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Rheinmetall AG
Company typePublic (Aktiengesellschaft)
Founded13 April 1889; 135 years ago (1889-04-13)
FounderLorenz Zuckermandel
Key people
ProductsAutomotive parts, military vehicles, autocannons, ATGMs, anti-aircraft defence systems, artillery, mortars, tank guns, munitions, ammunition, fuze systems, electronics
RevenueIncrease €6.410 billion (2022)[1]
Increase €754 million (2022)[1]
Steady €535 million (2022)[1]
Total assetsIncrease €8.089 billion (end 2022)[1]
Total equityIncrease €3.083 billion (end 2022)[1]
Number of employees
Increase 33.700 (2024)
Websitewww.rheinmetall.com/en Edit this at Wikidata

Rheinmetall AG is a German automotive and arms manufacturer, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Group was promoted to the DAX, Germany's leading share index, in March 2023.[2] It is the fifth largest arms manufacturer in Europe, and produces a variety of armored fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, in both wheeled and tracked versions.



Founding and Early Growth


In April 1889, the Hörder Bergwerks- und Hütten-Verein founded the Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Actiengesellschaft under General Director Josef Massenez, to produce ammunition for the German Empire. The Thuringian engineer Heinrich Ehrhardt (1840-1928) oversaw the construction of the Rheinmetall plant in Düsseldorf and managed it until 1920. He made many of his patents and inventions available to the company and contributed significantly to the technical development of many Rheinmetall products. In December 1889, the newly founded factory in Düsseldorf-Derendorf on Ulmenstraße began production.

The company expanded very quickly in the following years, partly due to government orders and partly because patents were obtained for two processes for manufacturing seamless tubes in 1891 and 1892. In order to meet the increased demand for steel resulting from the expansion of the main plant, Metallwerk Ehrhardt & Heye AG in Düsseldorf-Rath was acquired in 1892 and incorporated into the company in 1896.

In 1896, Rheinmetall presented the world's first rapid-fire gun suitable for field service, with variable recoil and combined barrel recoil and a forward feed device. It was based on patents by the engineer Konrad Haußner. The Prussian artillery testing commission rejected it, either misjudging or not realising the possibilities. After the successful introduction of recoil-operated guns by France (Canon de 75 mle 1897), this attitude changed and the development became a great economic success for Rheinmetall. In 1901, on the initiative of Heinrich Ehrhardt, Rheinmetall took over the bankrupt Munitions- und Waffenfabrik AG in Sömmerda, expanding its product range.

World War I and the interwar period


In the following years, Rheinmetall also grew due to orders from abroad. In 1906, the factory in Düsseldorf was expanded. At the beginning of the First World War in 1914, Rheinmetall was one of the largest armaments manufacturers in the German Empire, and employed almost 8,000 people. By the end of the war, the workforce had increased to almost 48,000 workers and employees, including around 9,000 women.The built-up area at the main plant quadrupled during this time.

After the war, the armaments production came to a standstill and Rheinmetall had to lay off employees. The provisions of the Treaty of Versailles made it necessary to switch to civilian products. Rheinmetall therefore produced locomotives, railway carriages, agricultural machinery and steam ploughs in the Rhineland. The factory in Sömmerda produced precision mechanical devices such as typewriters and calculating machines. Steel production in Rath was increased to ensure the production of civilian goods.

From 1921, Allied regulations once again permitted the production of weapons systems in small quantities. However, the plant in Düsseldorf-Derendorf was occupied by Belgian and French troops in 1921, during the Allied occupation of the Rhineland, and from 1923 to 1925 during the occupation of the Ruhr, and was partially devastated. Due to a lack of orders, civilian production had to be discontinued except for the manufacture of steam ploughs. In 1925, the state holding company VIAG of the German Reich bought a majority stake in Rheinmetall, as part of a capital increase.

In April 1933, Rheinmetall bought the locomotive manufacturer Borsig, which was about to be liquidated, and thus came into possession of a large factory in Berlin-Tegel. This led to Rheinmetall being renamed Rheinmetall-Borsig AG in 1936. As part of the rearmament of the Wehrmacht, Rheinmetall increasingly developed and produced weapons and ammunition on behalf of the Reich Ministry of War from the mid-1930s onwards. The products ranged from machine guns and cannons, anti-tank guns, mine launchers and field guns to anti-aircraft guns and railway guns. In 1937, the subsidiary Alkett (Altmärkische Kettenwerke) was founded in Berlin for the development and construction of armoured tracked vehicles. From 1937 onwards, it was the second largest German armaments company. In 1938, the company moved its headquarters from Düsseldorf to Berlin.

World War II


During the Second World War, armaments production was increased to the maximum and the development of new weapons systems was demanded. State influence through Wehrmacht institutions and the integration of Rheinmetall-Borsig into the state-owned company Reichswerke Hermann Göring increased to such an extent that the company came under complete state control and was integrated into the planned war preparations. In the last two years of the war, the production facilities were severely damaged or destroyed by Allied air raids.

After a heavy air raid on the factories in Düsseldorf, numerous production areas were relocated east to areas of the later GDR, such as Apolda and present-day Poland, such as Guben and Breslau. During the war, the number of employees grew to 85,000. By the end of the war, most of the Rheinmetall-Borsig plants had been destroyed. The plants in Düsseldorf, West Berlin and Unterlüß came under the control of the Western Allies, and under trusteeship. All properties in the territories occupied by the Red Army were expropriated. Some factories were completely dismantled by the victorious powers.

During the Second World War, numerous forced labourers worked in the Rheinmetall factories. In the Unterlüß plant alone, around 5,000 foreign forced labourers and prisoners of war, approximately 2,500 Poles, 1,000 from the USSR, 500 Yugoslavs, 1,000 from other countries, were liberated by British troops at the end of the war. Between 1944 and 1945, Rheinmetall-Borsig took over the sponsorship of the nursery for foreign children in Unterlüß, which was also a maternity home for forced labourers and a killing centre for their children. At times, Hungarian Jewish women from a subcamp of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were deployed in Unterlüß.

The period of German division


The Düsseldorf plant wasn't fully destroyed after the Second World War. Almost the entire workforce was made redundant on 30 June 1945. A small number of employees and workers apparently remained in service, carrying out clean-up work and small-scale civilian production. The Rheinmetall sites were hardly affected by dismantling.

German Democratic Republic ("East Germany")


In the GDR, state-owned spinoffs of Rheinmetall manufactured office machines, moped engines, cameras, and later printers and personal computers.

Federal Republic of Germany ("West Germany")


Production was completely banned until 1950. Rheinmetall-Borsig was then transformed into a pure holding company owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. Two independent subsidiaries were founded. Borsig in Berlin produced steam boilers and refrigeration systems. Rheinmetall in Düsseldorf built typewriters, shock absorbers, lifts, tanning machines and transport and loading equipment. At the same time, preparations were made for the resumption of armaments production as early as 1950. In 1954, the first enquiries from German and Swiss former armaments manufacturers to the federal government, who wanted to buy the company, can be documented.

An upturn came in 1956, when the 56 per cent majority share in Rheinmetall-Borsig, which was owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, was taken over by Röchlingsche Eisen- und Stahlwerke GmbH. In August, Borsig was sold to Salzgitter AG. The holding company was renamed Rheinmetall Berlin AG in November. The subsidiary in Düsseldorf was renamed Rheinmetall GmbH in 1957.

A new defence technology production programme was launched in 1956, with the establishment of the Bundeswehr. Rheinmetall produced machine guns, automatic cannons and ammunition. The first product was the MG3. In 1960, the workforce had grown to 3,080 employees. In 1964, production of heavy weapons resumed, such as gun barrels and mounts. Rheinmetall began equipping tanks and artillery pieces. Rheinmetall developed a tank destroyer cannon, a standard armoured turret and a tank howitzer. In 1965, the development of 120-millimetre smoothbore technology began under the leadership of Raimund Germershausen.

Parallel to the increasing sales success and organic growth, Rheinmetall acquired around a dozen smaller mechanical engineering companies between 1958 and 1973, primarily those active in the fields of packaging and forming technology and electronics. 1974/75 saw the first acquisitions of foreign companies in Portugal, Great Britain and the Netherlands. In 1978, production of the 155 mm FH70 field howitzer began. In October 1979, the first Leopard 2 main battle tank was delivered to the Bundeswehr. It was equipped with the 120-millimetre smoothbore gun developed by Rheinmetall.

In the following years, the company's civilian division was reorganised and strengthened in 1981 with the purchasing of multiple companies. In 1999, Rheinmetall sold off its packaging technology division to IWKA AG. In 1986, the Automotive Technology division was established through the acquisition of carburettor manufacturer Pierburg GmbH. Together with Diehl Munitionssysteme, Rheinmetall founded the Gesellschaft für Intelligente Wirksysteme (GIWS). GIWS specialised in intelligent ammunition, projectiles and other defence technology systems. In 1989, due to the changed global political situation, Rheinmetall adapted its corporate strategy by diversifying into civilian industrial products.



By acquiring a 100 per cent stake in MaK System Gesellschaft, part of Friedrich Krupp AG, between 1990 and 1992, Rheinmetall expanded its expertise in the field of new systems for land forces and special vehicles. For example, for use in environmental protection. In the same year, Rheinmetall delivered the first Wiesel armoured weapon carrier to the German armed forces. The company strengthened its involvement in the field of ammunition production by acquiring a stake in WNC-Nitrochemie GmbH in Aschau am Inn.

In 1993, Rheinmetall expanded its civilian product range by acquiring Mauser Waldeck AG to build up the Office Systems division, taking over Heimann Systems GmbH to strengthen the Security Technology division and acquiring a majority stake in Preh-Werke to expand the Automotive Technology division. In 1995, Rheinmetall expanded its expertise in medium-calibre automatic cannon systems, by acquiring a majority stake in Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH and increasing Pierburg's involvement in the USA. In the same year, Rheinmetall acquired a stake in STN Atlas Elektronik in order to strengthen its expertise in defence electronics.

In 1997, Rheinmetall underwent a fundamental reorganisation, in the form of mergers and new acquisitions.

In 1998, the first unit of the new gun artillery system Panzerhaubitze 2000, developed by Rheinmetall and MaK Systemgesellschaft, was handed over to the Bundeswehr, and the Rhino minesweeper from MaK Systemgesellschaft was deployed in the former Yugoslavia. Rheinmetall took over the defence technology of BUCK System GmbH and formed BUCK Neue Technologien. In 1999, Rheinmetall acquired a majority stake in Oerlikon Contraves, a supplier of combined cannon and guided missile systems for air defence, and Eurometaal Holding N.V., a manufacturer of medium calibre artillery. In late 1999, Rheinmetall took over the companies KUKA Wehrtechnik and Henschel Wehrtechnik, and later combined the two with MaK Systemgesellschaft, to form the new company, Rheinmetall Landsysteme.

2000 and onwards


In 2000, Rheinmetall's Executive Board decided to concentrate on defence technology, automotive technology and electronics. Subsequently, it sold off multiple subsidiaries. In 2004, the focus on the defence technology divisions was largely completed .

In 2003, Rheinmetall Landsysteme delivered the first new Marder 1A5 mine-protected infantry fighting vehicle. To develop the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle for the Bundeswehr, Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann set up the joint venture PSM GmbH, in which both companies hold a 50 per cent stake.

In the Defence Technology division, Rheinmetall W&M GmbH was merged with Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme GmbH, Buck Neue Technologien GmbH and Pyrotechnik Silberhütte GmbH to form the new Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH. Rheinmetall cooperated with Rafael Ltd. and Diehl Munitionssysteme GmbH for missile manufacturing contracts. In 2005, Rheinmetall Landsysteme became a co-partner in the newly founded Heeresinstandsetzungslogistik (HIL). The company is responsible for the maintenance of selected vehicles and weapon systems of the German Army. The Public Security business unit was established in response to the changing threat situation, and to offer systems for defence against threats to internal security and civil protection.

In March 2008, Rheinmetall acquired the armour manufacturer Stork PWV from the Dutch conglomerate Stork, thereby taking over a share of the production of Boxer tanks, which were developed for the Bundeswehr and the Dutch army. In May 2010, Rheinmetall and MAN founded the joint company Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV). This created a full-range supplier in the market for wheeled military vehicles, covering the complete range of protected and unprotected transport, command and functional vehicles for international armed forces. Rheinmetall holds a 51 per cent stake in the company and MAN 49 per cent. Between 2010 and 2011, Rheinmetall acquired the German activities of Verseidag Ballistic Protection. In February 2011, Rheinmetall increased its stake in ADS Gesellschaft für aktive Schutzsysteme.

In July 2011, Rheinmetall reviewed the sustainability of the company's two-pillar strategy, with the two divisions Automotive Technology and Defence. Both divisions were to be enabled to further develop their competitive positions with greater flexibility. In this context, Rheinmetall examined in particular the possibility of an IPO of Kolbenschmidt Pierburg (KSPG), which represents the Automotive sector in the Rheinmetall Group. However, the IPO was put on ice in 2012. In the same year, KSPG took over the plain bearing activities of Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd (KOEL) in Pune, India. KOEL is, among other things, the largest plain bearing manufacturer in India, and is primarily focussed on the domestic market there.

In January 2012, Rheinmetall and Cassidian combined their activities in the field of unmanned aerial systems and cargo loading systems in a joint venture. Cassidian holds 51 percent and Rheinmetall 49 percent of the shares in the newly founded Rheinmetall Airborne Systems GmbH.

In May 2012, the automotive sector streamlined its organizational structure. KSPG's previous six business units were bundled into three divisions: Hardparts, Mechatronics and Motorservice.

Russian invasion of Ukraine and the turn of an era


In the wake of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz coined the term "turning point" during a special session of the Bundestag in February. The associated change in German foreign and security policy included a special fund for the Bundeswehr, amounting to 100 billion euros. Rheinmetall Group CEO Armin Papperger expressed the expectation that Rheinmetall would benefit from this on a large scale by placed orders. In June 2022, Rheinmetall presented its latest KF51 Panther main battle tank at the Eurosatory arms fair.

In November 2022, Rheinmetall announced the purchase of Spanish ammunition manufacturer Expal, which was completed in August 2023 for 1.2 billion euros. Rheinmetall expected an increase in demand for ammunition following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and, in this context, an improvement in the supply capability of ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft gun tank. In December 2022, Rheinmetall increased production of ammunition in Germany, in connection with the war in Ukraine and a Swiss veto on ammunition deliveries.

Rheinmetall announced that it was building a new production facility for 20-35 millimeter calibre ammunition. In July 2023, the plant started production. In September, it was announced that Hungary would be the first country to complete development of its version of the KF 51 tank, and locally produce it.

In October 2023, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal presented Chancellor Scholz with the certificate of registration of the joint venture Rheinmetall Ukrainien Defence Industry LLC, based in Kyiv, which began operations in the same month. It was announced in December 2023 that Rheinmetall planned to produce the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the TPz Fuchs Armored Personnel Carrier in Ukraine. Rheinmetall intends to have the first units come off the production line sometime in 2024.[3]

An additional 200,000 artillery shells are to be manufactured at a new plant in Unterlüß from 2025.[4]

US intelligence services foiled a Russian plot to assassinate Armin Papperger (CEO and chairman of the executive board).[5][6]



With its Vehicle Systems divisions, Europe and International, Rheinmetall is primarily active in the field of wheeled and tracked military vehicles.[7] The Weapon and Ammunition division is active in weapon systems and ammunition. The Electronic Solutions division is concerned with the digitalisation of armed forces, infantry equipment, air defence and simulation.[8]

The Sensors and Actuators division provides equipment for industrial applications and e-mobility, as well as components and control systems for reducing emissions. The Materials and Trade division supplies plain bearings and structural components and operates the global aftermarket business.[9]



In fiscal year 2022 (2021), Rheinmetall generated sales of €6.410 billion (€5.658 billion). It had 25,486 (23,945) employees (FTE) and a reported EBIT of €731 million (€608 million). In the 2020 financial year (2019) Rheinmetall had €5.405 (6.255) billion in sales, with 23,268 (23,780) employees (FTE) worldwide.[10] In 2022, Rheinmetall was the largest defence company in Germany, and the fifth largest in Europe. Rheinmetall has been listed in the German DAX share index since 20 March 2023.[2]

The key trends for Rheinmetall AG are, as of each financial year:[11]

Year 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Total revenue (€ mn.) 5,896 6,148 6,255 5,875 5,658 6,410 7,176
Net profit (€ mn.) 224 305 335 −27 291 469 535
Total Assets (€ mn.) 6,358 6,759 7,415 7,267 7,734 8,089 11,943
Number of employees 21,610 22,899 23,780 23,268 23,945 25,486 28,054



In 2023, 66 % of Rheinmetall AG shares were held by institutional investors, 48 % of which came from North America, 21 % from Europe and 3 % from the rest of the world. 23 % of Rheinmetall's shares were owned by private shareholders. In 2023, other investors held the remaining 11%. The largest shareholders in 2023 were:[12][13]

Corruption charges


In 2012, Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), a division of Rheinmetall, was one of six companies that were blacklisted by India's Ministry of Defence for their involvement in a bribery scandal.[14] The companies were accused of bribing the Director General of Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), Sudipta Ghosh. RAD and the other firms were barred from any dealings with the OFB and all other Indian defence companies, as well as being blacklisted from participating in any Indian defence contract, for a period of 10 years.[15] RAD claimed that the charges against it are without merit.[16]

In 2012, Rheinmetall Air Defence was implicated in a corruption case in India, along with arms dealer Abhishek Verma and his wife Anca Verma, as lodged by the anti-corruption agency of India, the CBI, for bribing defence officials for securing multi billion dollar weapons contracts of the Indian military establishment.[17][18] In 2014, RAD Chairman Bodo Garbe and General Manager Gerhard Hoy were issued summons of the Indian courts. Subsequently a red-corner notice was issued for their detention through Interpol.[19] In 2016, the case was under trial in Indian courts.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d e Annual Report 2022 (PDF) (Report). Rheinmetall. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 December 2023. Retrieved 5 December 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Ukraine war propels arms maker Rheinmetall into DAX index – DW – 03/20/2023". dw.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2023. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  3. ^ NACHRICHTEN, n-tv. "Erste Panzer aus der Ukraine sollen 2024 fertig sein". n-tv.de (in German). Retrieved 25 March 2024.
  4. ^ NDR. "Munition für die Ukraine: Rheinmetall baut Standort in Unterlüß aus". www.ndr.de (in German). Retrieved 25 March 2024.
  5. ^ Connolly, Kate (11 July 2024). "US reportedly foiled Russian plot to kill boss of German arms firm supplying Ukraine". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 July 2024. Retrieved 12 July 2024.
  6. ^ Lillis, Katie Bo; Bertrand, Natasha; Pleitgen, Frederik (11 July 2024). "Exclusive: US and Germany foiled Russian plot to assassinate CEO of arms manufacturer sending weapons to Ukraine". CNN. Archived from the original on 12 July 2024. Retrieved 12 July 2024.
  7. ^ "Hungary to Participate in Tank Development With German Company Rheinmetall". HungarianConservative.com. Archived from the original on 26 December 2023. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  8. ^ "RHM.XE | Rheinmetall AG Company Profile & Executives - WSJ". www.wsj.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2023. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  9. ^ "RHM.XE | Rheinmetall AG Company Profile & Executives - WSJ". www.wsj.com. Archived from the original on 4 December 2023. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  10. ^ Rheinmetall AG. "Financial Publications". ir.rheinmetall.com. Archived from the original on 27 December 2023. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  11. ^ "Rheinmetall AG Umsatz, Kennzahlen, Bilanz/GuV". finanzen.net.
  12. ^ "Aktionärsstruktur – Rheinmetall Group". ir.rheinmetall.com. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  13. ^ "Stimmrechtsmitteilungen – Rheinmetall Group". ir.rheinmetall.com. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Bribery scandal: Defence ministry blacklists six companies". The Times of India. 5 March 2012. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  15. ^ "India blacklists defense companies". United Press International. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  16. ^ "Rheinmetall Air Defence AG cries foul over blacklisting". SP's Land Forces.net. 23 March 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  17. ^ "CBI charges Abhishek Verma, Rheinmetall official with bribery". Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  18. ^ "Abhishek Verma was promised $5m by Rheinmetall Air Defence to remove its name from govt's blacklist - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  19. ^ "CBI to push for red corner notice against top Rheinmetall executive". 6 June 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  20. ^ "Swiss authorities refuse to share information on Abhishek Verma - The Economic Times". Retrieved 7 August 2016.