Our History

As global refractory leaders, we are in a position to drive positive change in our industry, and the industries that rely on us.

The history of RHI Magnesita dates back to the year 1834. And we are proud of our long tradition. Our almost 200 years of experience in the refractory industry forms the basis of the position we hold today: We are the driving force in the refractory industry!


1834: Establishment of the fireclay factory Chamottefabrik F. Didier in Podejuch by Friedrich Ferdinand Didier near Stettin (then Prussia, today Poland). (RHI)

1881: Carl Spaeter discovers the magnesite deposit in Veitsch (Styria, Austria). (RHI)

1888: Foundation of a refractories plant in Valenciennes, France. The company is named “Société des Brinques et Pierres Blanches et Ciment de Fer Northomb et Cie”. (Magnesita)

1889: Baker Refractories is founded in York. It is the first American company to offer calcined dolomite for use as maintenance materials and refractory repair for steelmaking furnaces. (Magnesita)

1899: Establishment of Veitscher Magnesitwerke Actien-Gesellschaft. (RHI)

1900: Foundation of Dolomie Française in Flaumont, France. (Magnesita)

1908: Discovery of the magnesite deposit at Millstätter Alpe (Carinthia, Austria) by mining engineer Josef Hörhager. Emil Winter, a German-American, acquires the mining rights and founds the Austro-American Magnesite Company. (RHI)

1909: Dolomitwerke is founded in Hagen, Germany, by August Thyssen. (Magnesita)

1919: Atilio Franchi establishes Dolomite Franchi, a company manufacturing dolomite-based refractory products, in Marone, Italy. (RHI)

1920: Beginning of brick production in Valenciennes. Beginning of production in Kruft and Hagen, Germany. (Magnesita)

1939: Magnesita’s foundation after the discovery of magnesite deposits in Brumado (BAHIA), Brazil. (Magnesita)

1944: Beginning of Magnesita’s refractories production in Contagem / Minas Gerais, Brazil. (Magnesita)

1959/60: Veitscher Magnesitwerke establishes the research and development institute in Leoben, Austria, which is still based there today. (RHI)

1960: Beginning of brick production at Baker, in York. Expansion of operations in Brazil and the beginning of exports to South America. Magnesita founds its first subsidiary outside Brazil, RASA in San Nicolás, Argentina. (Magnesita)

1969: Magnesita Going Public. (Magnesita)

1970: CEC (Lafarge) acquires Dolomie Française and Société des Brinques et Pierres Blanches et Ciment de Fer et Cie Northomb. Creation of Magnesita’s Research and Development Center in Contagem (Minas Gerais). (Magnesita)

1971: Creation of Montec – engineering and assembly services in the civil engineering segment. (Magnesita)

1973: Listing on the stock exchange. (Magnesita)

1980: Acquisition of Refratec, which allows Magnesita domestic production of fused magnesia. (Magnesita)

1987: Management buyout of the American General Refractories Co. – Radex Heraklith Industriebeteiligungs AG is created. (RHI)

1990: Beginning of the pioneering model of cost per performance (CPP)., based on customer performance and not on sales volume. The focus shifts to product quality and supply of integrated refractory solutions, improving customers’ production processes. Beginning of Magnesita’s operations in the cement segment. (Magnesita)

1992: The Valenciennes and Flaumont plants are acquired by the Lhoist Group to become Lhoist Refractories. (Magnesita)

1993: Merger of the two traditional Austrian companies Radex Austria AG and Veitscher Magnesitwerke Actien-Gesellschaft to form Veitsch-Radex AG. Acquisition of majority stake in Dolomite Franchi. (RHI)

1995: Acquisition of majority stake in Didier-Werke AG. (RHI) Port opening in Aratu (Bahia), where Magnesita has a concession to export as of this date. (Magnesita)

1997: Joint venture between Baker and Kaohsiung (Taiwan). (Magnesita)

1998: Establishment of RHI AG, then a holding company. (RHI)

1999: Takeover of GIT/Harbison-Walker, USA. (RHI) Lhoist acquires Dolomitwerke Wülfrath resulting in the operating company called Wülfrath Refractories. (Magnesita)

2000: Service: expansion of operations to segments of refractory and electromechanical maintenance, and restructuring of services segment with a new focus on its business model. (Magnesita)

2001: Deconsolidation of GIT/Harbison-Walker within Chapter 11 proceedings. (RHI) Lhoist acquires the Baker Group and as a result, Wülfrath Refractories and the Baker Group are now owned by the same company. After this acquisition, the shares of Lhoist (Wülfrath & Baker Group) have their name changed to LWB (Lhoist, Wülfrath and Baker) (Magnesita)


2006: Sale of Heraklith AG. The strategic reorientation with a focus on refractories is completed. (RHI) Rhone Capital acquires LWB. (Magnesita)

2007: Integration of Monofrax, the leading supplier of fused cast refractory products for the glass industry. (RHI) GP Investments acquires the control of Magnesita. (Magnesita)


2008: Acquisition of two ISO plants from Foseco. (RHI) Acquisition of LWB and listing on São Paulo Stock Exchange New Market. Acquisition of Insider, a Brazilian producer of precast and monolithic refractory with high technology, focused on steelmaking. (Magnesita)


2010: 100% takeover of Didier-Werke AG. (RHI)

2011: Takeover of RHI Normag AS, RHI Podolsk Refractories and Premier Periclase Ltd. (RHI)

2012: 100% takeover of Stopinc AG. (RHI) New strategic view: To be the best provider of refractory and minerals solutions, leveraging and developing our mineral resources. (Magnesita)

2013: Acquisition of 69.9% stake in Orient Refractories Ltd. (RHI) Acquisition of Reframec Manutenção e Montagens de Refratários Ltda, a leader in installation and repair services for refractories used in cement production. Acquisition of Dalian (China) – Mayerton Refractories Co. Limited (“DMR”) – a factory of refractory materials based on carbon magnesia. (Magnesita)

2016: Sale of Monofrax. (RHI) Holding Mag International (UK). (Magnesita)

2017: Merger of two leading refractory companies RHI and Magnesita to form RHI Magnesita, the driving force of the refractory industry. The RHI Magnesita shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange Market under RHIM.