Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Actiengesellschaft is founded on 13 April 1889. The founding capital amounts to 700,000 Deutschmark and is increased to 1.1 million Deutschmark in December 1889 through the issue of preferential shares. The incorporated company does not have a majority shareholder; just under 80 per cent of the capital is distributed almost equally among the founding banks Schlesinger-Trier & Cie. in Berlin, Erlanger & Söhne in Frankfurt and Gebrüder Sulzbach in Frankfurt.
The first Rheinmetall general meeting is held in Düsseldorf on 11 November 1890. Since then, interrupted only by the war and post-war years of World War II, the company has held regular general meetings – since 1938 in Berlin, since 2020 virtually.
On 14 November 1894, Rheinmetall ordinary shares are listed on the stock exchange for the first time. The introductory price is 208% of the nominal value, rising to 243.25% at the end of the year. The Rheinmetall share has been listed on the German stock exchanges ever since, interrupted by the Second World War, and is thus the oldest listed share among the current DAX members.
On 31 March 1903, the preferential shares are admitted to official stock exchange trading in Berlin for the first time. The first official price is 78.1 per cent of the nominal value. By the end of the year, the rate rises to 91 per cent.
Rheinmetall's largest shareholder is Fried. Krupp AG, which holds 40 percent of the share capital in 1909. Krupp, as the main shareholder, does not attend the general meeting.
In 1925, the German Reich takes over the majority shareholding of approx. 52 percent in Rheinmetall. The shares are initially held by Vereinigte Industrie-Unternehmungen Aktiengesellschaft (VIAG), a holding company that manages all of the Reich's holdings and investments. In 1938, the shares are transferred to the Reichswerke Aktiengesellschaft für Erzbergbau und Eisenhütten "Hermann Göring", and in 1943 to the Reich-owned, later federally-owned Bank der Deutschen Luftfahrt AG. Krupp gradually withdraws from Rheinmetall.
On 1 January 1936, Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Actiengesellschaft is renamed Rheinmetall-Borsig AG. It has a share capital of 36 million Reichsmark, which is increased to 50 million Reichsmark in 1937.
The last general meeting during the Second World War takes place on 19 October 1943. On 23 December, Article II of the 2nd German Regulation on the Restriction of General Assemblies comes into force. Annual reports are also no longer published. The Executive Board and the Supervisory Board alone decide on the last dividend until 1961, which is paid in 1944.
The first general meeting after the war takes place on 25 November 1951. The meeting decides on the financial years 1944 to 1947 and the new capital, which is changed from 75 million Reichsmark to 15 million Deutschmark.
On 29 September 1955, Rheinmetall-Borsig AG's new Deutschmark-denominated shares are admitted to trading and listing on the stock exchanges in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt/Main.
On 23 June 1956, the majority of shares in Rheinmetall-Borsig AG previously held by Bank der Deutschen Luftfahrt AG i. L. are taken over by the Röchling family at a price of 17,685,850 Deutschmark (= 227½% of the nominal value). On 20 November, the company changes its name to Rheinmetall Berlin AG (since 1996 Rheinmetall AG).
On 7 April 1960, the general meeting resolves to increase the capital by issuing new bearer shares with a nominal value of 12.5 million Deutschmark to 25 million Deutschmark. At 510 percent of the nominal value, the Rheinmetall share reaches an all-time high. New share certificates bearing the name Rheinmetall Berlin AG are issued for the first time, after Rheinmetall-Borsig shares had previously been stamped over. Rheinmetall also pays a dividend of 6 percent for the first time since 1944.
On 4 August 1966, the general meeting approves the payment of a 12 percent dividend for the first time, which is increased to 14 percent in 1969.
The general meeting of 24 September 1984 approves a capital increase to 135 million Deutschmark. For the first time, employees of the Rheinmetall Group can acquire employee shares in Rheinmetall Berlin AG. Share certificates are printed for the final time on the occasion of this capital increase.
On 9 January 1996, the MDAX share index is introduced. Rheinmetall Berlin AG's ordinary share has been in the mix from day one. The Rheinmetall share is the only share value that will belong to the index without interruption until 19 March 2023. On 17 July, the general meeting resolves to change the company's name to Rheinmetall AG.
On 29 September 1997, the minimum nominal value of the Rheinmetall share is reduced from 50 Deutschmark to 5 Deutschmark. A survey conducted by the German Central Finance Department on 30 September 1997 shows that 24% of the ordinary shares are in free float and, together with 95% of the preferential shares, are held by around 15,000 shareholders. The major shareholder Röchling Industrie Verwaltung GmbH, which holds 65.5% of the ordinary shares, owns a combined 51% of the ordinary and preferential shares.
1998 / 1999
On 23 March 1998, the Rheinmetall ordinary share is exchanged for the preferential share in the MDax in order to reflect the preferential share's higher liquidity. On 30 December 1998, the Rheinmetall Group's shares are traded in Deutschmark for the final time. Rheinmetall AG's ordinary share closes at 43.00 Deutschmark, and the preferential share at 31.30 Deutschmark. As of 4 January 1999, the shares are listed in euros. The ordinary share opens at € 21.45, the preferential share at € 17.00.
On 26 June 2000, the ordinary and preferential shares are converted from par value shares to no-par value shares and from Deutschmark to Euro. On 1 August 2000, Rheinmetall sets up its own Investor Relations department for the first time.
On 13 February 2003, the price of the preferential share falls to a low of € 9.65.
On 23 November 2004, the owning family Röchling announces that it will divest its Rheinmetall shareholding. One day earlier, Rheinmetall preferential shares had reached a new all-time high of € 39.99.
On 10 May 2005, the general meeting resolves to merge the ordinary shares with the preferential shares. In this process, the previously 18 million no-par value shares without voting rights are converted into ordinary shares (previously also 18 million). The preferential share is traded for the final time on 24 June 2005.
From 3 April 2008, Rheinmetall issues employee shares for the third time in its history. Under the campaign entitled "Mein Stück Rheinmetall" (my piece of Rheinmetall), the approximately 10,000 employees at the 31 locations are able to purchase a large quantity of shares at favourable conditions.
2017 / 2018
In December 2017, the Rheinmetall share trades at over 100 euros for the first time, but falls back to below 75 euros over the course of 2018.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the general meeting on 19 May 2020 does not take place with shareholders in Berlin as originally planned, but instead as a virtual event via the internet. At the end of the year, the share price was € 86.58.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rheinmetall shares rise by 5.4 percent to € 101.20 on 25 February 2022 and exceed the €200 mark for the first time in their history on 28 March 2022.
On 20 March 2023, Rheinmetall shares are promoted to Germany's highest share index – the DAX – for the first time. The share replaces that of Fresenius Medical Care.