WOB Timber GmbH
Rote Brücke 6-15
22113 Hamburg - Germany

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Tel: +49 40-714 877 0
Fax: +49 40-714 877 66
Mail: wob@importholz.de

History

Lumber - an indispensable raw material of nature

With this attitude, the pioneering spirit and the sense of the business the trader Heinrich Freudenberg founded a sawmill with lumber business in the town Altona, which has been independent at that time in 1902 . But the sawmill of Freudenberg - also referred to as Old Heini - had less success. So he was concentrated on trading lumber on specific places, moved his location to the Osterstraße 46/48 and activated from this place joinery, industry and private customers


Freudenbergs beginnings

From this time till the outbreak of war the first contacts has been attached to foreign producers in 1914. Freudenbergs buyer and sales manager Simon travelled to Spain, Rumania and Odessa of Russia. Because of the import of european lumbers the company earned a sum of profit.

Heinrich Freudenberg aquired stocks from the company J.F.Müller & Sohn AG, one of the leading german agent of lumbers. Till 1931 this company carried a storage with logs and square lumbers, which has been shipped as commission goods from oversea to Hamburg . A direct import of exotic lumber was not typical at that time. The buyer could look at the goods and buy them without any risk. Further more twice a year auctions took place with where people were interested of non-sold products. One of he most important buyer was Heinrich Freudenberg, who had special interest an Okoumé from West Africa.


With small and big ideas to success

But Freudenbergs looked already for directly resources of purchase. He wanted particulary initiate unknown species of lumbers like Limba and Iroko/Kambala. His brother in law Adolf Gätjens, who stayed in Golf of Guinea after the first World War, became his localwell-informed representative in Africa. From 1925 his new sales manager Alfred Warnemünde attended to bring the goods into market. The business of Okoumé flourished.

The prewar time was a period of changes. The sons Hans and Wolfgang Freudenberg entered as co-owners into the company and took over primarily the new assortment, lumbers for boat building and won therby customers of ship building industry.

In the 30`s Freudenberg expanded the company with the field of veneer lumber. For the railroad cabins the company looked for decorative interior woods. In this years the first teak charges came from Burma into the stock of Hamburg. The business flourished and further stocks were opened in Dresden and Neukölln.


Destiny years with future

The company survived the time till 1945 without any named damages. In those years good business was pure luck. But the cooperation with french sawmills brought so much lumber, that the capacity of the sawmill Lorenz exceeded. According to a long kind of conviction with the wood and office of forestry the company finally purchased the disused steam sawmill directly on Billekanal in Billstedt, the todays location of the WOB-group Hamburg.

After the war the business rested and the stocks of lumber were subject of the british occupants. Till June 1948 firewood had been strucked for the local population. After the monetary union, the return of the son Wolfgang from Chile and his numerous contacts, nothing stood in the way for reentrance of the import business. Till the end of 1948 lumber goods were just allowed to established by the Clearing Center JEIA, but the start of high-class Oregon Pine had been made. In the beginning of 50´s the trading of the second important supporting leg of Pitch Pine accrued. Also the business with Africa woke up shortly after the end of the war.


Changes with consequences

The company Freudenberg tied up on to the success of prewar time, the business flourished, but nevertheless a crisis approached in the company. The suspicion was confirmed that an association in Buenos Aires took purchasing commissions on all supplies in front. Wolfgang, who was assigned to this association, had to answer for itself in 1954. The trust between the brothers was destroyed and Wolfgang was paid off, an financial bleeding, from which the company could never recover again. 1956 Freudenberg senior died and Hans as the sole holder had to fight against enormous debit interests and abysmal cost management.

Hans Freudenberg had just one choice: On the 2 of June in 1962 the company Freudenberg changed into the property of Willi O.Bührich, an importer of lumber which settled down in Hamburg in 1954. Some of the leading employees were adopted and supported instrumental the new owner by the recapitalisation.

Willi.O.Bührich, at that time owner of two companies with importing lumbers with different directions, which complemented one another, were merged together under one trademark "WOB" but stayed still independent.


Modernisation step for step

In 1962 when the company stood on healthy feet again, the factory premises in Billstedt was modernized step by step and reinvested in new technics. Till the middle of the 80´s, where the import of logs decreased drastically, per anno circa 18 000 cubic meters of exotic lumbers had been cutted.

1976 the Ghanaian government ordered the first total export prohibition for logs. The lumber were cut now in the countries of origin and demanded the building of warehouses in Hamburg, which obtain the value from lumber. From 1979 to 1981 three warehouses with altogether of 7000 square meters of surface were built. Additional to that ventilation systems as well as efficient dry klin had to be taken into account.

At the 15. October 1982 they moved into the new and modern administration building of two floors, storage, production and administration was concentrated at one place.


One family company into changes

1987 the company owner celebrated his 65.birthday and took this moment as a occasion to expand the factory futher more and built up a fourth closed storage with 2000 square meters.

With an effect of 1.August in 1987 the companies Heinrich Freudenberg and Willi O.Bührich KG were converted in Gmbh & Co.KG. Stephan Bührich, returned from South America and stepped as the new manager into the company in 1988. One year later the whole leadership were assigned into the hands of Stephan Bührich and Willi O.Bührich stood advisory on the side of his son. Since the german lumber trader tried to feed themselves directly in overseas to avoid the importers, the WOB-group needed an course correction.

1993 Timber Holzmarketing (lumber marketing) were introduced, a new association with a young, modern image, which adresses itself directly to the processing lumber industry, that means producers of windows, stairs and doors. After succesful beginning more and more contacts are tieded up especially to companies in Slovenia, Croatia, Czechia and Poland. The company Heinrich Freudenberg also profits from the activity of the daughter companies.