Imtech celebrates 150th anniversary
Imtech (technical services provider in Europe) is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Exactly 150 years ago, Jan Jacob van Rietschoten put behind him his career as sea captain in the long-haul shipping trade and in 1860 started working as an independent stevedore in Rotterdam. He was one of the first in Europe to use steam power for loading and unloading ships. This formed the start of Van Rietschoten & Houwens, an innovative Dutch technological company that established its name as pioneer and innovator during the industrial revolution, and this, in turn, then formed the basis of Imtech today.
René van der Bruggen, CEO of Imtech: ‘In 2010, Imtech is celebrating its 150th anniversary. We can look back with pride on a rich history with technology consistently as its core activity. From the first electric railway (1888), the first basic automation on board ships (1930), the invention of energy-saving cogeneration stations and decentralised power plants (1935), the broad application of central heating and air conditioning (around 1960) through to present-day 2010 with our ‘green’ buildings, ‘green’ data centres and high-tech power plants. Like its forerunners Imtech continues to play in the ‘premier league’ of the world of technology.’
Van Rietschoten & Houwens: outstanding technical innovator
In 1860 the Dutchman Jan Jacob van Rietschoten laid the foundations in Rotterdam for the Imtech of today. From 1872 onwards the company, now under the name Van Rietschoten & Houwens (R&H), was always at the forefront of all of the latest technical advances produced by the industrial revolution. In 1888 the combination of electrical and mechanical solutions was applied for the first time. This still forms the basis of the success of the Imtech of today. R&H was involved in countless technical innovations. Examples include the first electric public lighting (1888), the first telephone exchange (1901) and the first analogue computers for use in Dutch universities (1963). In 1967 Internatio acquired R&H.
Imtech = E + ICT + M
Internatio (1863) and Müller (1878) - each with their own rich history - played deciding roles in the creation of Imtech. In 1970 they decided to merge, becoming Internatio-Müller N.V. The following period was characterised by a series of acquisitions. Around 1990 Internatio-Müller was a conglomerate of more than 100 companies, of which about 35 were specialists in technology, including R&H. In 1993, these technical companies were grouped together to form Internatio-Müller Techniek, soon giving rise to the easier and more international sounding name of Imtech. Then in 1995 a strategic blueprint for Imtech was presented. This was expressed as a formula: Imtech = E + ICT + M, in other words, the combination of electrical engineering (E), information and communication technology (ICT) and mechanical engineering (M), which leads to total technical solutions with high added value. The blueprint sketched the ambition to create a complete column of technical services and thereby the design for the first European growth perspective. Imtech had arrived!
From 7,000 to 23,000 employees
During the years following 1995 the various Imtech companies increasingly collaborated. With the acquisition in 1996 of Turnkiek (an innovative software specialist), Imtech took its first steps on the path to ‘the modern’ ICT world. This was followed by the acquisition of ROM (Rudolph Otto Meyer) in 1997, making Imtech one of the strongest players in technical services provision in Germany. In 2000 Internatio-Müller decided to disinvest all the non-technological activities and to concentrate fully on one strategic core activity: technology. Internatio-Müller became Imtech in 2001 and this introduced an ambitious new company to be quoted on the Euronext stock market in Amsterdam. The years that followed were characterised by fast growth, both organic as well as by a large number of acquisitions. Imtech gained strong positions in Europe as well as in the global marine market. From the 7,000 employees (and revenue of 350 million euro) in 1993, Imtech has expanded to 23,000 employees in 2009 (with revenue of more than 4.3 billion euro).
Some of the important dates from 150 years of Imtech’s history
- 1860: Sea captain Jan Jacob van Rietschoten starts working as a stevedore
- 1865: Use of steam power for loading and unloading ships
- 1872: Van Rietschoten & Houwens (R&H) is created, specialising in mechanical engineering 1881: Internatio (forerunner to Imtech) was first quoted on the Stock Exchange in Amsterdam
- 1885: Jan Jacob van Rietschoten II added an electrical engineering department to R&H
- 1885: R&H provides solutions for first electric railway in the Netherlands
- 1887: First electric public lighting in the Netherlands in ‘De Passage’ in Rotterdam
- 1888: First combination of mechanical and electrical engineering in the Netherlands
- 1900: R&H expands to become the technical innovator in the Netherlands
- 1901: R&H realises one of the first telephone exchanges in the Netherlands
- 1930: Start of above ground electrification in the Netherlands
- 1935: Assignment to provide the electrical engineering on board ‘S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam’
- 1936: R&H creates the first R&D centre for electrical innovation in the Netherlands
- 1949: R&H expands its workforce to 1,000 employees
- 1950: International expansion R&H, including large-scale electrification of parts of Australia
- 1957: Launching of ‘S.S. Rotterdam’; several of Imtech’s forerunners worked on this project
- 1960: First electronic controls in the Netherlands, originating from R&H’s R&D centre
- 1963: R&H supplies the first (life-size) analogue computer to Dutch universities
- 1967: Internatio N.V acquires Van Rietschoten & Houwens
- 1970: Merger of Internatio N.V. with Wm. H. Müller & Co. creating Internatio-Müller N.V.
- 1993: Internatio-Müller combines 35 technical companies creating Imtech: 7,000 employees and revenue of 350 million euro
- 1995: Strategic growth plan Imtech, focus: provision of multidisciplinary technical services
- 1996: Acquisition of first ICT business (Turnkiek), start build-up of ICT competence
- 1997: Acquisition of ROM (Rudolph Otto Meyer) in Germany, start of European expansion
- 2001: Transformation Internatio-Müller N.V. to Imtech N.V, first stock market quotation of Imtech’s shares
- 2009: Imtech, leading European technical services provider with a strong position in the global marine market, 23,000 employees and revenue of 4.3 billion euro