A long-term investor
Wendel is a hands-on investor and shareholder that assists sector-leading companies in their long-term development. Wendel's business model combines the entrepreneurial passion born of a long family tradition with a culture of performance and accountability.
Wendel's three hundred year history has always been marked by a spirit of enterprise, a culture of industry and a commitment to the long-term.
The Wendel Group was founded in 1704 in Lorraine. The Wendel family has been concentrating on industry and services for over three centuries.
Long responsible for the development of the steel industry in France, the Wendel Group diversified in the late 70s. Today it is dedicated to the success of a diverse range of leading international companies (in the electrical, electronic and aerospace industries, in certification, in materials and special chemicals for construction, in health, in energy and in high-performance cladding).
The Group has its shareholding family as its anchor point, composed of more than a thousand Wendel family shareholders in the family company SLPS, with around a 35% share in the Wendel Group.
In 1704, Jean-Martin Wendel acquired the Hayange forges. From 1704 to 1870, the Group took advantage of the great inventions that would accelerate the development of its iron and steel production: iron smelted with coke, widespread use of blast furnaces and rolling mills, the development of railways, etc.
With the adoption of the Thomas Process, which allowed for the manufacture of steel from Lorraine ore, the family companies – Les Petits-Fils de François de Wendel & Cie, established in 1871, and Wendel & Cie founded in 1880 – became some of the leading European manufacturers of steel.
In the twentieth century, the Group was severely affected by the two world wars that devastated industry in Lorraine, but recovered and resumed its growth. The creation of the SOLLAC production cooperatives in 1948, then SOLMER in 1969, helped to meet the growing demand for sheet steel. Between 1950 and 1973, it was at the height of its powers. In 1975, it produced 72% of French crude steel.
The government thus decided to nationalise the French steel industry. The Group was forced to restructure. All of its non-steel activities were regrouped into a new entity: the Compagnie Générale d'Industrie et de Participations (CGIP).
Le gouvernement décide alors de nationaliser la sidérurgie française. Le Groupe est contraint de se réorganiser. Touts les actifs non-sidérurgiques sont rassemblés au sein d’une nouvelle entité : la Compagnie Générale d’Industrie et de Participations (CGIP).
Starting from 1978 the Group gained new momentum and began to diversify into new technology and service sectors such as IT services, quality control and health.
In 2002 Marine-Wendel and CGIP merged and formed Wendel Investissement, which was renamed Wendel in 2007.
Partial disinvestment from Valeo • 37.4% acquisition of Legrand
Gradual disinvestment from Capgemini
Transfer of Trader Classified Media
Sale of Wheelabrator Allevard • Transfer of non-strategic listed shareholdings: 2.1% in bioMerieux, 8.3% in Valeo • Establishment of a new system of governance (supervisory board and board of directors)
Launch of Legrand on the stock exchange • Acquisition of Materis, Deutsch in the United States, of Stahl and AVR in the Netherlands
Introduction of Bureau Veritas on the stock exchange
Transfer of Editis