl Henkel (1848–1930) and Fritz Henkel (1875–1930) in 1916
Building in Düsseldorf-Holthausen

In 1876 the entrepreneur Fritz Henkel founded the detergent factory Henkel & Cie in Aachen . His first product was a powder detergent based on water glass , which he called universal detergent . Henkel moved his company to Düsseldorf on the Rhine in 1878 because of better transport connections and higher sales opportunities . In the same year, the company had its first brand success with Henkel's Bleich-Soda : In contrast to all other detergents that were sold loose at the time, Henkel sold the universal detergent in handy packets. Sales of Henkel's Bleich-Soda grew so strongly that within a year the rented factory was no longer sufficient. Fritz Henkel decided to build his own factory with a rail connection and purchased a plot of land at Gerresheimer Strasse 171 in the Flingern Süd district . However, the hoped-for and urgently required rail connection could not be laid due to terrain problems. The transport problems and the principles of corporate policy prompted Fritz Henkel to plan another change of location: From March 1900, Henkel produced in Düsseldorf-Holthausen - where the company headquarters and the factory are still today.

In 1903, the Schwarzkopf company - which has been a subsidiary of Henkel since 1995 - brought the first hair washing powder onto the market in Germany and thus offered an alternative to the usual hair washing with curd soap or expensive oils. In 1906 the company Cordes & Co GmbH was founded in Minden an der Weser . She developed into a specialist for adhesives , later mainly for synthetic resin dispersions for the wallpaper industry. Cordes joined Henkel in 1970. In June 1907, Henkel brought Persil onto the market. This product was advertised as "the world's first automatic laundry detergent". In 1918, Sil was introduced as a laundry rinse aid. Two years later, Henkel opened up the cleaning and cleaning agent market segment with the Ata brand .

In 1921 the foundation stone was laid for a branch in Genthin . The most modern detergent production in Germany was established here in the 1920s. Expropriated in 1945, the plant became a state-owned enterprise (VEB) of the GDR in 1949 . In 1990 Henkel bought the plant back. In 1922 the production of adhesives for personal use began. In 1929, Henkel began marketing P3 cleaners for industry and trade. Surface technology became an important business area at Henkel.

In 1930 Hugo Henkel , son of the company's founder, Fritz Henkel, took over sole management of the company. In 1933 he joined the NSDAP after the seizure of power ( membership number 2.266.961) and from 1934 served as councilor of the city of Düsseldorf. The company's other board members also became party members. With multiple awards, Henkel was considered a National Socialist model company . In 1934, the company opened its first factory for dextrin, an alternative raw material for adhesives, in Düsseldorf. In 1935, Henkel took over the Chemnitz company Böhme Fettchemie GmbH and was able to include Fewa , the world's first fully synthetic mild detergent, in its product range. In 1937, Henkel owned production companies in eleven European countries - after the Second World War, all companies were confiscated or placed under public administration. After Henkel had already received a patent in 1935 for a "process for the production of resin-like condensation products", the first synthetic resin glues were used in bookbinding in 1938.

Under pressure from the district administration in Düsseldorf, company manager Hugo Henkel had to move to the supervisory board in 1938. Werner Lüps, the oldest grandson of the company's founder Fritz Henkel, was appointed manager of the company in his place. Lüps had already committed himself to National Socialism before the seizure of power and used his distant family ties to Hermann Göring for his professional advancement. Under his leadership, Henkel's shares in Degussa AG were increased , particularly after the Night of the Reichspogrom .

Immediately after the start of the war in 1939, Persil had to be taken off the market because the German Reich had ordered the production of a standard washing powder for white, coarse and colored laundry. During the Second World War, hundreds of forced laborers were used every year at Henkel in Düsseldorf-Holthausen and the other subsidiaries , three of whom were killed at the Düsseldorf location in 1944. On April 16, 1945 the plant in Düsseldorf was occupied by US troops, and from July the British military government granted production permits for detergents, P3 cleaners, water glass and adhesives from Henkel.

In 1946, the "Polycolor chemisch-pharmaceutical Gesellschaft mbH" was founded in Düsseldorf (from 1948 TheraChemie, Ohligs ). A year later, she introduced the liquid hair dye Poly Color . TheraChemie was acquired by Henkel in 1950. In 1951, the detergent Pril in powder form was launched on the market by the (formerly Chemnitz ) Henkel subsidiary "Böhme Fettchemie GmbH". Three years later, the subsidiary Dreiring-Werke introduced the fine soap Fa . In 1956 the first commercial TV spot was broadcast on German television with advertising for Persil . In 1958 the Dr. Jost Henkel Foundation was established on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the service of Jost Henkel , a grandson of the company founder. In 1962 the group introduced the Somat dishwasher cleaner . In the same year, the fiercest German adhesives competitor Sichel -Werke AG became the property of Henkel in Hanover . In 1969 the first glue stick, Pritt , hit the market. Over time, Henkel introduced other products for paper, office and stationery under this brand.

In 1986, Henkel acquired the construction chemicals business from the Beecham Group with various companies and brands: Rubson in France , Unibond-Copydex Ltd in Great Britain and Ceresit GmbH, founded in 1905 in Germany. Ceresit was integrated into Henkel Bautechnik in 1990. After German reunification in 1990, Henkel bought back the expropriated Persil works in Genthin. However, they were sold again in 2009. A year later, the European joint venture Henkel-Ecolab was founded between Henkel and the US company Ecolab , which took over the joint venture in full at the end of 2001. In 1995, Henkel took over the Dorus company. The takeover made Henkel the largest supplier of adhesives in the construction and furniture industries. In 1997, the takeover of the adhesive manufacturer Loctite followed . In 1999 the Chemical Products and Legal Separation was spun off under the company name Cognis and sold to a group of financial investors in 2001.

In 2002, Henkel introduced a globally uniform corporate design for the first time . 2003, the Group joined the initiative Global Compact of the United Nations at. In 2004, Henkel took over the Dial Corporation in Scottsdale / Arizona ( USA ) in the largest acquisition in the company's history . In 2006, the company celebrated its 130th anniversary under the motto “Year of Innovations”. In the course of the year, more than 80,000 ideas from employees from all over the world for new branded products or the improvement of products and business processes came together.

In 2008, when Akzo Nobel took over ICI, Henkel acquired ICI's Adhesives and Electronic Materials (National Starch) businesses for around 3.7 billion euros. The business areas acquired had a turnover of around 1.83 billion euros. In the same year, Henkel started a savings program that planned to cut 3,000 jobs worldwide. In the same year, Henkel KGaA became Henkel AG & Co. KGaA , with Henkel Management AG as the sole personally liable partner. The entrepreneur Kasper Rorsted became the new chairman . He succeeded Ulrich Lehner . On September 22nd, 2009 Simone Bagel-Trah was elected chairman of the supervisory board of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA.

In 2011 the company introduced a new corporate design worldwide, combined with the advertising slogan "Henkel - Excellence is our Passion". In the following year, Henkel presented its strategy and financial targets for 2016. In 2012, Henkel also acquired the high-performance pressure-sensitive adhesives business from Cytec Industries.

In 2013, Henkel opened the world's largest adhesives factory in Shanghai (China), which will become the company's central production facility for industrial adhesives in China and the entire Asia-Pacific region. In the same year, four new research and development centers were opened in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Johannesburg (South Africa), Pune (India) and Seoul (South Korea). In the following year, Henkel acquired all shares in the Spotless Group , which mainly operates in the areas of laundry aids, insect repellants and household care in Western Europe. In 2014, Henkel also took over the three US hair care companies Sexy Hair, Alterna and Kenra as well as the US company Bergquist, a manufacturer of heat-dissipating solutions for the electrical industry. In 2015, Henkel acquired all laundry detergent brands and laundry additives from Colgate-Palmolive in Australia and New Zealand. Hans Van Bylen has been CEO of Henkel since May 1, 2016. In the same year, the company took over the North American detergent and cleaning agent company Sun Products for 3.2 billion euros and presented its new strategic priorities and financial targets for 2020 in November. On October 24, 2019, Henkel announced that Hans Van Bylen would leave the company at the end of 2019 and that Carsten Knobel, currently Henkel’s Chief Financial and Purchasing Officer, would become the new CEO on January 1, 2020.

public perception


Since the 1980s, Henkel has committed itself to occupational health and safety, resource conservation and emission reduction in the “Principles and Targets for Environmental Protection and Safety”.

In 1992 the company published its first environmental report. In 1997, integrated management systems and group-wide binding standards for safety, health and environmental protection (SHE) were introduced, and global SHE audits were also started. Henkel is a founding member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and in 1995 joined the chemical industry's international “ Responsible Care ” initiative . In 2003, Henkel joined the United Nations Global Compact and thus committed to complying with the ten principles set out there today. Since April 2008, Henkel has been an official member of the “ Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ” (RSPO). This was founded in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia , and is committed to the sustainable extraction and use of palm oil . In 2008, Henkel was also one of 10 companies involved in the Product Carbon Footprint pilot project , in which partners from research, industry and non-governmental organizations worked together on a standardized method for calculating carbon dioxide footprints for products and their communication.

Henkel saw the launch of the new Terra Activ cleaning agent series in 2008 - relaunched in October 2010 without the addition of "Activ" and relaunched at the end of 2013 - which was largely based on renewable raw materials, as concrete progress in the area of ​​sustainability . Furthermore, from 2007 to 2010, energy consumption was reduced by 21 percent, water consumption by 26 percent, waste production by 24 percent and the number of work accidents by 29 percent. From 2011 to 2015, Henkel planned to save a further 15 percent per production unit in the areas of energy, water and waste. At the same time, sales per production unit should increase by 10 percent and the accident rate should decrease by a further 20 percent. By 2030, the ratio between the value that is created and the ecological footprint should improve by a factor of three.

In September 2013, the company was named winner for the seventh time in a row in the World and European Index of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in the category “Short-lived consumer goods”. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2010, the company was ranked 61st in the list of the 100 most sustainable companies worldwide.

As a co-initiator of the Energy Policy Appeal initiative - “Energy Future for Germany”, Henkel campaigned in 2010 for the responsible use of state-of-the-art coal-fired power plants and the extension of the service life of nuclear power plants , which ensure that CO 2 reduction targets can be achieved quickly and cheaply .

The sustainability strategy pursued by Henkel, however, is also controversial. It is true that Henkel uses renewable raw materials such as palm oil in the production of detergents and cleaning agents. However, the cultivation methods of the oil palm are problematic because rainforest areas are cleared or peat bogs are drained in order to gain additional cultivation areas. To ensure that Henkel only purchases palm oil that has been produced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner, the company is involved in the RSPO ( Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil ) organization. Among other things, it has adopted a certification model for palm oil from sustainable cultivation. The RSPO, however, consists for the most part of industry representatives (of the 303 members, 282 are commercial companies versus 21 environmental and social organizations). The RSPO does not even seem to strictly enforce its own minimal guidelines. For example, Greenpeace reported in November 2008 that a palm oil supplier and member of the RSPO massively violated certification criteria and illegally destroys rainforest in Indonesia. In September 2018, Henkel announced new goals for its global packaging strategy in order to drive the development towards a circular economy .

Social Commitment

Henkel has bundled its social commitment in the Fritz Henkel Foundation and divided it into four areas. These include the promotion of voluntary engagement of employees and retirees (MIT Initiative: M SHARINGTIME i m T eam), social partnerships, brand engagement and rapid emergency aid during disasters. Since the MIT initiative started in 1998, Henkel employees and retirees have been involved in more than 12,800 projects in over 50 countries. Among other things, Henkel promotes young talent through membership as a support group participant in the bonding student initiative .

During the COVID-19 pandemic , the chemical company in Düsseldorf changed its production and manufactured hand disinfectants. This was donated to hospitals and public institutions in the region. According to their own statements, they wanted to make a contribution to the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Within the first week, 25,000 liters could already be produced.

Cartel formation

According to the European Commission, between 2002 and 2005 there was a cartel of several international detergent manufacturers in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and Greece. It was used for systematic agreements on the pricing of heavy duty detergent powder for machine washing. No fine was imposed on Henkel due to the extensive cooperation with the antitrust authorities.

Henkel also remained unpunished in the process of agreeing with Reckitt Benckiser on illegal price increases for dishwasher tablets. The company had reported itself.


In 1975, Henkel GmbH was converted into a partnership limited by shares (KGaA) and became the parent company of Henkel. At that time, this comprised around 70 subsidiaries and affiliated companies. The legal form KGaA made it possible to go public in 1985. Around 178 million preference shares were offered for DM 50. In 1996 these preference shares were devalued to DM 5. Since then, the common shares have also been listed on the stock exchange. As of 2018, the company's share capital is divided into around 260 million ordinary shares and around 178 million preference shares. 61.2% of the ordinary shares (ISIN DE0006048408) are in the hands of the Henkel family (132 members) via a share pooling agreement . The remaining ordinary shares are in free float . The company's shares have been listed in the DAX without interruption since July 1, 1988 (preference shares currently under ISIN DE0006048432).

year sales Profit before tax Annual surplus Employee
2001 9,082 million euros 734 million euros 426 million euros 47,362
2002 9,656 million euros 664 million euros 431 million euros 47.203
2003 9,436 million euros 768 million euros 530 million euros 48,328
2004 10,592 million euros 808 million euros 551 million euros 49,947
2005 11,974 million euros 1,042 million euros 770 million euros 51,724
2006 12,740 million euros 1,176 million euros 871 million euros 51,716
2007 13,074 million euros 1,250 million euros 941 million euros 52,303
2008 14,131 million euros 1,627 million euros 1,233 million euros 55,513
2009 13,573 million euros 885 million euros 628 million euros 51,361
2010 15,092 million euros 1,552 million euros 1,143 million euros 48.141
2011 15,605 million euros 1,610 million euros 1,191 million euros 47,265
2012 16,510 million euros 2,058 million euros 1,556 million euros 46,610
2013 16,355 million euros 2,172 million euros 1,625 million euros 46,850
2014 16,428 million euros 2,195 million euros 1,662 million euros 49,750
2015 18,089 million euros 2,645 million euros 1,968 million euros 49,450
2016 18,714 million euros 2,775 million euros 2,093 million euros 51,350
2017 20,029 million euros 3,055 million euros 2,541 million euros 53,700
2018 19,899 million euros 3,116 million euros 2,330 million euros 53,450
2019 20,144 million euros 2,899 million euros 2,103 million euros 52,650

Related topics


  • Wilfried Feldenkirchen , Susanne Hilger: People and Brands: 125 Years of Henkel, 1876–2001 . Ed .: Ernst Primosch and Wolfgang Zengerling on behalf of Henkel KGaA. Henkel KGaA, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 978-3-923324-79-8 (404 pages, henkel.de [PDF]).
  • Bernd Kaiser: The implications of economic and political framework conditions for the procurement of raw materials by international industrial companies and the resulting corporate strategies using the example of the Henkel Group . Dissertation. Nuremberg 2009 ( PDF file; 4.94 MB ).
  • Rüdiger Liedtke: Who Owns the Republic? The corporations and their interdependencies in the globalized economy - 2007 - names, numbers, facts. Eichborn Verlag AG, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, pp. 213-219.
  • Manfred Schöne: Henkel has been in Holthausen for 70 years. (= Series of writings in the works archive No. 1.) Henkel GmbH, Düsseldorf 1969.
  • Ulrich Viehöver: The realms of influence: Henkel, Otto u. Co. - Who has power in Germany. Verlagsgruppe Lübbe GmbH & Co. KG AG, Bergisch Gladbach 2007, pp. 192–217.

Web links

Commons : Henkel AG  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Henkel Management Board , accessed January 1, 2020.
  2. a b c Henkel AG & Co. KGaA: Annual Report 2019 (PDF) Accessed March 5, 2020 .
  3. a b c d e f g h Henkel: Company history
  4. Henkel: Chronicle 130 Years of Henkel (PDF, p. 28)
  5. Ulrich Viehöver: Die InfluenceReichen: Henkel, Otto and Co - who has money and power in Germany . Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-593-37667-9 ( google.de [accessed April 24, 2020]).
  6. Wulf D. Hund: How the Germans were white: Small (home) history of racism . Springer Verlag, Stuttgart 2017, ISBN 978-3-476-04500-3 ( google.de [accessed April 24, 2020]).
  7. ^ A b Wilfried Feldenkirchen, Susanne Hilger: People and brands. 125 years of Henkel 1876–2001 . Ed .: Ernst Primosch, Wolfgang Zengerling on behalf of Henkel KGaA. Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-923324-79-0 ( henkel.de [PDF; accessed April 24, 2020]).
  8. Peter Hayes: Degussa in the Third Reich: From cooperation to complicity . CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-52204-1 ( google.de [accessed on April 24, 2020]).
  9. SPIEGEL ONLINE: 50 years of television advertising: If Xaver messes up, Persil helps
  10. FAZ: Austerity program: Henkel cuts 3000 jobs
  11. W&V: Kasper Rorsted new Henkel CEO
  12. sueddeutsche.de: Simone Bagel-Trah - The first female boss of German supervisory boards
  13. horizont.net: Henkel wants to strengthen the brand with a new corporate design
  14. morgenpost.de: Group presents growth strategy and financial targets up to 2016 (November 16, 2012)
  15. focus.de: Henkel strengthens adhesives business (May 11, 2012)
  16. faz.net: Henkel opens the world's largest adhesives plant in China (September 13, 2013)
  17. Henkel: Annual Report 2013 (PDF, p. 15)
  18. handelsblatt.com: Spotless: Henkel buys French laundry detergent (June 5, 2014)
  19. focus.de: Henkel buys three US manufacturers of professional hair products (June 2, 2014)
  20. handelsblatt.com: Billion investment: Henkel continues takeover round (September 18, 2014)
  21. boerse-online.de: Henkel continues shopping spree - takeover in Australia (May 12, 2015)
  22. Henkel: Hans Van Bylen is the new CEO of Henkel (May 1, 2016)
  23. Handelsblatt: Henkel announces billions in acquisition (June 24, 2016)
  24. Henkel: Henkel 2020+: Focus on growth, digitization and agility (November 17, 2016)
  25. Van Bylen stops. Henkel gets new CEO. Spiegel Online, accessed October 24, 2019.
  26. a b finanztreff.de: Our sustainability goals - Our progress in 2010: Goals achieved ahead of schedule
  27. Reports & Publications. In: henkel.de. Retrieved March 11, 2017 .
  28. Henkel: Environment, Safety, Health (SHE Report 1998; PDF; 2.18 MB).
  29. World Business Council for Sustainable Development: About the WBCSD - Membership & governance ( Memento of May 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  30. ^ Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
  31. pcf-project.de: Product Carbon Footprint
  32. TERRA - For a clean today and tomorrow: questions and answers
  33. ^ Henkel: Goals
  34. Henkel: External Reviews
  35. ^ FAZ: Energy policy appeal: 40 managers attack Röttgen's policy
  36. Rainforest is being destroyed for palm kernel oil for the alleged organic product Terra-Aktiv ( memento from July 12, 2012 in the web archive archive.today )
  37. Label fraud in the case of palm oil deliveries to Europe. Greenpeace , November 11, 2008, accessed March 11, 2017 .
  38. CIRCULAR ECONOMY: HENKEL COMMITS TO 100 PERCENT RECYCLABLE, REUSABLE OR COMPOSTABLE PACKAGING BY 2025. Global Cosmetics News , September 5, 2018, accessed on October 2, 2018 .
  39. ^ Henkel: Corporate Citizenship
  40. Henkel: Sustainability Report 2016
  41. Sponsorship Association. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on March 21, 2017 ; accessed on March 21, 2017 .
  42. Christoph Schroeter: Corona crisis in Düsseldorf: Henkel donates 50,000 liters of disinfectant. In: rp-online.de. Retrieved April 2, 2020 .
  43. Werner Mussler: High penalty for detergent cartel . In: FAZ.NET of April 13, 2011, accessed on April 28, 2011
  44. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung: Consumers paid too much for Calgonit and Somat , November 24, 2011
  45. Shares. In: henkel.com. Retrieved March 11, 2017 .
  46. ^ Henkel: shares. Retrieved December 17, 2018 .
  47. BaFin - Significant shares of voting rights according to Sections 33, 38 and 39 of the Securities Trading Act (WpHG). Retrieved December 17, 2018 .