From John Cockerill to CMI

Based from the beginning in the former castle of the Prince-Bishops of Liège, where John Cockerill was established in 1817, CMI Group continues the tradition of this industrial genius who, throughout his  whole life, sparked off the remarkable economic future for Wallonia (Belgium). Always in contact with  foreign countries and driven by diversified interests, John Cockerill was a great industrial explorer, who continues today to inspire his successors with a taste for entrepreneurship and the determination to  surpass oneself.

1817 1995 2010 2014
1823-1910 2002 2011  
1950-1980 2004 2012  
1982 2008 2013  


John Cockerill, a British businessman, begins his industrial activity as part of a family business  established in the Liège area (Belgium), where it produces textile looms. He soon becomes interested in steam machinery and builds the first working steam locomotive on the European continent.


The Cockerill establishments diversify their activities by investing in a blast furnace, developing their first gun, and banking on the Diesel engine in particular to power their locomotives.


The Company’s centre of gravity shifts through successive mergers from mechanical engineering to the steel industry. Nevertheless, the equipment manufacturing activity continues to develop on the margins of this new core business, thanks to a method that has proved successful down to the present day: alertness to new technical developments, acquisition of patents and enhancement of processes.


Cockerill’s Mechanical Construction Division becomes a subsidiary of Cockerill Sambre and takes on the name of Cockerill Mechanical Industries (CMI).


Always receptive to the demands of its markets, CMI also embarks on maintenance and services,  becoming a complete specialist in industrial equipment.


Usinor, a shareholder in the Walloon iron and steel company Cockerill Sambre, sells CMI to private independent shareholders, which still own the Group to the present day.


Cockerill Mechanical Industries becomes Cockerill Maintenance & Ingénierie. This change in name highlights CMI’s determination to capitalize on the synergies between its two core lines of business, maintenance and engineering.


Following China, Brazil and then Russia, CMI further expands its coverage of the BRIC countries by setting up in India. The Group is now capable of supplying complexes for cold steelmaking.


Capitalizing on the diversity of its activities, CMI develops solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of industrial activity.


CMI develops a simulator for training troops to use military hardware and embarks on the treatment of industrial effluents.


CMI markets for the first time its receiver for a thermo-solar electric power plant and redefines its strategic orientations for a new decade of success. More about the year 2012 in this video or in the 2012 Activity report.


CMI opened up its offering of environmental solutions to the treatment of waste gases and marketed its first new generation slab reheating furnace. Furthermore, it gained a foothold in Africa (Morocco and Congo) and in New Caledonia. See more info on 2013 in images or in our Activity Report 2013.


CMI reached significant milestones in 2014 and closed the financial year with a series of records. In strategic terms, the most significant development is the expansion on the water treatment front, with the successive acquisitions of French and Belgian companies Balteau and Aquion. On top of this, thanks to a contract with an exceptional scope won with a Canadian vehicle manufacturer, CMI Defence has become one of the industrial leaders in ground defense. More information in pictures or in our 2014 Activity Report.

CMI Group's major steps