In 2007 the former RAG Group was split and placed into the hands of the RAG-Stiftung. Today the foundation is the sole owner of the RAG Corporation, the majority shareholder of Evonik Industries AG, and the biggest shareholder of Vivawest GmbH.
RAG is responsible for discontinuing subsidized hard coal mining in Germany. Hard coal mining has already ceased in Saarland and in most of North Rhine-Westphalia. RAG is currently operating only two hard coal mines: the Prosper-Haniel mine in Bottrop and the mine in Ibbenbüren. Both of these mines will be closed at the end of 2018, when hard coal mining will cease for good in Germany. Until then, RAG will continue to be an important contributor to Germany's energy supply.
RAG is already preparing itself for the post-mining era, which will begin in 2019. After that, the company will focus on addressing the mining-related inherited liabilities with unlimited duration: the filling of the shafts, the repair of mining-related damage, and the management of pit water. Through these activities it will ensure that the consequences of hard coal mining are handled in a sustainable manner. The RAG Group also markets mining technologies and the associated know-how. In addition, the company prepares former coal mining sites for new uses — for example, as commercial property or for the generation of energy from renewable sources.
Evonik is one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies. Evonik works in a results-focused corporate culture that is geared to profitable growth and increasing the value of the company. In more than 100 countries with more than 36,000 employees, the company benefits from its proximity to customers, and its leading market positions.
The Group’s activities focus on the fast-growing megatrends of healthcare, nutrition, resource efficiency, and globalization. Evonik’s strengths include its well-balanced range of product areas, end markets, and regions, as well as its close, long-term-oriented cooperation with its customers.
Evonik’s specialty chemicals are used in a vast number of applications all over the world. For example, the Group manufactures essential amino acids as animal feed additives and sells intermediate products to the tire and plastics industries. Evonik supplies superabsorbers, a key component of diapers, and is also a supplier of the consumer goods industry in the area of personal care products. The Group’s customers include companies from the electronics, construction, and automotive industries. Evonik also produces high-performance lubricant additives and special materials for the production of paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants. Evonik holds around 26,000 patents and 7,500 trademarks.
In the summer of 2008, the RAG-Stiftung sold 25.01 percent of the shares of Evonik Industries AG to a company advised by CVC Capital Partners. During the pre-IPO private placements and the initial public offering of Evonik Industries AG in April 2013, the RAG-Stiftung reduced its share of Evonik to just under 68 percent. In September 2018 RAG-Stiftung successfully places futher 3.5 percent of Evonik Industries’ shares via a private placement, reducing its holding in Evonik to approximately 64.3 percent. The proceeds from the sale of the Evonik shares and the collected dividends enable the RAG-Stiftung to more broadly diversify its capital investments and to finance the perpetual obligations of German coal mining by RAG Aktiengesellschaft from 2019 on. The RAG-Stiftung will continue to divest itself of additional shares in Evonik over the long-term. However, it will do so in a market-sensitive manner and without any rush, and take the development of the corporate value and the situation on the capital markets into account. The foundation plans to permanently hold at least 25.1 percent of the Evonik shares.
The coal-mining industry has a long history of providing its workers with comfortable and affordable housing. The renting and upgrading of real estate is still closely connected with the mining sector today. Many former and current mining-company employees are tenants of VIVAWEST, which was created in 2012 through the operational merger of the predecessor companies Evonik Immobilien and THS. With its more than 120,000 apartments, VIVAWEST is one of Germany’s leading housing companies and the sector's leading firm in North Rhine-Westphalia. The company provides homes to about 300,000 people in 100 towns and cities in the Rhine and Ruhr regions.
The RAG-Stiftung has been VIVAWEST’s biggest shareholder since mid-2013. The RAG-Stiftung directly owns around 30 percent of the shares; the subsidiary RAG Corporation owns 18.2 percent. Additional shareholders are the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (26.8 percent) and the Evonik Pension Trust (25 percent). One of the company's important objectives is to continuously improve its residential real estate portfolio through value-enhancing maintenance measures, integrated neighborhood development programs, the replacement of buildings with new, multi-generation structures, and the modernization of existing real estate to increase energy efficiency. The sustained improvement of the existing properties is also a reflection of the company's sense of responsibility toward its tenants, its employees, and the region as a whole. All in all, VIVAWEST is a profitable and safe long-term investment for the shareholders, including the RAG-Stiftung.