Hornschuch Milestones

The origin of Hornschuch - and the history of a global success 

In 1898, Textilgesellschaft Weissbach GmbH, which initially primarily manufactures bookbinding materials, is founded, laying the cornerstone for our success story.

In 1920, Konrad Hornschuch enters the company as a shareholder and founds Konrad Hornschuch Familien AG, which quickly experiences a remarkable boom. Konrad Hornschuch expands production to include artificial leather and provides the company with access to the leather goods market.  

In 1958, the brands d-c-fix® and skai® are introduced to the market at almost the same time and quickly developed into bestsellers. In the years of the Wirtschaftswunder following World War II, they ensure rapid growth for Hornschuch due in no small part to the new trend of creative DIY projects.

In 1980, surface design is revolutionized by our innovative films and the term skai® becomes synonymous for artificial leather parallel, even making its way into the dictionary. The early, efficient structuring of the company ensures continuous growth and strengthens Hornschuch in global competition.

In 1998, Hornschuch celebrates its 100-year anniversary.  With the motto "Success through Progress", the management pursues a long-term plan for extensive modernization.  Following massive investments in new facilities and the introduction of the integrated SAP R/3-system, capacities are successfully expanded.

In 2001, the Dutch Halder Group assumes the majority of shares and thus creates the ideal conditions for utilizing market potentials even better. Following the Halder participation, Hornschuch makes further investments and thus attains new power and mobility for additional growth in an economic environment of global concentration processes.

Starting in 2002, Hornschuch now pursues a strict two brand strategy. The entire product program of the company is now marketed under the umbrella brands of d-c-fix® for consumers and skai® for industry. Brand recognition is extremely high for both brands. They are both listed in the series "Deutsche Standards" under the "Brands of the Century".

In 2003, the turnover created by international exports is more than double the turnover created in Germany for the first time.

In 2004, Hornschuch is established like never before and consistently expands its application fields to promote worldwide market development.  The company holds a leading position as a surface specialist in more and more countries.

2005 is the sixth year of growth in a row and the year, in which the export share climbs to over 70 %.  In addition to the founding of our French subsidiary and a Russian representation, the industrial brand skai® is listed as the global market leader in the Langenscheidt series "Deutsche Standards".

In 2006, DZ Equity Partner GmbH and the L-EA Mittelstandsfond der L-Bank acquire the previous Halder shares and the Hornschuch management simultaneously increases its participation, utilizing additional management personnel, to just over 50 % – a lasting measure for long-term company success. In exterior films, the success story of skai® cool colors technology begins.

In 2007, the previous business areas "Industry" and "Consumer" are combined on July 1 and assigned to the area of Marketing & Sales.  The previous business area "Consumer" will function as the business field "home decoration" within this marketing and sales organization in the future.

In 2008, Hornschuch receives congratulations from everywhere, because the brands skai® and d-c-fix® have been on the market for 50 years and have had an unprecedented history of success. In May of this year, the ownership structure of Hornschuch changes and Barclays Private Equity holds a majority share of 80 % in the company.

In 2009, the company is once again in good shape after the first three quarters in spite of the reduction in turnover caused by the economic crisis.  During this year, Konrad Hornschuch AG acquires a three fourths majority in kek-Kaschierungen GmbH. Innovations such as laif®, the breathable artificial leather, and skai® nature base Biosynthetics, which consist of 80 % natural and renewable materials, set new benchmarks in the upholstery market.

2010 is a big year for Hornschuch: due to the founding of the Hornschuch Group and the purchasers start of O’Sullivan in Winchester (Virginia, USA), the company becomes a global group. In Weissbach, a Design Center is founded in order to bundle and strengthen design competence.  At the end of the year, Konrad Hornschuch AG wins one of the most important supplier awards, the "Excellence in Execution" Award by Johnson Controls.

2011 is an important and successful year: in the spring, Hornschuch is once again named the global market leader in surfaces.  In Winchester, a complete painting facility is built and commissioned at O’Sullivan with color grading.  As a result, the production of skai® artificial leather is also possible in the USA.  In the fall, the AG acquires the license to the brand alkor Deco Design and takes over large parts of the business of its competitor.

In 2012 Hornschuch’s consistent strategy of profitable growth pays off. The company has more than 1,000 employees at its headquarters in Weissbach. The company and its products receive several awards, including the red dot Award. Upholstery materials and furniture films are combined in the business unit "Interior".  The business units "Home Decoration", "Transportation", and "Exterior" are complemented by "Healthcare" (O'Sullivan).

In 2013 Hornschuch expands its capacities with the acquisition of the operations of era Beschichtung GmbH & Co. KG in Stolzenau (now: Hornschuch Stolzenau GmbH) and the construction of a new Logistic Center in Weissbach. This sets the course for a continued successful future.
For the management of all Hornschuch activities worldwide, the company will reposition itself in the group on October 1 of this year. Hornschuch Konzern GmbH will be renamed Hornschuch Group GmbH, whose president and CEO is Rolf J. Gemmersdörfer. Dr. Hans-Hinrich Kruse will be his successor as the CEO of Konrad Hornschuch AG. The new management board will be expanded to include the members of the previous management team: Roger H. Liebel (CFO and chairman), Lothar Machule (CSO and chairman), Jens Kleine (COO and chairman).

In 2014 the President and CEO of the HornschuchGroup, Mr. Rolf J. Gemmersdörfer, died unexpectedly on February 5. He indelibly marked the company and the success story of Hornschuch and will remain in our remains forever.
At the end of 2014 the Hornschuch Group establishes a sales company in China. Hornschuch (Shanghai) Surface Technology Co., Ltd. begins its work under the leadership of Dr. Xun Yu in order to further tap into the potential of the Chinese market.

In 2015 SAP is introduced at Hornschuch Stolzenau GmbH guaranteeing an even more intense connection to Konrad Hornschuch AG. kek-Kaschierungen GmbH becomes a full subsidiary of Konrad Hornschuch AG making it a wholly-owned subsidiary. Konrad Hornschuch AG acquires a minority holding in Sächsische Walzengravur GmbH (SWG) in order to secure and expand its technological lead in printing and embossing processes. The implementation of restructuring measures and the introduction of a matrix organization within the Hornschuch Group result in a significant earnings growth.

2016 starts with the rollout of the new Hornschuch Group guiding principles.