#wearealimex celebrates a landmark birthday soon, its 50th! Our story began in 1970. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since our founder, Helmut Geller, who sadly has now passed, began building up the family-owned company alimex. Incidentally, the name alimex is drawn from a combination of the words “aluminium”, “import” and “export”, and today represents the highest quality and precision in aluminium products worldwide.
A family-owned company – what exactly is that?
Family-owned companies are definition“businesses in which private individuals or members of their families hold at least 50% of the shares and in which those private individuals or members of their families are also members of the business’ management.”*
In alimex’s case, the family is our company founder’s widow and her two daughters. All three are alimex shareholders, with Dr. Philip Grothe managing the operational business.
This is where it all began … the invention of the cast aluminium plate
The success of alimex is based on this cast aluminium plate process, Helmut Geller’s invention. The aluminium ingot, heat-treated and thereby freed of tension, is cut open like a sandwich and shaped into the required panel shape. The cast aluminium panels produced in this way have a particularly low tension factor so have excellent dimensional stability. This makes them ideal for a wide range of industrial applications. alimex successfully took on this niche market and grew steadily.
“alimex’s success story came from very modest beginnings: just my father, a secretary plus an employee who cut the panels,” says Christiane Springmeier, one of Helmut Geller’s two daughters. “This has now grown into a successful company, active internationally, with nearly 200 employees and annual sales of €60 million (2017).”
Crisis years and a new beginning at alimex
alimex has also experienced hard times too though. One example is following the global financial crisis a good ten years ago. In 2009, alimex suffered a drop in sales of 60 percent. The banks sent warning letters, consultants came into the business, uncertainty and fear spread through the workforce. The fact that alimex still exists today is also down in no small part to our current CEO, who was brought in to review the business model as an external consultant, and who was so convinced by it that he joined alimex in 2014 as CEO.
“It is important to open up to outsiders when you can’t get any further on your own, especially in the case of family-owned companies. This is the only way to turn around and save the company, which is often at the very heart of the family,” says Christiane Springmeier.
Family-owned companies – a responsibility, not just a name
For alimex, a family-owned company means, above all: responsibility and respect. Being fair with one another, long-term and values-based employee loyalty, regional roots and social commitment in the region despite having an international customer base.
Rainer Schwengers, an alimex employee since 1989, sums it up: “Mr Geller took me in like a son and has always treated me fairly. Over the years, alimex has become like a second home to me.”
This is the aspiration we work towards every single day at #wearealimex.