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Mannesmann AG

legal form Corporation
founding July 16, 1890
resolution August 22, 2001
Reason for dissolution Takeover by Vodafone Group and subsequent break-up
Seat Dusseldorf , GermanyGermanyGermany 
management Klaus Esser , CEO
Joachim Funk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Number of employees 130,860 (December 31, 1999)
sales 23.265 billion euros (1999)
Branch Steel ; Mechanical engineering ; Cellular

Mannesmann administration building in Düsseldorf from 1911/1912, architect: Peter Behrens
Former Mannesmann high-rise in Düsseldorf from 1958, architect: Paul Schneider-Esleben

The Mannesmann AG was a German industrial company in legal form of a joint stock company based in Dusseldorf and ultimate holding company of the Mannesmann Group. In 2000, the then DAX group was taken over by the British mobile phone company Vodafone in what is still the most expensive takeover in the world with a purchase price of 190 billion euros . The group was dissolved. The "Mannesmann" brand and the oldest roots of the Mannesmann Group, the tube production of Mannesmannröhren-Werke , have belonged to Salzgitter AG since then .


Start time

The history of the industrial group Mannesmann goes back to the brothers Max (1857–1915) and Reinhard Mannesmann (1856–1922) from Remscheid , who invented the first process for manufacturing seamless steel tubes by rolling in 1885 - the cross- rolling process . To this end, they experimented for years in the file factory run by their father, Reinhard Mannesmann senior (1814-1894) ( A. Mannesmann company , founded in 1776 by Arnold Mannesmann, today A. Mannesmann Maschinenfabrik GmbH ) in Remscheid-Bliedinghausen. Reinhard Mannesmann, the father, was convinced of the invention of his sons and, with various donors and their inventions as a contribution, subsequently founded plants for the production of seamless steel pipes in Bous (1886), Komotau / Bohemia (1887), Landore / Great Britain (1887) and Remscheid (1888). However, these plants quickly ran into financial difficulties. a. because the process was not yet technically mature for industrial production. The Mannesmann brothers achieved their final technical breakthrough in 1890 with the invention of the so-called pilgrim step process by Max Mannesmann, with which the seamless, thick-walled hollow bodies produced by inclined rolling were industrially rolled into marketable tubes. The combination of the two rolling processes became famous worldwide as the Mannesmann process . Even today, seamless steel tubes are produced worldwide using the Mannesmann process or the cross rolling process in combination with the plug and tube continuous rolling that came about later.

The financial problems of the Mannesmannröhren-Werke, which was caused by the technical difficulties at the start, forced a new start in 1890. On July 16, 1890, the existing pipe works - with the exception of the British plant, which was incorporated a few years later - were combined in the German-Austrian Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG , based in Berlin . This date is considered to be the founding date of the Mannesmann Group. In 1893 the company relocated its administration and later its headquarters to Düsseldorf , at that time the center of the German steel tube industry. Reinhard and Max Mannesmann resigned from the company's executive board , and a few years later also from the supervisory board . At the turn of the century, the company also started producing welded steel tubes.

For many decades the term “Mannesmann pipe ” was used as a synonym for seamless steel pipe. It was far superior to the cast iron and welded pipes that were widespread at the time and opened up new possibilities in many areas of technology, especially vehicle construction, as well as mechanical and plant engineering. In the year the company was founded, Siemens laid the world's first modern oil pressure line in the Caucasus with Mannesmann tubes. Today, large welded pipes are generally used for pipelines. Worldwide deliveries followed. a. for water supply systems , oil and gas pipelines, line and street lighting masts.

In 1908 the company was renamed Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG . Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG developed into a vertically structured iron and steel group in order to secure independence from a pure steel processor in the following decades. She took over u. a. Ore and coal mines and built its own steel production facilities in Saarbrücken , Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg -Hüttenheim. Machine factories (production of tube rolling mills) and pipeline construction also made initial investments in further processing. The group also had its own worldwide trade organization with an inland shipping company.

National Socialism

During National Socialism, the company, like many other German corporations, was involved in the war economy. In this context, a large number of forced laborers (foreign workers and prisoners of war) were deployed at the Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG in Düsseldorf.

post war period

Mannesmann Rohrbau data slide "for calculating pipelines with a circular cross-section"

After the Second World War, the Mannesmann Group, like all large German industrial groups, was "unbundled" by the Allies. H. the group was divided into three independent companies: Mannesmann AG , Consolidation Bergbau AG and Stahlindustrie und Maschinenbau AG . This should avoid excessive economic concentration. The Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG was liquidated. However, since the individual companies were not economically viable on their own, they reunited until 1955 under the leadership of Mannesmann AG .

In 1960, Mannesmann AG, with its domestic and foreign subsidiaries and around 76,700 employees worldwide, achieved sales of 4.57 billion DM. It was one of the best-known German industrial groups. At the end of the 1960s, Mannesmann initiated a profound restructuring. Hard coal mining was handed over to Ruhrkohle AG and in 1969/1970 there was a division of labor with Thyssen . Aside from its own company needs, Mannesmann gave up its steel production and sheet metal processing to Thyssen, Thyssen in turn passed its pipe production and pipe laying to Mannesmann. Tube production was concentrated in the newly founded Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG , which became one of the largest tube producers in the world. Thyssen became a minority shareholder in Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG . The pipe laying and pipe construction activities were combined in Mannesmann Rohrbau AG , which was formed from Mannesmann- and Thyssen-Rohrleitungsbau . This was later converted into Mannesmann Anlagenbau AG .

Even today, many people remember the so-called natural gas pipe deal from the 1970s, a spectacular triangular deal in which - pre-financed by Deutsche Bank - large pipes were supplied by Mannesmann for the construction of pipelines in the Soviet Union , and the Ruhrgas group in return Gas was supplied from what was then the Soviet Union ( barter business).

New business areas

At the same time, the Mannesmann Group invested heavily in new business areas. Rexroth , Demag and Krauss-Maffei were acquired in mechanical and plant engineering, and Kienzle Apparate (1982), Fichtel & Sachs (1987), VDO and Boge in the automotive supplier area . In 1990, in the hundredth year of its existence, the Mannesmann Group presented itself as a broadly diversified technology group.

Telecommunications and plant engineering

In 1990 the Mannesmann Group entered another new business area. He acquired the license to set up and operate the first private cellular D network in Germany. This business area developed extremely successfully and expanded to all of Europe in the following years. With his then breathtaking profit margins, he soon dominated all other business areas. In 1999, the Mannesmann board decided to concentrate the group on the telecommunications business area (mobile communications and fixed network from Arcor ) and combined the industrial activities, with the exception of Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG , in Atecs Mannesmann AG , which will be made independent on the stock exchange should. The Mannesmann Anlagenbau AG division was sold to the French Technip at the beginning of 1999 .

Before the merger of the French Technip with the American FMC Technologies at the beginning of 2017 to form “ TechnipFMC ”, the new parent company separated at short notice from its German subsidiary in Düsseldorf in 2016. Since then, this has operated as an independent company under the name MMEC Mannesmann GmbH .

Hostile takeover by Vodafone

Before this plan could be implemented, however, at the end of 1999 the British mobile phone company Vodafone Group began efforts to take over Mannesmann, the largest in Germany to date. Initially, Vodafone offered around 100 billion euros , which was rejected by the then Mannesmann boss Klaus Esser as "completely inappropriate". After a month-long takeover battle, on February 3, 2000, the supervisory board approved the buy-out for 190 billion euros, the most expensive takeover in the world to date. The minority shareholders were forcibly compensated by means of a squeeze-out .

The Mannesmann Group thus lost its independence after the most successful business year in its company's history (1999 annual report: sales 23.27 billion euros, 130,860 employees worldwide) and was subsequently split up. The last general meeting of the company Mannesmann AG took place on 22 August 2,001th

The circumstances of the takeover and the high severance payments to leading figures in the company by German standards led to the opening of criminal proceedings before the Düsseldorf Regional Court in 2004 . The defendants, including the chairman of the supervisory board Josef Ackermann at the time of the takeover and the chairman of the board Klaus Esser , were initially acquitted by the regional court on July 22, 2004. After an appeal, the Federal Court of Justice reversed the acquittals on December 21, 2005 and referred the proceedings back to the Regional Court for renegotiation. On November 29, 2006, however, the proceedings were discontinued in return for a payment of millions.

After the takeover, only the fixed-line and internet divisions around Arcor , the mobile communications division D2 and the European telecommunications investments remained with Vodafone. The competing British mobile operator Orange , whose purchase by Mannesmann was supposed to prevent the takeover ( poison pill ), was sold to France Télécom due to conditions imposed by the competition authorities .


The telecommunications activities were incorporated into Vodafone GmbH . The traditional divisions of the Mannesmann group were sold by Vodafone. The sale of the various business areas brought in Vodafone 70 billion euros , less than half the purchase price of the entire group of 190 billion euros.

The former Mannesmann board member had planned to bring the mechanical and plant engineering and automotive divisions to the stock exchange under the name Atecs Mannesmann AG . The new company would have immediately become one of the largest companies in the DAX. Instead, Atecs Mannesmann AG was sold to a consortium of Siemens and Bosch . This consortium then split up the individual companies and incorporated them in part into the new parent companies Siemens and Bosch.

Other companies were resold, e.g. T. also split up. Today it is difficult for outsiders to understand the whereabouts of the individual companies.

The Mannesmannröhren-Werke AG from Salzgitter AG acquired them than today Mannesmannröhren-Werke GmbH leads Division Mannesmann. Salzgitter later sold its stake in the Vallourec & Mannesmann Tubes (V & M Tubes) joint venture to the Vallourec Group.

Parts of Demag were already taken over by Schloemann-Siemag AG / SMS Group before the Vodafone takeover ; the larger parts of Demag initially came to Siemens.

The automotive supplier Mannesmann Sachs , which emerged from Fichtel & Sachs and Boge , was sold to ZF Friedrichshafen and operated as ZF Sachs until it merged with ZF Friedrichshafen in 2011 .

The former central warehouse, Mannesmannröhren Service GmbH , now belongs to Vallourec- Mannesmann Tubes, Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann and the Induser Group, operates as Mannesmannröhren Logistic GmbH in Ratingen and also supplies non-group companies with consumables.

The subsidiary Dolmar , a manufacturer of petrol chain saws in Hamburg, was sold to the Japanese group Makita Engineering and now operates under the name Makita Engineering Germany GmbH .



This ARD television film (first broadcast: October 21, 2009) takes up the circumstances of the Mannesmann takeover. Despite being alienated as Hewaro AG (Mannesmann) and Redwater (Vodafone), the role models are clear. Senta Berger plays a principled board secretary who refuses to order unlawful premium payments from her point of view and indirectly triggers public prosecutor's investigations into breach of trust.


  • Horst A. Wessel: Continuity in Change. Mannesmann 1890–1990 . Düsseldorf 1990.
  • Thomas Knipp: THE DEAL. The story of the biggest takeover ever . Murmann-Verlag, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 3-938017-88-0 .
  • Anton Bousse: The manufacture of seamless steel tubes . Publishing house Dr. Max Jänecke, Hanover 1908 online in the Internet Archive .

Web links

Commons : Mannesmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b What did the Mannesmann Group look like before the takeover by Vodafone?
  2. ^ A b c Frank Seidlitz: How a Briton blew up the Deutschland AG . In: Die Welt , November 12, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  3. Eichholtz, Dietrich .: History of the German War Economy 1939-1945 . Reprint edition. Munich 2003, ISBN 3-11-096489-9 , pp. 51 ff .
  4. Thomas Roth: 1933 to 1945 - National Socialism and World War II. In: Portal Rhenish History - Rhineland Regional Association. Retrieved November 22, 2018 .
  5. In: Online company profile . MMEC Mannesmann GmbH
  6. Verivox : How Mannesmann and Arcor became Vodafone , accessed on February 11, 2017