Since the start of 2019, the RAG-Stiftung has financed the perpetual obligations of the German hard coal mining industry in the post-mining era. The operational management of these perpetual obligations continues to be the responsibility of RAG Aktiengesellschaft. The foundation earns the revenue it needs for the fulfilment of its perpetual obligations through its other strategic equity investments.
The discontinuation of hard coal mining in Germany in 2018 closed a chapter of the country’s industrial history, but did not end the activities of RAG AG. This wholly owned subsidiary and close operational partner of the foundation performs the perpetual obligations. Its primary task is the optimization of pit water management.
The company also regulates mining-related damage, such as damage to buildings, plots of land or roads that is due to mining activities. These measures are non-perpetual obligations. Further examples include the renovation of old shafts, the dismantling of the operating equipment and the pension obligations. In the 2019 financial year, the new RAG AG control centre was put into operation on the site of the former Pluto mine in Herne. This centre manages and controls the post-mining tasks. In this way, the company safeguards its water-related processes for the protection of human beings and the natural environment. In all of its activities, the focus is always on groundwater conservation and the protection of the environment.
Evonik’s dividend payments to the RAG-Stiftung currently account for the largest portion of the foundation’s ongoing financing of the perpetual obligations. The Evonik Group, a leading global specialty chemicals company based in Essen, has more than 32,000 employees and operates in over 100 countries.
After selling approximately 5.4 per cent of its shares in Evonik in January 2020, the RAG-Stiftung now holds 58.9 per cent of the shares in this listed company. Since mid 2017, Evonik has been focusing on the goal of becoming the best specialty chemicals company in the world, with a focus on strong market positions, a pronounced culture of innovation, and sustainable operations. To this end, the Group aims to concentrate its portfolio on high-margin businesses that are less affected by cyclical fluctuations in the global markets. In 2019 Evonik took an important step in this direction by selling its cyclical methacrylates business.
The Vivawest Group, which has its roots in the construction of housing for miners, was created in 2012/13 through the merger of Evonik Immobilien and THS. The RAG-Stiftung is the company’s biggest shareholder, holding 40 per cent of the shares. Today Vivawest is one of the leading providers of residential housing in North Rhine-Westphalia, with around 117,000 residential units for about 300,000 people, distributed among approximately 100 municipalities. The Group’s services companies provide all of the key housing-related services and thus ensure high-quality housing conditions for the customers.
The company is expanding its real estate holdings in the Ruhr region and also at attractive locations along the Rhine and in the Münsterland region. In 2019 the property company once again considerably accelerated its investment programme for building new residential housing. It is planning to build almost 7,000 new residential units in North Rhine-Westphalia between 2020 and 2024 at a cost of over 1.2 billion euros. Around 20 per cent of these residential units will have fixed rents. Vivawest employs more than 2,200 people.
RSBG SE, which was founded in 2014, regards itself as a long-term partner of medium-sized companies. In line with this profile, the company is implementing a buy-and-build strategy for its investments in successful medium-sized companies. RSBG SE, a wholly owned subsidiary of the RAG-Stiftung, primarily invests in companies whose products and services are playing a significant role in global changes in the areas of demographic development, climate change and new technologies.
The business development of these companies is thus less strongly impacted by the consequences of economic and political crises. Against the background of the corresponding trends in the global market, RSBG and its partners from the SME sector will focus more strongly on special expertise in the areas of digitalization, Industry 4.0, cloud computing, cybersecurity and big data management in the future.