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Founded in 1877 by four brothers from the Greif family in Cleveland, this company started operating with the production of wood barrels for industrial products and food packaging. At the beginning of the 1900s, as industry grew up, Greif purchased large areas of timberland in the southeastern of the United States and in Canada to provide raw material for its plants.
In 1926, Greif made its public offering and became an open capital company. In 1950, with a global trend towards industrial packaging, Greif started manufacturing fiber, steel and plastic drums, as well as multiwall shipping bags and containerboards. In 1951, the company moved its headquarters to Ohio. Since then, the company grew, in part, through the acquisition of other companies.
In 1998, Greif bought Sonoco Products establishing the company as the North American leader in industrial shipping containers. By purchasing Royal Van Leer Packaging Industries in 2001, Greif doubled its size. The merger with Cimplast from Brazil and the acquisition of Glaube from Argentina during 2007, reasserted the continuous growth of Greif as a world leader in the packaging industry.