Rheinmetall AG has a presence in two corporate sectors (automotive and defence) with six divisions, and is headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. In fiscal 2017, the company's 23,726 employees generated sales of €5.896 billion. Rheinmetall was the tenth-largest European defence contractor in 2011.
The Group's Automotive segment had sales in fiscal 2017 of €2.861 billion, while sales of its Defence segment for the same period came to €3.036 billion.
Rheinmetall AG is listed on the German MDAX; its shares are traded on all German stock exchanges.
As Rheinische Metallwaren- und Maschinenfabrik AG, the now Rheinmetall AG was founded in April 1889 in Düsseldorf by Heinrich Ehrhardt and his associates to take on a contract that Hörder Bergwerks- und Hüttenverein (a munitions company) could not fulfill. In 1901 Dreysesche Gewehrfabrik, Munitions- und Waffenfabrik was acquired.
After World War I, as a result of the limitations imposed upon Germany in the Treaty of Versailles, Rheinmetall produced non-military items including locomotives, steam ploughs and office equipment.
Military production recommenced in 1921, and in 1925, the Reich acquired a majority stake of the company. The railway locomotive manufacturer August Borsig GmbH was taken over in 1933; in 1936 the two merged to create Rheinmetall-Borsig AG. In 1938 the company headquarters moved from Düsseldorf to Berlin.
In 1956 a majority stake in Rheinmetall-Borsig AG was acquired by the Röchling Group. Borsig AG was sold to Salzgitter AG and the company name changed to Rheinmetall-Borsig AG to Rheinmetall Berlin AG. Defence-related production would also start again in 1956, the first product being the MG 42. In 1958 diversification into the mechanical engineering and electronics fields occurred and during 1979-1981 these non-defence sectors were thoroughly restructured. Carburetor manufacturer Pierburg GmbH was taken over in 1986 and the current Automotive sector was created.