History

Growing together: on the ball since 1755

The Debrunner Koenig Group is a company that is continually learning and evolving –and it’s been that way right from the very start. Founded in 1755 as the Hochreutinersche Eisenwarenhandlung in St. Gallen and renamed Debrunner & Cie in 1911, the company that merged to become Debrunner Koenig in 1988 has been part of the globally operating Klöckner & Co SE since 1992.

The foundation stone

The Hochreutinersche Eisenwarenhandlung (hardware store) was established in St. Gallen in 1755. The Hochreutiner family ran the business for four generations. In 1862, with no direct successor lined up, Theodor Scherrer took the helm. He was followed in 1885 by Jean Debrunner, and the company expanded and took a new name in 1911: Debrunner & Cie.

Succession and continuity
In 1930 the former limited partnership became a joint stock company under the leadership of Henri Debrunner and Max Scherrer, both following in their fathers’ footsteps. Behind them lay sixteen years of war and an economic crisis that put an abrupt end to the boom years. The steel and metal goods trade recovered very slowly, only to be put to the test again with the outbreak of the Second World War.

A new market leader
Debrunner & Cie AG defied the harsh headwinds and was able to put itself at the service of a flourishing market after the war. Over the next five decades, the Debrunner Group saw substantial growth, opening up subsidiaries all across Switzerland. With the acquisition of the Acifer Group with its nine subsidiaries, the Debrunner Acifer Group was founded in 1996: a new market leader in the construction steel and rolled products trade, with a large-scale distribution network and a comprehensive product range. In 1997 the company grew again, incorporating the Davum Group, and in 1999 the IBAG Zentralschweiz. There followed in 2002 the acquisition of the home automation division of Sabag Tavelli. 2004 brought with the takeover of Spahr AG further growth and continuity.

“Growing Together” – the 250th anniversary
In 2005 Debrunner Acifer celebrated its 250th anniversary. “Growing together” was the leitmotif for this special year. This theme reflects not only the exciting development of the erstwhile St. Gallen hardware store into a leading trading company – but also the challenges of tomorrow: our goal to serve our partners in commerce, industry and construction even better with comprehensive services and a seamless supply network. And in the process to transform our team of over 1,700 dedicated employees into an even more cohesive unit. Above all, though, we would like to add another chapter full of highlights to our long success story – with your help.

Stabilisation and further development
With the acquisitions of Metall Service Menziken (2005), Gauss AG in Zurich (2007), Lehner & Tonossi SA in Sierre (2007) and Bläsi AG in Bern (2010), the company further expanded its market leadership in all regions.

We look back with gratitude – and ahead with confidence!