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History

11 Oct. 1923

Wilhelm Albert (1878 – 1943) founds "Sauerstoffwerke AG".

First commercial activity: oxygen production for the oxyfuel welding and cutting technology that was discovered in 1903.

Shareholders include Westfalia Handels- und Industriekonzern AG, Münster; Münster Municipal Authority; Dresdner Bank, Münster branch.

Share capital amounts to 103 Mio. Reichsmark (RM). Münster Town Council is one of the partners, appointing the Town Planner Richard Tormin as Chairman of the Supervisory Board and giving Wilhelm Albert (free of charge) the premises on Albersloher Weg, which includes the former Municipal Gas Works.

The closing balance presented in the first annual accounts totals over 293 million RM.

10 Dec. 1923

Entered into the Commercial Register.

as from 1923

The partners gradually sell their holdings; the shares come into family ownership.

1924

Start of oxygen production. A no longer required air separation plant, from Greater Bremen, is dismantled and re-erected. The sales market is the metalworking industry in and around Münster. The company employs two machine operators, two fillers, a book-keeper, two apprentices and a part-time clerk. Share capital (after currency conversion) amounts to 206,000 RM.

June 1925

The company is renamed "Sauerstoffwerk Münster AG".

1925

Establishment of the company’s second operation, "Westfalen Kraft- und Schmierstoffe", for commercial and industrial requirements (benzene is supplied from the Westfalen Mine in Ahlen). The new operation develops well - an underground tank is constructed for storage and a fleet of tankers built-up.

1927

Construction of the first Westfalen filling station in Münster on Albersloher Weg.

Construction of a network of filling stations follows (usually just simple pavement installations with a hand pump); the fuel (benzene) initially carries the brand names "Westfalin" and "Westral". Even at that time, the station’s branding logo showed a prancing white horse.

1928

Following a ruinous price war on the oxygen market, a collaboration agreement was made with Vereinigten Sauerstoffwerken GmbH, Berlin (e.g. joint sales points).

Münster’s first large service station (at the Central Station) was opened, benefiting from what were at the time advanced electrically-powered bowser pumps.

Sales fall across every commercial activity as a result of the global economic crisis.

1933 on / the 30s

Change from pavement filling stations to service stations; the network expands. In 1938 there are some 100 Westfalen service stations.

The oxygen trade also expands beyond the Münster region into north-western Germany.

The company takes on more employees: in 1938 the company employs around 60 People.

1933

Dr. jur. Hugo Randebrock is appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board (having been a member since 1932), holding the office until his death in 1961.

1936

Work begins on construction of the current company premises at Industrieweg.

1938

Commissioning of 

  • a modern air separation plant at Industrieweg (for the extraction of oxygen and nitrogen),

  • arge, modern tank farm at Industrieweg (to meet rising demand for fuel and the growing service station network; capacity: 800,000 litres),

  • the new administration building at Industrieweg.

29 July 1938

Company name changed to "Sauerstoffwerk Westfalen AG". This change of name was probably at the initiative of Mining Director Schwake from the Westfalen Colliery in Ahlen, who had been a member of the Supervisory Board for many years.

30 November 1943

Death of company founder Wilhelm Albert – succeeded on the Board by his son-in-law Josef Fritsch and his son Herbert Albert.

1939- 1945

Service stations and fuel are put under state administration: large tank farm and tanker fleet are used exclusively for fuel supply controlled by the Berlin "Zentralbüro für Mineralöl GmbH" (Central Office for Mineral Oil) (ZB). The "Central Office for Mineral Oil" in Dortmund is responsible for the company. To ensure smooth operation the company has to delegate two staff members to Dortmund.

Plants and service stations were largely destroyed during the war, and production is partly outsourced.

1942

The second oxygen production plant goes into operation.

10 October 1943

Oxygen plant and gasometer are seriously damaged by bombing, after which production takes place only between air attacks; a captive balloon serves as a replacement gasometer.

Start of 1944

Work begins on construction of an acetylene works in Sendenhorst.

June 1944

Main administration relocated to Sendenhorst.

12 September 1944

Acetylene production totally destroyed during a daylight attack by incendiary bombs.

End of 1944

The Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) are pressing for construction of an acetylene plant in the vicinity of Münster to relieve the load on installations in the Ruhr area. Construction of a development plant begins accordingly in Sendenhorst but proceeds only slowly due to shortage of materials.

After May 1945

After the end of the war, extensive demolition and rebuilding of the air separation plant Begins.

June 1945

Oxygen production is resumed; production and sales rise continuously in the following years.

October 1945

Start of acetylene production in Sendenhorst; however in the next few years, low carbide allocation means that demand from trade and industry cannot be met (production continues in Sendenhorst until the opening of the acetylene plant in Münster-Gremmendorf in 1954).

1946

The company's fate in the next 30 years will be determined by the founder’s sons: Herbert Albert as Commercial Director and Chairman, and August-Wilhelm Albert as a Board Member and Technical Director.

1949

Foundation of a subsidiary works in Osnabrück. In the years which follow, an air separation plant, sizeable tank farm and large filling station are added.

1949-51

Lifting of economic controls on mineral oil. The service station network is recreated.

The philosophy now is: filling stations as service stations, combined with car parking, vehicle repair workshops, and car care facilities.

after 1951

Foundation of the "Westfalen Garage" at Münster Central Station; with 270 spaces, the largest car park in the city at the time. In the years which follow, Westfalen car parks are established in many of north-west Germany’s major cities.

1954

The third commercial activity: "Liquefied gas" (Westfalen-Gas) is founded.

Liquefied gas from the refinery is filled into steel cylinders in the Münster-Gremmendorf plant. Construction of a sales network in north-west Germany begins.

1962

Subsidiary Parkhaus GmbH opens a multi-storey car park in Münster on the Stubengasse (420 spaces).

1964

Herbert Albert is the first chairman of the newly-founded "De Bockwindmüel e. V.", the Board of Trustees of the Mühlenhof Open Air Museum in Münster.

1964/65

To counter the "growing labour shortage", four apartment blocks with 20 flats are constructed for "reliable workers" on the Münster-Gremmendorf site.

1965/66

New construction of a tank farm and oil dock on the Dortmund-Ems canal in Münster-Gelmer (capacity 40 million litres).

Around 1970

For the first time the sales passed 100mio. DM

The port fuel depot in Gelmer around 1970

1971

Upgrading the port fuel depot with 30mio. liters capacity in Münster- Gelmer.

1973/74

Collapse of the mineral oil and service station business.

20 June 1974

Death of Herbert Albert, with control of the company passing to August-Wilhelm Albert and Wolfgang Fritsch-Albert.

1977

Commissioning of the new air separation plant on the Münster site.

20 November 1977

Death of August-Wilhelm Albert; new Chairman is Wolfgang Fritsch-Albert.

1979

Take-over by Westfalen of Propan-Union GmbH, Püttlingen (initially as a subsidiary). Acquisition of the south German market for liquefied gas business, and the opening of a branch in Rosdorf near Göttingen.

1 November 1979

Closure of the Osnabrück air separation plant.

1980/ 81

New construction of main administration office building on Industrieweg, Münster.

January 1988

"Sauerstoffwerk" is deleted from the company name; the entry in the Commercial Register now reads: "Westfalen AG".

Westfalen receives award for environmentally-aware company operation from Germany’s Association of Independent Entrepreneurs (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Selbständiger Unternehmer - ASU).

19 Oct. 1989

Establishment in the Netherlands of first foreign subsidiary (Westfalen Gassen Nederland B.V., based initially in Enschede then in Deventer).

1989

Company takeovers, initially as subsidiaries, with integration into the corresponding divisions following over subsequent years; employee numbers rise from 679 to 865.

  • Ernst Rückwarth GmbH & Co. KG, Bielefeld (1 October 1989): largest acquisition in the company's history: service station network increases from 153 to 240 stations, integration on 1 July 1992.

  • KDE Kälte Zubehör Handelsgesellschaft Emsdetten (1 May 1989).

1990

Investment for the Gases division in the new Federal States: construction of sales and supply points.

Expansion of the main administration in Münster.

Introduction of the Westfalen Service Card, a personal or vehicle-specific fuel card for companies with their own vehicle fleet.

1991

Personnel headcount for the first time exceeds 1000.

1994

Foundation of a liquefied gas carrier (PSW Flüssiggas GmbH).

Introduction of SAP R/3 application software.

Annual turnover for the first time exceeds 1 billion DM.

1995

Westfalen Service Card accepted throughout Germany by Agip, Elf Minol, Total (WEAT association).

Outsourcing of liquefied gas logistics (new Federal states: PSW/ old Federal states: fht, both holding companies with competitors).

February 1995

Foundation of Westfalen-Gaz Polska Sp. z o.o., in Oppole, later Wroclaw, now part of Baltyk Gaz Sp. z. o.o., Rumia, a fifty percent holding company.

25 July 1995

Industrial gases and refrigeration division is certified to DIN EN ISO 9001.

November 1995

Opening of the industrial gases technology centre in the former machine hall of the air separation plant in the Münster plant; the welding centre in Osnabrück is shut down.

February 1996

A Münster Westfalen service station becomes the first in Germany to be certified to particular environmental criteria (in collaboration with TÜV); today there are 20

September 1996

Opening of the Magdeburg branch and the Wanzleben works from which under the Westfalen-Gas brand the new Federal states are supplied with technical gases and liquefied gas.

Establishment of the Westfalen Aktiengesellschaft Succursale France, (initially based in Sarreguemines, today in Rosselange).

December 1996

Environmental management system in accordance with DIN ISO 14001 and EC-Eco Audit order introduced; launched in Hörstel plant, with certification of the plant following in December 1997.

July / October 1997

Opening of a new medical gases filling plant at the Münster plant. Acquisition from a competitor of their nitrous oxide business.

 

September 1997

Opening of Ulm branch / Weißenhorn works.

1 November 1997

Acquisition of Salim GmbH and Elan GmbH, Paderborn: 15 service stations and 8 car washes in the Bielefeld / Paderborn / Dortmund region.

April 1998

Acquisition of the liquefied gas business from Mineralölhandel Leu GmbH & Co. KG, Hof.

March 1999

Foundation of Westfalen Bvba/Sprl with head office in Brussels.

April 1999

Takeover of Veba liquefied gas business in western region, transfer of Westfalen's heating oil business to Veba, and transfer of the large fuel and lubricants consumer business to Aral. Mutual acceptance of fleet cards agreed with Aral.

December 1999

Foundation of Westfalen France S.a.r.l. with head office in Forbach (since December 2005, in Rosselange), with the activities of Westfalen AG Succursale France being transferred to the new company.


1 December 2000

Takeover of the business shares held by Deutsche Shell GmbH in caratgas Flüssiggas-Versorgungs-GmbH in Wuppertal. Change of legal form of caratgas to a limited partnership.

September 2001

Commissioning of the second air separation plant at Laichingen between Stuttgart and Ulm

From 31 July 2001

Introduction of an updated company logo and trademark, change of division names (Technical Gases, Westfalengas, Service Stations).

June 2004

Commissioning of the substantially expanded speciality gases centre in Hörstel, including filling machines for carbon dioxide with 99.999 vol. % purity.

October 2005

Foundation of the fifth European subsidiary. Westfalen Austria GmbH has its head office in Leobersdorf.

April 2006

Takeover of 37 service stations, principally Markant branded, from Kuwait Petroleum (Deutschland) GmbH and their incorporation into Westfalen.

 

September 2007

Opening of Westfalen's first filling plant for technical gases outside Germany. The location is Heteren, south of Arnhem.

October 2007

Completion and commissioning of a helium filling plant in the Hörstel plant.

September 2008

Opening of the first filling plant in France designed for refrigerants and industrial gases and – quite separately from these - Protadur® brand food gases. The plant – which is also equipped for 300 bar filling - is located at Torcy in Burgundy.

 

August 2010

The sixth foreign business is Czech.

Westfalen founded its sixth foreign company on 19.08.2010. The benefits of the Czech Republic are mainly excellent infrastructure, a long tradition as an industrial location and not least proximity to our works and storage sites. The focal point of activities in the Czech Republic is initially refrigerants. Later, industrial and specialty gases are added.

November 2012

Westfalen offers natural gas and electricity throughout Germany.

March 2013

The Westfalen Group establishes a technology centre in Münster’s Höltenweg business park. The family business invests around 3.5 million Euro at the new site.

March 2014

The Westfalen Energy Centre is opened in Harkortstraße.