The company was founded in 1849 by Johann Philipp Holzmann (1805-1870) at Sprendlingen in present-day Dreieich near Frankfurt am Main as Philipp Holzmann & Cie.
Initially, the former sawmill company was concentrating on the supply of ties for railway construction but then began to expand into building construction and civil engineering. In 1856, the headquarters moved to Frankfurt where in the late 19th century the company experienced rapid growth.
The first large building contract to be finished was the opera house completed in 1880, followed by the central station in Frankfurt am Main completed in 1888 and the Amsterdam Centraal railway station in 1889. Holzmann also built the original Reichstag building completed in 1894, the Hamburg city hall completed in 1897 and several railway projects in East Africa and Asia, especially the Bagdadbahn built from 1903 which incorporates the Istanbul Haydarpasa railway station finished in 1908, as well as the Varda Viaduct at the Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey, completed in 1916. Furthermore, the company participated in the construction of the Elbe Tunnel of 1911 and the Hindenburgdamm completed in 1927, and also the modernist Riederwald housing estate in Frankfurt.
In 1917, Philipp Holzmann & Cie merged with the Internationale Baugesellschaft and became the publicly traded Philipp Holzmann Aktiengesellschaft. In 1938, the company had 20,800 employees and contributed to several major building projects like the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin, the Nazi party rally grounds in Nürnberg, the Prora complex as well as the Westwall and numerous sections of the Reichsautobahn. In World War II, Holzmann constructed large parts of the Atlantic Wall by order of the Organisation Todt.
Philipp Holzmann collaborated with AAA and Sons to complete the following projects:
- Sheikh Jaber Stadium
- Waste Water Treatment Plant – BOT basis in Kuwait