Meer dan 150 jaar ondernemerschap

The origin in 1854

Although, the company known as Bunzl was not founded until 1940, its origin goes back to Moritz Bunzl, who in 1854 registered a haberdashery company in Bratislava, current Slovakia. That company was named Emanuel Biach's Eidam. His 3 sons, Max, Ludwig and Julius, changed the name to Bunzl & Biach AG and moved the head office to Vienna in 1883. 5 years later they started their production in Austria, first at Ortmann and later at the paper factory Wattens. In 1938 the Bunzl family moved across borders due to political unrest in Austria. While many people moved to the US or Swiss, the Bunzl family members settled in England, which forced them to hand over the control over Bunzl & BIach AG.

From foundation in 1940 to 1980

In 1940 next generations Bunzl family members Martin, Hugo and George Bunzl founded Tissue Papers Limited. The company was founded on a £ 5.000 loan, started producing paper and paper products and is the company now known as Bunzl Plc.

In 1946 the originally Austrian company fell back in Bunzl hands and they started worldwide distribution, which founded the base for Bunzl’s international growth. In the beginning of the 60’s the company grew rapidly and by the end of the decennium the company owned 16 companies.

During the 70’s the market for paper grew massively and prices dropped. In reaction to this market change Bunzl started diversifying to computer services, tape and plastics. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that succesfull doing so.

From 1981 to 1990

In a change of course they decided to sell Bunzl & Biach AG together with her Austrian paper factories and during the first half of the 80’s the revenue increased when the company diversified in plastic packaging, distribution and industrial products.

In this period the first seeds were sowed for future success, when first steps were taken in the distribution of plastic and paper disposables in the US, starting with the take over of Jersey Paper in 1981. Although this American distribution company grew profitable, further diversification in the following 5 years had mixed results. The company withdrew from some lees successful companies, amongst which transport in the UK and food distribution in the US. Other companies were sold to reduce the loans. Amongst those were companies in electrical distribution and graphic arts, which were acquired not too long before.

Moritz Bunzl, the man that started Bunzl history


In the beginning of the 90’s the strength of the company was restored and the expansion was resumed with more focus. The distribution activities in the US, which developed with success, evolved into the delivery of a series of disposable items, and expanded into North America, Australia and, since 1993 Europe. In 1998 this European part based in the Netherland, by then Bunzl’s biggest and most successful organization, was renamed  Outsourcing Service. Today we know this organisation as Bunzl Foodservice.

In the meanwhile less successful companies with less potential were repelled whilst Bunzl evolved to a more focused group. In December 1998 Bunzl moved from the paper- and packaging sector on the London Stock Exchange to the added value services.


In july 2002, the final break with the paper industry took place when the British fine paper industry was sold. This marked the end of Bunzl’s part on the production, processing, distributing and trading of paper, construction materials and food and defined the current success of Bunzl: a business model that offers significant benefits to our customers in providing outsourcing solutions and service oriented distribution which allows them to reduce or eliminate the hidden costs of sourcing and distributing numerous goods not for resale.

Frank van Zanten, current CEO of Bunzl Plc

Bunzl celebrated its 50th year as a  FTSE100 company listed on the London Stock Exchange in June 2007. In 2008 Bunzl expended into South America with an acquisition in Brazil.

As from 2011 Bunzl keeps acquiring operating companies to the group and develops through a combination of organic growth and acquisitional growth. In 2012 the expansion in South America is broadend by acquisitions in Chili, Peru, Argentina and Colombia.

Today Bunzl is active in over 32 countries around the world in markets Foodservice, Grocery , healthcare, Safety, Cleaning & hygiene and retail.

History Bunzl Nederland

With the acquisition of Hopa Disposables in Amsterdam in 1993, Bunzl treads foot on Dutch ground. At that moment Frank van Zanten, the current CEO of Bunzl Plc, becomes part of the Bunzl family too as he works at Hopa Disposables at that time. The name of the company is changed to Bunzl Foodservice.

In 2005 Gelpa Verpakkingen in Arnhem is acquired. This organisation too changes name and is currently known as Bunzl Retail & Industry.

Between 2005 and 2021 Bunzl welcomes 11 other operating companies within the Netherlands alone. Sometimes companies merge with others, sometimes companies proceed as they are with their own name. All keep their own identity, business operations and entrepreneurial character. Keeping so is part of the Bunzl success formula within the Netherlands and worldwide.

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