Between Tradition and the Future

WREDE - the name of the medium-sized company based in Arnsberg stands for three success stories through the ages:

  • Established in 1880 in Niederbergheim on the Möhne, and later based in Hüsten as a sawmill and plywood plant
  • Growing rapidly: From 1958 the DUROpal factory and, later on from 1968, in the Arnsberg industrial area “Große Wiese” [German for “Big Meadow”]
  • With the introduction of the holding company concept, the company has completely reorganized organizationally and strategically since 1982

In its history of more than 135 years, the WREDE company has thus completely reoriented itself three times. It has, however, always remained a family company. WREDE has been entrepreneurially successful since 1880, now already in the fourth generation. This was only possible because each generation met the business challenges it faced, pursuing new paths with its own ideas and concepts.

Success Story Part 1

The first success story began in 1880, when Eberhard Wrede Senior leased the mill in Niederbergheim and operated a lucrative sawmill business, trading pit props for the collieries in the Ruhr region.

In 1920, his son Eberhard Wrede Junior took over the company, which moved to Hüsten in 1934. There he changed the production: wooden barrels for the margarine industry replaced the pit prop cutting business and a planing mill completed the sawmill. At that time, it was almost regarded as an exemplary operation, in which all kinds of timber were cut.

After the Second World War, the company director expanded his company with a plywood factory. There he produced carpentry and plywood panels as well as room doors.

Success Story Part 2

The year 1958 marks the beginning of the second success story. Eberhard Wrede’s son Paul changed the company’s production from timber to plastic. Under the brand name DUROpal he introduced decorative laminated panels. Henceforth, the customers for this process-technically complex product were no longer sought just in the company’s own region, but also far beyond.

The WREDE company opened up an entirely new, and above all, international market, with foreign subsidiaries in France, England and Austria. The further growth of the company again made a move necessary - in 1969, the new DUROpal plant was inaugurated on a greenfield site in Bruchhausen. At that time, it was the most advanced laminated panel plant in Europe, with high productivity thanks to fully automatic production.

With great skill, Paul Wrede ensured that the ever-changing requirements were optimally implemented in terms of manufacturing technology. In the period that followed, DUROpal succeeded in becoming a market-leading manufacturer of laminated panels and elements in Europe.

Success Story Part 3

The sudden death of Paul Wrede in 1982 marked a turning point, after which the third success story began. In the time that followed, Andreas and Thomas Wrede decided to further develop the group of companies within the framework of the holding. In order to spread the entrepreneurial risk and to safeguard the assets, there was also to be diversification into new business areas, in addition to the orientation of the subsidiaries towards market penetration and internationalization.

The first step in the implementation of this concept was already taken in 1986, when DUROpal was integrated into a new joint venture together with the Pfleiderer Group. In 1989, after the withdrawal of Andreas Wrede as manager, Helmut Schmidt joined WREDE Industrieholding as the new second manager. The new leadership duo initially focused on the systematic expansion of INTERPRINT as a globally operating décor printer. However, 1991 also marked the establishment of the new business segment “Household Items” in order to broaden the base of WREDE Industrieholding.

This success shows that the fourth generation is also on the right track. Since 1982, the Wrede group of companies has increased its revenue from 14 million euros to what will soon be 400 million euros in their current business segments. Expansion of the Group will continue to be pursued.

1880 – 1920
Eberhard Wrede
der Ältere

Eberhard Wrede der Ältere

1920 – 1958
Eberhard Wrede
der Jüngere

Eberhard Wrede der Jüngere

1956 – 1982
Paul Wrede

Paul Wrede

1975 – 1987
Helmut Ofterdinger

Helmut Ofterdinger

seit 1989
Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt

1985 – 2015
Thomas Wrede

Thomas Wrede

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