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Koch Industries, Inc. (pronounced "coke") is a private corporation based in Wichitamarker, Kansasmarker with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments. Koch companies are involved in core industries such as commodities trading, petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, securities and finance, as well as in other ventures and investments. In 2008 it was the second largest privately held company in the United States (after Cargill) with an annual revenue of about $98 billion.

Fred C. Koch, for whom Koch Industries, Inc. is named, co-founded the company in 1940 and invented an innovative crude oil refining process. His sons, Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and David H. Koch, executive vice president, are principal owners of the company. Charles and David Koch each own 42% of Koch Industries, and Charles has stated that the company will publicly offer shares "literally over my dead body".

Koch Industries also is well known for its long-time sponsorship of conservative political activities.

Acquisitions and related milestones

The following is a partial list of acquisitions and related events:
  • 1940: Fred Koch co-founds Wood River Oil and Refining Company.
  • 1946: The company acquires Rock Island Oil & Refining Co. in Oklahoma.
  • 1959: The company changes name to Rock Island Oil & Refining.
  • 1959: Fred Koch purchases 35% equity position in Great Northern Oil Company in St. Paul, Minnesotamarker for book value, sight-unseen.
  • 1967: Koch's death prompts the company, now led by Charles Koch, to be named Koch Industries in honor of its co-founder.
  • 1969: Charles Koch and J. Howard Marshall II pool equity positions to obtain majority of Great Northern Oil Company. After 100% equity was obtained, the refinery was renamed Koch Refining.
  • 1977: Koch acquires 100% of equity in Abcor and later renamed it as Koch Membrane Systems in 1985
  • 1981: The company acquires refinery in Corpus Christi, Texasmarker, from Sun Oil.
  • 1986: The company acquires the C. Reiss Coal Company.
  • 1989: The company purchases the assets of the John Zink Company.
  • 1992: The company acquires United Gas Pipeline.
  • 1993: Elf Asphalt is acquired.
  • 1997: The company acquires Delhi Group.
  • 1998: Purina Mills is acquired.
  • 1998: The company forms KoSa after acquiring 50 percent ownership of Hoechst's polyester division.
  • 2000: A U.S. Bankruptcy court cancelled out all equity in Purina held by Koch, in order to maintain Purina's viability.
  • 2001: The company partners with Entergy Corporation to form the limited partnership Entergy-Koch, which includes Koch's United Gas Pipeline subsidiary.
  • 2003: Acquired fertilizer division of bankrupt Farmland Industries
  • 2004: Koch acquires the INVISTA fibers and resins business from DuPont. Entergy-Koch is sold.
  • 2005: Koch acquires Industrie Meccaniche di Bagnolo S.p.A. and later renamed it as Koch Heat Transfer Company S.r.l..
  • 2005: Koch acquires Georgia-Pacific, its largest acquisition ever, and surpasses Cargill as the largest privately owned U.S. company.
  • 2005: Koch acquires Puron AG, a water treatment membrane producer from Aachenmarker, Germanymarker.
  • 2009: Koch subsidiary John Zink discontinues their Gordon-Piatt line of boiler burners.
Koch companies have won numerous safety awards, and rank third in the nation for total number of STAR sites in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs, with more than 100. The company is also noted for its environmental performance in recent years. Six Koch companies’ sites have been accepted into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Performance Track program for continuous improvement in protecting the environment. Koch companies recycle process water and collect storm water to be used again in the production process. Flint Hills Resources’ Minnesota refinery earned the Waste Water Operator Award from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for its water use program. And Koch Industries' headquarters in Wichita, Kan., earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star award, the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. It is the only Wichita office building to earn the honor and one of only five Energy Star-rated buildings in Kansas.

Environmental fines

In 2000, Koch Industries subsidiary, Koch Pipeline, agreed to a $35 million settlement with the US Justice Department and the State of Texas. This settlement, including a $30 million civil fine, was incurred for the firm’s multiple oil spills in Texas and five other states going back to 1990.

In 2001, Koch Industries paid $25 million to the US Government to settle a federal lawsuit that found the company had improperly taken more oil than it had paid for from federal and Indian land. The suit was initiated by William Koch, one of the Koch brothers, who said that the company engaged in “organized crime,” and had made more than $230 million in profit from the stolen oil.

In 2009, the US Justice Department and EPA announced in 2009 that Koch Industries' Invista subsidiary would pay a $1.7 million penalty and spend $500 million to fix environmental violations at its facilities in seven states.

Political activity

The Koch brothers also operate the Koch Family Foundations, a major source of funding for conservative and libertarian political causes in the United Statesmarker, including think tanks such as the Cato Institute. (Their father helped found the John Birch Society, though neither brother is a member or supporter of the organization.) David's political activism also includes running as the vice presidential nominee of the United States Libertarian Party in 1980, when he and running mate Ed Clark finished fourth with 921,299 votes.

In April 2006, the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation announced it had contributed $1 million to help preserve the tallgrass prairies of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preservemarker inChase County, Kansasmarker. The donation made to the Kansas Prairie Legacy Campaign is reportedly the single largest private donation in the State's history. Currently Liz Koch is the president of the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation, and has been reported as saying that the Flint Hillsmarker of Kansas were a special place for Fred C. Koch, who died in 1967, and Mary R. Koch, who died in 1990.

Koch Industries also founded Americans for Prosperity, formed as a successor to Citizens for a Sound Economy.Koch Industries and its subsidiaries spent more than $20 million on lobbying in 2008, and $5.6 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.

Rich Fink, a Koch executive vice president, is a member of the board of directors of Americans for Prosperity. Previously he served as president of Citizens for a Sound Economy. He also founded the Mercatus Center.

See also



  1. Fisher, Daniel (Mar. 13, 2006). "Mr. Big", pp. 24–26. Forbes. Online summary at [1].
  2. Forbes - America's Largest Private Companies
  3. Center For Responsive Politics,
  4. Accessed: 27 February, 2008
  6. “Koch Agrees to $35 Million Settlement,”, Jan 17 2000
  7. CBS News “60 Minutes”, “Blood and Oil: An Environmental Negligence, Nov 27 2000
  8. “Invista to Correct EPA Violations,” Wichita Busienss Journal, April 13 2009
  9.!OpenDocument US EPA Press Release, April 13 2009
  10. Center For Responsive Politics,
  11. Center For Responsive Politics,

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