Reynolds Group Holdings

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Reynolds Group Holdings
PredecessorReynolds Metal Company (acquired by Alcoa - 2000)
Founded1919; 104 years ago (1919) in
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
SuccessorPactiv Evergreen
Reynolds Consumer Products
HeadquartersAuckland, New Zealand
ProductsAluminum foil

Reynolds Group Holdings was a New Zealand based packaging company with roots in the former Reynolds Metals Company, which was the second-largest aluminum company in the United States, and the third-largest in the world. Reynolds Metals was acquired by Alcoa in June 2000.[1][2] Reynolds Group Holdings become Pactiv Evergreen through an IPO in 2020.[3]

Reynolds Metals became known for the consumer product Reynolds Wrap foil, as well as for developing and promoting new uses for aluminum. Its RV Aluminaut submarine was operated by Reynolds Submarine Services Corporation.[4]

It was headquartered for most of its existence in Richmond, Virginia; the Modernist style Reynolds Metals Company International Headquarters was built there in 1958.


The Reynolds Metals Company was founded in 1919 as the U.S. Foil Company in Louisville, Kentucky, by Richard S. Reynolds Sr., nephew of tobacco king R. J. Reynolds. Initially, the new company supplied lead and tin foil wrappers to cigarette and candy companies. In 1924, U.S. Foil purchased the manufacturer of Eskimo Pies, which were wrapped in foil. In 1928, Reynolds purchased Robertshaw Thermostat, Fulton Sylphon, and part of Beechnut Foil, adding them to U.S. Foil to create Reynolds Metals. In 1931, the company moved its headquarters to New York City and in 1938 the headquarters moved again to Richmond, Virginia.

The company began producing aluminum foil for packaging in 1926. Reynolds Metals created the first high-speed, gravure-printed foil, aluminum bottle labels, heat-sealed foil bags for foods and foil-laminated building insulation paper. In 1940 Reynolds Metals began mining bauxite (aluminum ore) in Bauxite, Arkansas and opened its first aluminum plant near Sheffield, Alabama, the following year. In 1947, the company released Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. Reynolds Metals pioneered the development of aluminum siding in 1945, and Richard S. Reynolds began predicting a growing demand for additional aluminum during peacetime. He believed new aluminum-producing facilities would need to be built to meet demand. Reynolds Metals Company leased, and later bought, six government defense plants that were up for disposal. Reynolds later expanded into non aluminum products such as plastics and precious metals, introducing Reynolds Plastic Wrap in 1982.

After the Second World War, the sense of aluminum's utility expanded to include its ornamental characteristics. By repurposing military by-products into consumer goods, aluminum was now being marketed for its decorative appeal as well, creating a product of both functional and eye-catching qualities.[5] Reynolds advertised aluminum for its multi-faceted property, now reaching areas of fashion, home improvement, and architecture.[5] Reynolds marketed aluminum foil as gift wrap, aluminum yarn for Vogue dress patterns, and even extended their advertising strategy to include wrapping their office headquarters in aluminum.[5]

Four sons of founder Richard S. Reynolds, William G. Reynolds, Richard S. Reynolds Jr., David P. Reynolds, and J. Louis Reynolds, were all part of the running of the business. Richard S. Reynolds Jr. succeeded his father as president in 1948 and under his leadership, the company underwent a major expansion with operations extended to countries around the world such as Venezuela and the Philippines. In 1976 David P. Reynolds, also known for his involvement in Thoroughbred horse racing, took over as president. He was the last member of his family to head the company and would retire as chairman.

Reynolds Metals developed other, less well-known products; not all became commercially viable, such as an aluminum bus developed with Rohr Industries, a 12 foot aluminum utility boat, and other aluminum motor vehicles.,[6][7] The aluminum vehicles were surpassed in weight and cost by steel, plastics and fiberglass. However, when Reynolds Metals developed the world's first aluminum submarine, the Aluminaut, the experimental product participated in a key rescue.[8] In 1969, Aluminaut rescued Alvin (DSV-2). Aluminaut's assistance enabled Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to continue operating its submersible. Alvin's work continues 45 years later.[9]

By 1991, Reynolds Metals employed 30,800 workers at more than 100 operations in 20 countries, including 64 plants in the United States, and had a total production capacity of more than 1 million tons of aluminum and aluminum products. The company was acquired by Alcoa on May 3, 2000 to become the largest aluminum company in the United States.[1][2]

On January 21, 2008, Alcoa sold its consumer unit to Rank Group Ltd. Rank's owner, New Zealand billionaire Graeme Hart, renamed Alcoa's former unit the Reynolds Packaging Group. Hart merged his other packaging companies into Reynolds to create Reynolds Group Holdings.[10]

In an initiative led by Paul D. Thomas, Reynolds Packaging Group chief executive officer and a former Alcoa executive, on September 21, 2008, Reynolds announced that one of the foil plants that produced Reynolds Wrap, in downtown Richmond, Virginia, would be closed and foil operations moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Reynolds Wrap first was produced. A small portion of the spooling operation from the Richmond Foil plant was moved to the Reynolds plant in Grove City, Pennsylvania, in early 2010. Hart later closed five other plants within Reynolds. As a reflection of the recessionary times, salaries were frozen and salaried employees were not given pay raises. Union employees with fixed compensation contracts did receive incentive compensation. In early 2010 all pay was unfrozen. Salaried employees have since received pay adjustments.[citation needed]


The former Reynolds Metals Company International Headquarters building is in Henrico County, Virginia, near Richmond. Built 65 years ago, is a Modernist building designed by the architect Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. During its use by Reynolds, the Executive Office Building was known as Reynolds EXO. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places, one of the rare mid−20th century buildings on the list.[11][12] Making extensive use of aluminum, down to threads in the carpeting, it is now owned by the University of Richmond and serves as the worldwide headquarters of Altria Group.

Consumer products[edit]

Reynolds Wrap was first made by a Reynolds Metals Company division, Reynolds Packaging, a business created to supply aluminum foil for packaging tobacco.[13] When Alcoa purchased Reynolds Metals, it shed some non-metals packaging and printing businesses but preserved the Reynolds consumer brand, as well as the Reynolds Kitchens, which are still across the street from the former Reynolds headquarters building. Alcoa's Reynolds division was a leader in household baking and cooking products, which included Cut-Rite Wax Paper.

Reynolds published cookbooks such as Outdoor Cooking with Reynolds Wrap (1950) and Casual Cooking (1954) in an attempt to promote the sales of Reynolds Wrap.[5]

In 1958, the company launched the "Designs for Giving" campaign, in which professional artists and designers were hired to create special patterns for gift wrapping. Designs included "Birds and Bees" for baby showers, "Born Lucky, Born Rich" for birthdays, and "Flight of Fancy" for weddings or Christmas.[5]

Reynolds Consumer Products went public with an initial public offering on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol REYN on Friday, January 31, 2020.[14]


In 1945 a research laboratory at Glen Cove (1945-), together with a corporate library and 150-seat auditorium was established in Winfield Hall of the former Woolworth Estate. To be manned by 150 researchers and technicians.[15] The property had been with Reynolds since 1929 and was repurposed into a business school for women in 1963.

In June 1945 construction of a rolling mill in Mexico (1945-) was first announced. A new company, the Reynolds Internacionale de Mexico was established, with J. Louis Reynolds acting as president. Initially to produce aluminum plate and foil, the plant was envisioned from the beginning to eventually include forging, extrusion, rod, bar, cable and powder and paste for paint, and also to process lead and tin.[16]

With the acquisition of the Aluminum Products Company in November 1945. a company specializing in the production of cooking utensils, a stamping plant at LaGrange (1946-), another stamping plant at Lemont (1946-) and a tandem rolling mill at Lagrange (1946-) were added. An expansion program of a few hundred thousand dollars was immediately put into effect and employment was to be increased. This acquisition followed a few months after Reynolds entered the field of cooking utensils with a production line in the Louisville plant.[17]

The extrusion plant at Louisville (Plant No. 8), featuring presses with circular extrusion dies of 10 inches diameter, turning out shapes up to 12.5 square feet cross section, 50 feet length and 350 pounds weight. Ten oil-fired open-hearth reverberatory 45,000 pound furnaces to produce ingots and a number of soaking ("normalizing") furnaces to allow controlled heat treatment of (alloy) ingots. In late 1945, one 3850 and one 2240 ton press was in operation and new units of 1650, 2750 and 5500 tons were being installed. Hollow ingots were used for tubular extrusions, but limited to a minimum thickness of 2 inches, so that additional cold drawing equipment was used to finish extruded pipes if necessary. Cold drawing could also be applied to extruded bars and rods. 20-page article in: [18]

Reynolds Metals Corp. Engineering Building at 5th and Cary streets, Richmond.[19]

In January 1946 Reynolds leased for a 5-year term the $6,750,000 war surplus extrusion plant at Grand Rapids (1946-).[20]

In January 1946, the alumina refinery at Hurricane Creek (1946-) (precisely[21] at 34°34′58″N 92°30′49″W / 34.58287°N 92.51357°W / 34.58287; -92.51357 (Hurricane Creek refinery)) was leased for 5 years with option to purchase. At the time the world's largest with a capacity of 1,500,000,000 pounds per year. This acquisition resulted in an 8-fold increase in alumina production capacity corporation-wide, giving Reynolds a nearly 50% share of alumina production in the United States.[22] Built for $39,330,523 as Plancor 226-X and operated by Alcoa during the war, the plant consisted of 50 buildings on 465 acres of land. Besides the Bayer process plant it included a sinter plant, a 3,000,000 pounds per year synthetic cryolite plant (not used during the war) and a 40,000,000 pounds per year aluminum flouride plant.[23] After 3 years under lease the plant was bought in 1949. It was expanded by 110,000 tons to 730,000 tons in 1951-52 (todo: contradicts prior sources). It used the Combination process on locally mined ore with imported bauxite used only to condition the raw materials feed as needed.[24]

In January 1946 Reynolds leased for 5 years with purchase option the reduction plant at Jones Mill (1946-) (precisely[25] at 34°26′13″N 92°53′13″W / 34.43699°N 92.8870°W / 34.43699; -92.8870 (Jones mill reduction plant)), 20 miles from the Hurricane Creek refinery. It had a capacity of 72,000,000 pounds per year, adding to Reynolds 165,000,000 pounds per year from Listerhill and Longview.[26] Built for $29,258,349 as Plancor 226-K, consisting of 4 potlines, operated during the war by Alcoa, it had the capacity to manufacture 57,600,000 pounds per year of carbon electrodes and included a 78MW natural gas fired power plant which was capable of powering two of the potlines.[27] The first units began production on July 18, 1942.[25]

In March 1946 Reynolds leased the rolling mill at McCook (1946-), another war surplus plant.[28] Built as Plancor 652, it was largely identical to Plancor 1061 in Trentwood which went to Kaiser Aluminum after the war. There were 34 27,000-pound reverberatory remelt furnaces, a 120-inch and a 96-inch reversing mill for the production of 0.75 inch "slabs", followed by a continuous 5-stand 80-inch hot mill for plates and sheet, followed by four cold mills, two of which were 72-inch 2-stand tandem and two were 72-inch single-stand mills, followed by a 12-stand flattening mill with ten stands of 84 inches and two stands of 110 inches.[29]

First announced in May 1951, the San Patricio reduction plant in Ingleside at a total cost of $80,000,000 was to have a natural gas fueled power plant of 78 internal combustion engines totaling 256,300hp driving 176MW of direct current generators. Of those, 40 were Cooper-Bessemer type LSV supercharging 3,700hp 16-cylinder 4-cycle engines with one 2,500kw DC generator each and 38 were General Motors model 16-358X 2,850hp 2-cycle engines with a 2,000kw DC generator each (the first installation of the engine model). Natural gas consumption of the power plant was expected to be 1,000,000cuft per hour and the rated output of the plant 150,000,000 pounds per year.[30]

todo: reduction plants at Listerhill, Longview, Arkadelphia, Troutdale

todo: refinery at Corpus Christi.

Map this section's coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML


  1. ^ a b Boselovic, Len (May 4, 2000). "Alcoa-Reynolds a done deal". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "European Commission OKs Alcoa-Reynolds deal". The Toledo Blade. May 4, 2000. p. B7.
  3. ^ "Pactiv Evergreen Inc. (Currently Known as Reynolds Group Holdings Limited) Announces Launch of Initial Public Offering". 2020-09-08. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  4. ^ "Historic Naval Ships Association". Archived from the original on 2006-12-08.
  5. ^ a b c d e Ong Yan, Grace (2012). "Wrapping Aluminum at the Reynolds Metals Company". Design and Culture. 4 (3): 299–323. doi:10.2752/175470812X13361292229113. S2CID 112315246.
  6. ^ "Reynolds Aluminum". FiberGlassics. December 10, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "Reynolds Aluminum Boat ad". The Bakersfield Californian. September 12, 1947. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  8. ^ "Research vessel to explore deep". The New York Times. August 30, 1964. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  9. ^ "History of Alvin". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. December 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Smith, Peter (December 23, 2007). "Alcoa sells consumer division to Rank". Financial Times. London. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  11. ^ "National Register of Historic Places: Reynolds Metals Company International Headquarters" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historical Resources. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  12. ^ National Register properties in Henrico County, VA Properties are generally eligible for inclusion 50 years after construction.
  13. ^ Von Bergen, Jane M. (May 24, 2009). "How a Downington Printing Plan Failed after 50 Years". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  14. ^ Franklin, Joshua (January 30, 2020). "Reynolds shakes off market jitters with year's first big IPO". Reuters. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Company Established Research Laboratory". Steel. Vol. 116, no. 13. 26 March 1945. p. 144.
  16. ^ "Reynolds Metals Plans Aluminum Plant in Mexico". Steel. Vol. 116, no. 23. 4 June 1945. p. 102.
  17. ^ "Reynolds Metals Buys Aluminum Products Co". Steel. Vol. 117, no. 23. 3 December 1945. p. 105.
  18. ^ "Extruding Aluminum". Steel. Vol. 117, no. 23. 3 December 1945. p. 123.
  19. ^ "(advertisement)". Steel. Vol. 117, no. 23. 3 December 1945. p. 222.
  20. ^ "Present, Past and Pending". Steel. Vol. 118, no. 3. 21 January 1946. p. 51.
  21. ^ "Bauxite Gets Aluina Plant". Hope Star. 9 August 1941. p. 1.
  22. ^ "Two Aluminum Plants Leased by Reynolds". Steel. Vol. 118, no. 3. 21 January 1946. p. 71.
  23. ^ Congress Surplus Property Board (September 21, 1945). Aluminum Plants and Facilities. p. 54.
  24. ^ Department of Commerce, Business and Defense Service Administration (November 1956). "III: Structure of the United States Aluminum Industry". Materials Survey Aluminum, Compiled for the Office of Defense Mobilization. p. 1. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  25. ^ a b "Arkansas Aluminum Plant to Start Production This Week". Hope Star. 17 July 1942. p. 5.
  26. ^ "Two Aluminum Plants Leased by Reynolds". Steel. Vol. 118, no. 3. 21 January 1946. p. 71.
  27. ^ Congress Surplus Property Board (September 21, 1945). Aluminum Plants and Facilities. p. 57.
  28. ^ "Present, Past and Pending". Steel. Vol. 118, no. 10. 11 March 1946. p. 63.
  29. ^ Congress Surplus Property Board (September 21, 1945). Aluminum Plants and Facilities. p. 61.
  30. ^ "Reynolds Building Largest Gas-Burning Engine Plant In World At County Side". San Patricio County News. May 24, 1951.

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