The Koch brothers, Charles and David, became well-known for their libertarian and conservative politics, often portrayed as significant personalities that impact elections and government decisions. However, despite fame as political influencers, their primary activities centered around running Koch Industries Inc., of which they owned over 80%.
Koch Industries is a private company that has annual revenues topping $110 billion. The company is not really a single business, but rather a conglomerate of different companies under one umbrella. On June 5, 2018, David Koch retired from all roles related to Koch Industries due to health reasons and he later passed away on Aug. 23, 2019.
- Koch companies collectively employ over 120,000 people in 50 countries, and more than half are in the United States.
- The company owns subsidiaries that produce various goods such as resins, polymers, glass, oil pipelines, tissue paper, robotics, and more.
- Koch Industries controls some lesser-known companies as well, such as Matador Cattle Company, the Koch Chemical Technology Group, Koch Disruptive Technologies, and Koch Minerals.
- Koch Ag and Energy Solutions operate three separate companies: Koch Energy, Koch Methanol, and Koch Fertilizer.
- Koch subsidiaries are also involved in investing, commodities trading, and ranching.
Koch Industries’ Revenue Growth
Because Koch Industries is not a publicly-traded company, some of its key financial information is not readily available to investors. However, per an SEC fact sheet, the conglomerate has, since 1960, seen its value grow at a rate 16 times greater than that of the S&P 500.
The industries under the Koch umbrella are diverse, ranging from companies that deal with energy to spandex. Koch companies manufacture paper, process minerals, create fertilizers, and refine oil. Some of the subsidiaries are also involved in ranching, commodities trading, and investing.
1. Flint Hills Resources
Flint Hills offers petroleum products, gasoline, diesel fuels, jet fuels, and other oil products, as well as those related to polymers and other chemicals. The company’s ethanol plants have a combined production capacity of roughly 725 million gallons per year. The company also explores biofuels. Flint Hills markets a variety of chemical applications, coatings, automotive parts, and asphalt and sells products on a worldwide basis, including the United States, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, Central America, and New Zealand.
Koch Industries acquired Georgia Pacific on Dec. 23, 2005, for $21 billion. The company employs more than 30,000 people in over 180 locations. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but markets worldwide.
Originally known as Georgia Hardwood Lumber Co., Georgia-Pacific is a pulp and paper company that produces paper, tissue, toilet paper, and building products. The list of products also includes the well-known brands Quilted Northern tissue, Brawny paper towels, and Dixie cups. Wallboard, napkins, boxes, paper dispensers, and pulp round out the company’s offerings.
3. Guardian Industries
Koch Industries completed its full acquisition of Guardian Industries on Feb. 1, 2017, after earlier buying a 44.5% stake in the company. Based in Michigan, Guardian Industries employees 18,000 people in the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Think of Guardian Industries as a glass company. It manufactures glass for automobiles, building applications, fiberglass insulation, and coated glass for architectural needs. The company is also known for its research and development of new applications for glass, such as energy-efficient windows.
Koch Industries acquired Invista for $4.2 billion, including assumption of debt and certain interests, in April 2004. In total, Invista owns nearly two dozen brands and is involved in fabrics, fibers, plastics, polymers, chemicals, and the licensing of technology.
Invista makes spandex, resins, chemicals, and polymers and is a spinoff of DuPont. The company concentrates on textiles and owns numerous brands such as Lycra, Tactel, and Thermolite, as well as brands for outdoor gear, carpet (Stainmaster), and luggage. When Koch Industries purchased Invista in 2004, the conglomerate merged the polymers subsidiary with its existing KoSa subsidiary in order to create a new company under the Invista name.
Koch Industries paid $7.2 billion to acquire Molex in Sept. 2013. The company counted nearly 100,000 products in its catalog in 2013 and had more than 35,000 employees in 15 countries. For the year ending June 30, 2013, Molex had about $3.6 billion in revenues.
Molex creates electronics to solve technical problems in electric cars, robotic surgery, and even the Mars Exploration Rover. The company is also involved in fiber optics, smartphones, and defense applications. With about 80 years of history, Molex has been a critical part of the development of some of the most prominent technologies of today, including the first cell phones, HDTVs, and car radios.
6. Koch Ag & Energy Solutions
The Koch Ag and Energy Solutions company operates three Koch Industries subsidiaries. Koch Fertilizer manufactures and markets a wide variety of fertilizer products used in the agriculture industry and operates a global distribution network with terminals in North America, South America, and Europe.
The annual revenues from Koch Industries, making it one of the biggest private companies in North America.
Meanwhile, Koch Energy Services markets electricity and natural gas in North American markets. It uses its expertise in market analysis, purchasing, hedging, and energy logistics to provide comprehensive services to other companies. Lastly, Koch Methanol is a methanol supplier. It was originally established to fulfill the needs of Koch Industries subsidiaries, but it now works with other companies as well.
7. Koch Pipeline Company
Koch Pipeline owns pipelines throughout Texas, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The pipelines transport oil and refined petroleum, as well as natural gas. Koch Pipeline Company operates approximately 4,000 miles of pipeline in six U.S. states, the longest of which include the 580-mile Wood River line in Missouri and a 540-mile pipeline system in South Texas, both of which transport crude oil.
Other Notable Companies
Koch Industries also holds a variety of smaller subsidiaries as well as the major brands already mentioned. The Matador Cattle Company operates three ranches with 12,000 head of cattle, for instance, while the Koch brothers have their name on a variety of other subsidiary brands. These include Koch Engineering Solutions, Koch Disruptive Technologies, and Koch Minerals.