Bunzl owes its origins to Moritz Bunzl, who opened a small haberdashery business in Bratislava in 1854. The business was continued by his sons who, in 1883, moved the headquarters to Vienna and began making paper at Ortmann in Lower Austria. By 1914 it had branches throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the family continued to extend its business interests into the textile, paper, pulp and cigarette filter industries.
The family emigrated from Austria in 1938 and the Company that is now known as Bunzl plc was incorporated in 1940 and in 1957 it became listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In the 1980s the family relinquished control and a period of diversification followed with mixed results. In the early 1990’s the strength of the company was restored and expansion resumed with greater focus, while businesses with less potential were disposed of.
In 1998 the Group was moved from Paper and Packaging to the Support Services Sector on the London Stock Exchange reflecting evolution towards outsourcing and increasing service orientation.
In 2002 the final break with the paper industry occurred with the sale of its paper distribution business and in February 2005 it was announced that Filtrona, which was involved in the light manufacture of paper and plastic products, would be demerged from the Group as a separate listed company.
Bunzl today is a focused distribution and outsourcing company organised geographically into four business areas, Bunzl Australasia, Bunzl North America, Bunzl UK & Ireland and Bunzl Europe.