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Stinnes AG

Stinnes AG

Leipziger Platz 9
10117 Berlin
Germany
Telephone: +30 297-54021
Fax: +30 297-54029
Web site: http://www.stinnes.de

Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG
Incorporated:
1902 as Hugo Stinnes GmbH
Employees: 44,320
Sales: DM 13.37 billion ($14.02 billion) (2002)
NAIC: 541614 Process, Physical Distribution, and Logistics Consulting Services; 481212 Nonscheduled Chartered Freight Air Transportation; 483111 Deep Sea Freight Transportation; 483211 Inland Water Freight Transportation; 484110 General Freight Trucking, Local; 484112 General Freight Trucking, Long-Distance; 488310 Port and Harbor Operations; 488510 Freight Transportation Arrangement; 493110 General Warehousing and Storage; 493120 Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage

Following its acquisition in 2002 by rail operator Deutsche Bahn AG, Stinnes AG has been repositioned as the lead company for all of the Deutsche Bahn Group's transportation and logistics operations. Stinnes offers a complete and integrated range of logistics services running from procurement through transport and on to distribution. These operations involve a full array of trucking, rail, and multimodal transportation services, air and sea freight services, and global supply chain management and warehousing services. Following the takeover by Deutsche Bahn, Stinnes announced that it would sell off its two main nontransportation companies, Brenntag AG, a distributor of chemicals, and Stinnes Interfer AG, a distributor of steel products and raw materials.

Early History

Stinnes AG has deep roots in modern German history. The company's founder, Mathias Stinnes, was born in Mülheim in the Ruhr valley during the time of the French Revolution, when the German states were heavily fragmented and decentralized. It is all the more amazing that entrepreneurship could succeed in an area of Europe where innumerable regional interests competed against one another. Added to this politically and economically unstable environment were the numerous invasions of the Napoleonic armies that devastated the very region in which Mathias Stinnes was born.

One of many children of a poor bargeman and his wife, Mathias was affected deeply by the winds of change buffeting him and his generation. The democratic ideas of the French Revolution and Napoleon's forced and short-lived consolidation of the German states signaled change. The legacy of that brief union was not lost on the diplomats gathered at the 1815 Congress of Vienna, who issued a call for a voluntary lifting of trade restrictions on the Rhine, the longest river in western Europe, of which the Ruhr is a tributary.

With so much change in the air, Mathias Stinnes and his two brothers did not follow in their father's footsteps, as generations before them had. Instead of remaining poor laborers, they opted to hire laborers and go into business for themselves. In 1808 Mathias Stinnes, with the help of his brothers, set up his own company, named after himself as elder brother, that hauled goods and raw materials on a boat via the Ruhr.

Stinnes's business grew, despite the community's deep-rooted distrust of someone who chose to strike out on a path different from his forefathers. When Mathias died in 1845, his steamboats plied the Ruhr, and he had become the largest private owner of inland shipping in the fragmented German states. Unusual for that day and age, he branched out into other businesses: the Ruhr area was rich in coal, and by the time he died, the Mathias Stinnes company owned shares in 36 mines, four of which his firm had built. Stinnes's traditional lines of businesstrading in raw materials and transportation on inland waterwayswere well established by the 1840s.

Mathias's sons took over the family enterprise in turn, each one dying at a young age. Despite the succession of political crises in Germany occasioned by wars of unification as well as the rise of an organized labor movement, the Stinnes firm continued to expand. In 1908, 100 years after the company was founded, it possessed 21 tugs and nine of its own ports along with their storage facilities and owned and controlled five mines. By then, however, a new company had arisen that in time would engulf the old Mathias Stinnes firm.

Hugo Stinnes, grandson of Mathias Stinnes, was born in 1870. Dissatisfied with the traditional family business, the 21-year-old Hugo persuaded his mother to sell her ownership in the firm and to lend him 50,000 gold marks to start up his own business, which he founded in 1892 and then incorporated in 1902 as Hugo Stinnes GmbH in Mülheim. He still retained technical management of the Mathias Stinnes mines, however, and gradually the two companies became indistinguishable.

Hugo Stinnes was a dynamic, forceful, and imaginative entrepreneur whose horizons stretched well beyond the traditional family enterprises and the customary way of doing things. His original businesscoal mining and transportationwas what he knew best; from there, however, he went on to found the biggest business empire that Germany, unified into a centralized state in 1871, had ever seen.

Even the coal business would change under the farsighted entrepreneur: in the years before World War I, Hugo Stinnes entered into a partnership with the much older August Thyssen. Together, the two established the Mülheimer Bergwerksverein, which took over used mines and made a profit out of them. Soon Hugo Stinnes's firm had branches of its coal business in Great Britain, Italy, and Russia. He entered the shipping business on his own, and his fleets competed with and would eventually absorb the family fleets. He experimented with recycling gas from coke furnaces and became the foremost promoter of electricity in Germany. Hugo Stinnes tirelessly expanded into new business arenas, not for the mere sake of expansion, but to integrate all of his businesses "vertically," a feat that he would not fully accomplish until after World War I.

War Years

Despite the shortages of various raw materials because of the Allied blockade of Germany's ports, Hugo Stinnes GmbH emerged unscathed from the war and with an even bigger portfolio. With the Kaiser in exile and a new democratic government in place, Hugo Stinnes became a member of the Reichstag and thus politically influential. The French occupation of the Ruhr valley, where many of Stinnes's assets, especially mines, were located, convinced him that vertical integration of his business, from raw materials to the finished productincluding transporting the finished product and controlling the sources of energy in Germany to complete this processmust be accelerated.

A veritable frenzy of expansion followed, in the course of which Stinnes established a partnership with Stahlwerk Breuningshaus steelworks and proceeded to purchase companies that would fully complement this line of business, such as rolling mills, rivet and wire works, a machine tool factory, and other related companies. In 1920 Hugo Stinnes acquired a mining and foundry business that employed 18,000 workers and joined with Germany's largest manufacturer of electrical equipment and appliances, Siemens, to enter that line of business in a partnership. Interested in new energy sources, especially petroleum, Hugo Stinnes's firm began acquiring oil wells abroad, along with refineries and the ocean vessels necessary for conveying the precious fuel. Shipping and transportation companies were purchased as a matter of course, and with Hugo Stinnes's increasing involvement in politics, his business interests turned to newspaper presses, publishing houses, and printing establishments, which his firm acquired in short order. Helping this process of acquisition was the cataclysmic German inflation of the early 1920s; property could be bought for almost nothing.

At the time of his premature death in 1924, not only was Hugo Stinnes Germany's most influential and powerful industrialist, but he was also the owner of the largest firm (in terms of assets and revenues) in the country. Hugo Stinnes GmbH consisted of more than 4,500 businesses and employed more than 600,000 workers.

A year and a half after Hugo Stinnes's death, the company was on the brink of ruin. Profligate sons succeeded him and competed against each other; banks recalled their loans, and finally, son Hugo, Jr., sold half of the company's shares to two American banks in return for a huge loan. Much of the company's assets and property were destroyed during the succeeding war years; immediately afterward, the Stinnes firm reverted to the control of the Allied occupation authorities. Half of the firm was still owned by banks in the United States.

The Hugo Stinnes company probably would have gone under, its stock sold to the highest biddermost likely to a foreign companywithout the intervention of Heinz P. Kemper. Because he had no Nazi party affiliation during World War II and had for many years directed an American subsidiary in Germany, the American occupation authority selected him to head Stinnes. As its director, Kemper dismissed Hugo Stinnes, Jr., from the helm, thereby ending the Stinnes family's connection to that firm.

Postwar Reorganization

Reviving the company and returning it to prosperity was nearly impossible, especially because its assets were spread throughout Germany and British and French authorities were far less friendly and compromising than the Americans. There was also the urgent matter of repurchasing the half of Stinnes still under American ownership, because the Americans were in a position to make a takeover bid for the other half. Unfortunately, Stinnes's finances were in turmoil, and there was no money for repurchase.

Company Perspectives:

Both Stinnes and Deutsche Bahn's freight services have long been doing business in logisticsday in, day out. Together under a single roof, we are now set to become an international leader in logistics services provision. Our solutions are as individual as our customers. We possess the knowhow and the technology, and we know the sector. For our customers, the all-round competence we continuously provide enhances their competitive edge. And we keep the needs of the environment in mindalways. With our integrated multi-modal transportation networks, we have optimal ways of conserving resources.

The firm began to slowly recoup some of its losses and show a profit, thanks in part to the reform of German currency in 1948 and to the formation of the West German state, or Federal Republic of Germany, in 1949. The company was hardly out of deep water, however. The U.S. government informed Kemper in the mid-1950s that Stinnes stock held by U.S. banks would be sold to the highest bidder and Germans would be excluded from bidding. Desperate to save the company, Kemper turned to the German government in Bonn for help. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer gave Kemper a sympathetic hearing. Adenauer in turn had a friendly relationship with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was able to pull enough strings to allow the Germans to participate in bidding for their own stock. The Stinnes company, however, did not possess the required capitalDM 100 millionthe likely price of repurchasing the stock. Hence, the German government intervened once more; Finance Minister Ludwig Erhard worked to set up a consortium of German banks that could provide the necessary loan, all of which would have to be repaid to the last pfennig. In the United States, Kemper successfully outbid his competitors, including some of the most powerful firms in the Common Market, and the Hugo Stinnes firm, as of 1956, was once more a wholly German-owned company. It was reorganized under the newly formed Hugo Stinnes AG in 1961.

Growth in the 1970s and After

The Marshall Plan for the resurrection of the German economy as well as the economic benefits of West German unification laid the foundations of the German "economic miracle." The Hugo Stinnes company once again became one of Germany's largest transportation and raw material supply companies, with sales in the multibillion-dollar range by the early 1970s. In 1976 the company's name was changed to Stinnes AG, in recognition of the fact that the firm was no longer in the hands of the Hugo Stinnes family and as a reflection of the traditions of both Mathias Stinnes, the founder, and Hugo Stinnes, the daring entrepreneur. By then, Stinnes AG had joined the Veba AG group of companies, Germany's largest firm. In 1965 Veba AG had bought 95 percent of Stinnes stock, thus turning the company into a subsidiary. By becoming part of this holding company, Stinnes turned into the biggest transportation company in West Germany, because Veba AG sold one of its largest barge lines to Stinnes in return for the Stinnes glassworks, the company's coal mines, and the chemical firm Chemiewerk Ruhroel.

Key Dates:

1808:
Mathias Stinnes sets up a shipping and coal trading company in Mülheim in Germany's Ruhr valley.
1892:
Hugo Stinnes, grandson of Mathias Stinnes, founds his own coal trading and transportation company, also based in Mülheim.
1902:
Hugo Stinnes GmbH is incorporated; this company gradually absorbs the operations of the other Stinnes family firm.
1924:
Hugo Stinnes dies, leaving behind Germany's largest firm, consisting of more than 4,500 businesses and employing more than 600,000 workers.
192526:
Hugo Stinnes's sons quickly run the company to the brink of ruin; son Hugo, Jr., sells half of the company to two U.S. banks.
1947:
Allied authorities appoint Heinz P. Kemper to head Stinnes; Kemper fires Hugo Stinnes, Jr., thus ending the involvement of the Stinnes family in the firm.
1956:
After the U.S. banks announce their plan to sell their stake in the company, Kemper, with the help of Konrad Adenauer, the German chancellor, and a consortium of German banks, succeeds in making Stinnes once more a wholly German-owned company.
1961:
The company is reorganized under the newly formed Hugo Stinnes AG.
1964:
Petrochemical firm Brenntag is acquired.
1965:
German conglomerate Veba AG acquires 95 percent of Stinnes, turning it into a subsidiary; Stinnes sells its glassworks, coal mines, and chemical company to Veba in exchange for a major Veba barge line.
1979:
The name of the firm is changed to Stinnes AG.
1991:
Transportation and logistics company Schenker is acquired.
1992:
Veba acquires the 5 percent of Stinnes it does not already own.
1997:
Veba announces that it will sell a minority stake in Stinnes through an initial public offering (IPO), slated for 1998, and eventually divest its entire interest in the company; the IPO is delayed until 1999.
1999:
Schenker takes over the Swedish transportation and logistics company, BTL AB; Veba sells a 34.5 percent stake in Stinnes to the public.
2000:
Veba merges with Viag AG to form E.ON AG; Brenntag acquires Holland Chemical International, becoming the largest chemical distributor in the world.
2002:
Deutsche Bahn offers to pay DM 2.5 billion for Stinnes; following E.ON's agreement to the offer, Deutsche Bahn holds nearly all of the shares by October.
2003:
Deutsche Bahn gains the remaining Stinnes shares, making it a wholly owned subsidiary; efforts to sell Stinnes's Brenntag subsidiary and its steel product and raw materials distribution businesses are under-way; Stinnes's headquarters are relocated to Berlin.

By the early 1990s Stinnes AG had become a multibillion-dollar company, operating the largest transportation network in Europe and also serving as the owner of Brenntag AG, the largest supplier of petrochemicals on the continent. (Interestingly, Brenntag had been owned by the Stinnes family from 1937 to 1964, when it was purchased by Hugo Stinnes AG.) Still headquartered in Mathias Stinnes's hometown of Mülheim on the Ruhr, Stinnes had branched out into every continent on the globe and into every country in Europe, including Eastern Europe and Russia. In the early 1990s Stinnes consisted of a multitude of major companies, most of which concentrated on three business operations: trading in raw materials, distribution, and transportation. Two-thirds of Stinnes's revenues were derived from foreign markets, and one-third of its greater than 35,000-member workforce was employed by Stinnes businesses outside of Germany.

In the early 1990s Europe's biggest transportation (in terms of land traffic) network was the Schenker Eurocargo group, which merged with Stinnes in 1991. (Schenker had previously been owned by Deutsche Bundesbahn, the West German railway operator that merged with its East German counterpart, Deutsche Reichsban in 1994, forming Deutsche Bahn AG.) A fleet of trucks and other conveyancesincluding railroadstransported merchandise throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe. Schenker-Rhenus AG, along with its subsidiaries, employed a total of 20,000 people and was without doubt Stinnes's largest component. Stinnes's Schenker International division was a major air and sea transporter of freight and operated 14 travel agencies as well. In the trading division, Stinnes Intercarbon was the top supplier and marketer in Europe of coal and its byproducts. Also in the trading division, the Stinnes firm Frank & Schulte GmbH processed and supplied ores, minerals, and metals to anywhere in the world via its 20 subsidiaries. In the distribution segment, consisting of approximately six major companies, Brenntag AG was the number one supplier of industrial chemicals to chemical manufacturers and the cosmetics industry throughout Europe. An increasingly important segment of Stinnes business was the service sector, especially home improvement chain stores. A small but important enterprise was the replacement tire market operated by Stinnes Reifendienst, which held the number one market position in Germany; this Stinnes division also owned more than 200 service stations throughout Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Alsace.

After the unification of East and West Germany, Stinnes, unlike many former West German companies, was in the fore-front of investment and expansion into the former German Democratic Republic. Stinnes was also one of the first West German companies to establish corporate branch offices in the East German states and to establish major delivery routes into and out of those states. Brenntag AG opened a major distribution center in Magdeburg in former East Germany and quickly established branches of the firm throughout eastern Germany. Shortly after unification in the fall of 1991, Stinnes's earnings from eastern Germany alone totaled DM 1.5 billionmore than $1 billion.

So hungry was the Eastern European populationwhich for decades lived under restrictive communist governmentsfor Western goods in the early 1990s, that Stinnes was fortunate to have cultivated strong economic ties long before the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and Russia. For one thing, the opening up of the East led to new raw material sources for Stinnes, the largest supplier of raw materials in Europe. Because of this, the Stinnes division Frank & Schulte had a year of record profits during the period of slow worldwide growth in 1991. Ores, minerals, and alloys were increasingly being obtained by Frank & Schulte from its Eastern European markets, which represented the best opportunity for growth for that company. Brenntag opened an important branch in Warsaw and offices in Prague and Moscow, only the beginning of its full penetration of the Eastern European market. The majority of Stinnes's divisions were racing to develop or extend their business in the east, including Russia, where the future of the vast Stinnes firm seemed to lie. Meanwhile, in 1992, Veba acquired the remaining 5 percent of Stinnes it did not already own, and the company's stock was taken off the stock exchange.

Focusing on Distribution and Logistics in the Late 1990s

According to a past chairman of Stinnes AG, Guenter Winkelmann, the company could not exist without international markets. For this reason, Stinnes was particularly affected by the recession in North America, Australia, and Great Britain in the early 1990s. A more embarrassing setback came to the company in 1994, when it was revealed in the leading German newspaper Die Welt that a manager at Stinnes had embezzled millions of Deutschemarks from the company, through systematic fraud at one of the company's insurance subsidiaries. The manager, Baerbel Ruske, had been in charge of Hamburger Hof, an insurer that had prospered after reunification by doing brisk business in eastern Germany. Hamburger Hof had issued insurance policies on an estimated half million East German residences. Commissions on these policies were evidently siphoned into Ruske's account, and he was said to have come away with 11.9 million marks before being caught. Initial reports stated that Ruske's depredations would cost Stinnes six million marks, though Stinnes Chairman Hans-Juergen Knauer later amended the figure significantly downward, to only 800,000 marks.

By 1995 Stinnes was already Germany's largest independent steel trader; the company boosted its status even more with the acquisition of Krupp Hoesch Stahlhandel, a unit of Krupp AG. The Stinnes subsidiary Stinnes Interfer bought the unit. Krupp Hoesch Stahlhandel operated a network of six steel trading facilities, mostly in northern Germany. Its sale took its parent, Krupp AG, out of steel trading altogether. That company had complained that the business was becoming too consolidated, with large companies such as Stinnes Interfer making it difficult for the small Krupp unit to compete. After the acquisition, Stinnes Interfer was a giant, with a network of 37 steel trading branches and 1,500 employees.

As the company was growing in steel, it trimmed other areas. In 1997 Stinnes shed its hard-coal trading business. The sale of the business went 50 percent to a German company, Rheinbraun Brennstoff GmbH, and 50 percent to the Dutch SHV Energy NV. Also divested in 1997 were the company's service stations. Further cuts in Stinnes's business were announced in December 1997, when parent company Veba AG announced that it would sell about half of Stinnes.

Veba AG had been working hard to cut costs in the mid-1990s and next decided to concentrate its energies on fewer businesses. The massive conglomerate was characterized as a diversified utility company, and it controlled many municipal electrical utilities. But like its subsidiary Stinnes, it was involved in hundreds of businesses and its corporate structure was unwieldy. At the end of 1997, Veba AG announced that it would step back from direct management of Stinnes by floating up to 49 percent of its subsidiary on the stock market in late 1998. At that time Stinnes AG accounted for almost a third of its parent's annual sales. The divestment of the subsidiary would not only give Veba AG a massive infusion of cash, but Stinnes would be able to fund its own growth and expansion. With the announcement of the sale, Stinnes also said it would give up its recycling business, its inland shipping, and direct control of its tire service businesses and do-it-yourself construction outlets. Stinnes's three core areas were to be chemical distribution, land transport, and trading in building materials and air freight.

Stinnes proceeded to sell its Rhenus recycling division, the inland waterway shipping operation of RS Partnership, and a German seaport company called Midgard to Rethmann AG early in 1998. Later in the year Stinnes's home improvement retailing operations in Germany and Poland were divested. In November 1998 the company's chief executive, Erhard Meyer-Galow, was fired by the boards of Veba and Stinnes when he refused to back down from plans to complete a $591.9 million hostile takeover of a foreign public company prior to the pending initial public offering (IPO). Wulf H. Bernotat was appointed as the new chairman.

In 1997 Stinnes had acquired a shareholding in BTL AB of Sweden. The following year Schenker and BTL began coordinating their land-transport operations in Europe under the Schenker-BTL name. Then in 1999 Schenker completed a takeover of BTL, making Schenker-BTL one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in Europe.

The public offering of Stinnes stock, originally scheduled for 1998, was delayed until June 1999. Even then a lukewarm response from investors forced Veba to sell only a 34.5 percent stake rather than 49 percent. About 22.8 million shares were sold at DM 14.50 per share, raising about DM 330.6 million. Later in 1999, Veba announced plans to merge with Viag AG; the creation in 2000 of the resulting energy giant, which adopted the name E.ON AG, confirmed Veba's plan to completely divest what were now considered the noncore operations of Stinnes. Also in 1999, Schenker expanded its Asian operations by forming a strategic alliance with Seino Transportation Co., Ltd., a major Japanese logistics firm. Brenntag acquired the Vienna-based Neuber Group from Degussa-Hüls AG, gaining the leading distributor of chemicals in both Austria and Poland and major operations in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia as well.

Shift of Control from E.ON to Deutsche Bahn in the Early 2000s

In the wake of the IPO, Stinnes made further divestments in order to focus more keenly on its core areas. In 2000 the company sold its retail tire service business and its building materials distribution operation. Stinnes had now slimmed down to three principal operations: transportation and logistics firm Schenker, chemical distributor Brenntag, and steel and raw materials distributor Stinnes Interfer. During 2000 the company launched an ambitious e-commerce strategy across all its businesses, aiming to generate $1 billion in additional revenues within five years. Although the disappointing initial results placed the attainment of this goal in serious doubt, Stinnes quickly set itself up as a logistics partner for several Internet marketplaces. Meantime, Schenker joined with Deutsche Bahn in 2000 to establish a joint venture called Railog focusing on rail-related logistics services. Brenntag became the largest chemical distributor in the world in November 2000 when it acquired Holland Chemical International (HCI), which had ranked fifth, for DM 288 million in cash and the assumption of DM 257 million in debt. The addition of HCI made Brenntag the market leader in Scandinavia and Latin America, two regions where it had not previously been active, reinforced its leading positions in both central and Eastern Europe, and made it the number three player in the U.S. market.

In 2001 Schenker-BTL and Schenker International were merged to form Schenker Deutschland AG. Further expansion in Asia was also on the agenda. Having previously operated in China since the 1970s through representative offices, Schenker established its first subsidiary in that emerging economic power during 2001. The following year Schenker entered into a joint venture with the Beijing International Technology Cooperation Center. Named Schenker BITCC Logistics (Beijing) Co. Ltd., the venture began constructing a state-of-the-art multifunctional logistics center near the Beijing airport. Also in 2002 Schenker and Seino Transportation merged their air and sea freight operations in Japan into the joint venture Schenker-Seino Co. Ltd., with Schenker holding a 60 percent stake.

During 2002 the desire of E.ON to speed up its divestment of Stinnesa desire heightened by the company's drive to take over natural gas distributor Ruhrgas AGcombined with Deutsche Bahn's interest in bolstering its cargo and logistics operations to effect another change in ownership for Stinnes. In July, Deutsche Bahn announced that it would acquire Stinnes for DM 2.5 billion ($2.45 billion), or DM 32.75 per share. E.ON agreed to the takeover, and by October nearly all of the holders of the publicly traded interest had cashed in their shares. In May 2003 Deutsche Bahn gained the remaining shares, Stinnes became a wholly owned subsidiary of the German railway giant, and the company's stock was delisted.

Under its new ownership, Stinnes became the freight transportation and logistics holding company of Deutsche Bahn, with Schenker continuing to serve as the rail freight forwarding and logistics arm of Stinnes. Replacing Bernotat as chief executive of Stinnes was Bernd Malmström, who had been the head of DB Cargo, one of Deutsche Bahn's rail carriers. Schenker was already being expanded by early 2003, when the company acquired Joyau, one of the leading providers of logistics services in France with revenues of about DM 250 million. Deutsche Bahn also announced that it intended to sell Stinnes's nontransportation companies, Brenntag and Stinnes Interfer. In March 2003 the raw materials businesses of Stinnes Interfer, including Frank & Schulte and Fergusson, Wild & Co. Ltd., were sold to Swedish iron ore company LKAB. This left the steel logistics operations of Stinnes Interfer still to be sold off. By July 2003, meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn had narrowed the field of potential bidders for Brenntag to four, all of which were private equity capital companies, two American and two British. Stinnes was also busy making plans for a late 2003 relocation of the head office from Mülheim to Berlin, where Deutsche Bahn was based.

Principal Subsidiaries

Schenker Aktiengesellschaft; Schenker Deutschland AG; Stinnes Intertec GmbH; Inter-Union Technohandel GmbH; Brenntag AG; Brenntag GmbH; Brenntag International Chemicals GmbH; Stinnes Interfer AG; Stinnes Stahl GmbH; Walter Patz GmbH; Stahlex GmbH.

Principal Competitors

Deutsche Post AG; Exel plc; Kühne & Nagel International AG; Hays plc.

Further Reading

Atkins, Ralph, "Stinnes Puts Its Weight into Listing: German Group Is Putting Its Faith in the Heavy Logistics Market," Financial Times, May 31, 1999, p. 21.

Burgert, Philip, "Krupp Sells Unit, Exits Steel Trading," American Metal Market, October 2, 1996, p. 2.

The Making of a Business Empire; 175 Years of Stinnes; Portrait of a German Company, Econ Verlag, 1983.

Needham, Paul, "Logistics Is Now for Railroads," Journal of Commerce Week, July 1521, 2002, pp. 2627.

Norman, Peter, "Veba Shake-Up Includes Stinnes IPO," Financial Times, December 5, 1997, p. 26.

Parker, John, "Geared for Growth," Traffic World, June 25, 2001, pp. 2021.

, "Old Dog's New Tricks," Traffic World, June 19, 2000, pp. 1718.

"People in Finance: Hugo Stinnes," Banker, October 1982, pp. 7475.

Rosa, Virginia, "Stinnes Float May Need Buoy in Sea of IPOs," Wall Street Journal Europe, June 10, 1999, p. 13.

Stinnes, Edmund Hugo, A Genius in Chaotic Times: Edmund H. Stinnes on His Father, Hugo Stinnes (18701924), Bern: E.H. Stinnes, 1979.

Young, Ian, "Brenntag Enters the U.S. Top Three," Chemical Week, April 25, 2001, pp. 2628.

, "Brenntag Shifts Up a Gear," Chemical Week, August 16, 2000, pp. 5051.

, "Stinnes Agrarchemie Builds Five Centers," Chemical Week, February 3, 1993, p. 13.

Sina Dubovoj

updates: A. Woodward,

David E. Salamie

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Stinnes AG

Stinnes AG

Humboldtring 15
45472 Mulheim an der Ruhr
Germany
+ 49208494-0
Fax: +49208494-698
Web site: http://www.stinnes.de

Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Veba AG
Incorporated:
1902 as Hugo Stinnes GmbH
Employees: 33,290
Sales: DM 21.6 billion (1996)
SICs: 8999 Services, Not Elsewhere Classified; 5171 Petroleum Bulk Stations & Terminals; 4412 Deep Sea Foreign Transportation of Freight; 5169 Chemicals & Allied Products, Not Elsewhere Classified; 5211 Lumber & Other Building Materials; 5052 Coal & Other Minerals & Ores; 6120 Wholesale Distribution of Fuels, Ores, Metals & Industrial Materials; 6110 Wholesale Distribution of Agricultural Raw Materials, Live Animals, Textile; 7630 Supporting Services to Sea Transport; 6220 Dealing in Other Scrap Materials, or General Dealers; 8200 Institutions Specializing in Insurance Other Than Long-Term

Stinnes AG, a group of independent divisions consisting of almost 100 domestic and more than 100 foreign companies, is Germanys and one of Europes largest transportation and distribution companies. As of 1965 Stinnes AG has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Veba AG, Germanys largest firm. The Stinnes groups three principal activities are trading in raw materials, especially coal and oil; chemical distribution and steel processing; and air, sea, and land transportation. An increasingly important business segment of Stinnes is the service industry, from do-it-yourself building materials, to ownership of the prestigious Hotel Nassauer Hof in Wiesbaden, to providing data processing services. Stinnes also operates a string of automotive service stations and runs passenger service on a liner between Lübeck, Germany and Helsinki, Finland. Stinnes is Germanys largest independent steel trader and Europes largest chemical distributor. In the 1990s it accounted for about one-third of the sales of its parent company, Veba AG. Veba AG announced plans in 1998 to sell up to 49 percent of Stinnes in a public offering.

Early History

Stinnes AG has deep roots in modern German history. The companys founder, Mathias Stinnes, was born in Muelheim in the Ruhr valley during the time of the French Revolution, when the German states were heavily fragmented and decentralized. It is all the more amazing that entrepreneurship could succeed in an area of Europe where innumerable regional interests competed against one another. Added to this politically and economically unstable environment were the numerous invasions of the Napoleonic armies that devastated the very region in which Mathias Stinnes was born.

One of many children of a poor bargeman and his wife, Mathias was affected deeply by the winds of change buffeting him and his generation. The democratic ideas of the French Revolution and Napoleons forced and short-lived consolidation of the German states signaled change. The legacy of that brief union was not lost on the diplomats gathered at the 1815 Congress of Vienna, who issued a call for a voluntary lifting of trade restrictions on the Rhine, the longest river in western Europe, of which the Ruhr is a tributary.

With so much change in the air, Mathias Stinnes and his two brothers did not follow in their fathers footsteps, as generations before them had. Instead of remaining poor laborers, they opted to hire laborers and go into business for themselves. In 1808 Mathias Stinnes, with the help of his brothers, set up his own company, named after himself as elder brother, that hauled goods and raw materials on a boat via the Ruhr.

Stinness business grew, despite the communitys deep-rooted distrust of someone who chose to strike out on a path different from his forefathers. When Mathias died in 1845, his steamboats plied the Ruhr, and he had become the largest private owner of inland shipping in the fragmented German states. Unusual for that day and age, he branched out into other businesses: the Ruhr area was rich in coal, and by the time he died, the Mathias Stinnes company owned shares in 36 mines, four of which his firm had built. Stinness traditional lines of businesstrading in raw materials and transportation on inland waterwayswere well established by the 1840s.

Mathiass sons took over the family enterprise in turn, each one dying at a young age. Despite the succession of political crises in Germany occasioned by wars of unification as well as the rise of an organized labor movement, the Stinnes firm continued to expand. In 1908, 100 years after the company was founded, it possessed 21 tugs and nine of its own ports along with their storage facilities and owned and controlled five mines. By then, however, a new company had arisen that in time would engulf the old Mathias Stinnes firm.

Hugo Stinnes, grandson of Mathias Stinnes, was born in 1870. Dissatisfied with the traditional family business, the 21-year-old Hugo persuaded his mother to sell her ownership in the firm and to lend him 50,000 gold marks to start up his own business, which he incorporated in 1902 as Hugo Stinnes GmbH in Muelheim. He still retained technical management of the Mathias Stinnes mines, however, and gradually the two companies became indistinguishable.

Hugo Stinnes was a dynamic, forceful, and imaginative entrepreneur whose horizons stretched well beyond the traditional family enterprises and the customary way of doing things. His original businesscoal mining and transportationwas what he knew best; from there, however, he went on to found the biggest business empire that Germany, unified into a centralized state in 1871, had ever seen.

Even the coal business would change under the farsighted entrepreneur: in the years before World War I, Hugo Stinnes entered into a partnership with the much older August Thyssen. Together, the two established the Muelheimer Bergwerks-verein, which took over used mines and made a profit out of them. Soon Hugo Stinness firm had branches of its coal business in Great Britain, Italy, and the Russian Empire. He entered the shipping business on his own, and his fleets competed with and would eventually absorb the family fleets. He experimented with recycling gas from coke furnaces and became the foremost promoter of electricity in Germany. Hugo Stinnes tirelessly expanded into new business arenas, not for the mere sake of expansion, but to integrate all of his businesses vertically, a feat that he would not fully accomplish until after World War I.

War Years

Despite the shortages of various raw materials because of the Allied blockade of Germanys ports, Hugo Stinnes GmbH emerged unscathed from the war and with an even bigger portfolio. With the Kaiser in exile and a new democratic government in place, Hugo Stinnes became a member of the Reichstag and thus politically influential. The French occupation of the Ruhr valley, where many of Stinness assets, especially mines, were located, convinced him that vertical integration of his business, from raw materials to the finished productincluding transporting the finished product and controlling the sources of energy in Germany to complete this processmust be accelerated.

A veritable frenzy of expansion followed, in the course of which Stinnes established a partnership with Stahlwerk Breun-ingshaus steelworks and proceeded to purchase companies that would fully complement this line of business, such as rolling mills, rivet and wire works, a machine tool factory, and other related companies. In 1920 Hugo Stinnes acquired a mining and foundry business that employed 18,000 workers and joined with Germanys largest manufacturer of electrical equipment and appliances, Siemens, to enter that line of business in a partnership. Interested in new energy sources, especially petroleum, Hugo Stinness firm began acquiring oil wells abroad, along with refineries and the ocean vessels necessary for conveying the precious fuel. Shipping and transportation companies were purchased as a matter of course, and with Hugo Stinness increasing involvement in politics, his business interests turned to newspaper presses, publishing houses, and printing establishments, which his firm acquired in short order. Helping this process of acquisition was the cataclysmic German inflation of the early 1920s; property could be bought for almost nothing.

At the time of his premature death in 1924, not only was Hugo Stinnes Germanys most influential and powerful industrialist, but he was also the owner of the largest firm (in terms of assets and revenues) in the country. Hugo Stinnes GmbH consisted of more than 4,500 businesses and employed tens of thousands of workers.

A year and a half after Hugo Stinnes death, the company was on the brink of ruin. Profligate sons succeeded him and competed against each other; banks recalled their loans, and finally, son Hugo, Jr. sold half of the companys shares to two American banks in return for a huge loan. Much of the companys assets and property were destroyed during the succeeding war years; immediately afterward, the Stinnes firm reverted to the control of the Allied occupation authorities. Half of the firm was still owned by banks in the United States.

Company Perspectives:

The most important strategic guidelines for Stinnes are value creation, improved customer benefits and increased customer satisfaction. By offering the customer intelligent as well as unconventional solutions to problems, the various Stinnes divisions can achieve their goal of being not only better and more cost effective than the competition, but also different from the competition. By being flexible, having the desire to experiment and the willingness to learn from our competitors, we can remain competent and adapt to todays ever changing market place.

The Hugo Stinnes company probably would have gone under, its stock sold to the highest biddermost likely to a foreign companywithout the intervention of Heinz P. Kemper. Because he had no Nazi party affiliation during World War II and had for many years directed an American subsidiary in Germany, the American occupation authority selected him to head Stinnes. As its director, Kemper dismissed Hugo Stinnes, Jr. from the helm, thereby ending the Stinnes familys connection to that firm.

Postwar Reorganization

Reviving the company and returning it to prosperity was nearly impossible, especially since its assets were spread throughout Germany and British and French authorities were far less friendly and compromising than the Americans. There was also the urgent matter of repurchasing the half of Stinnes still under American ownership, since the Americans were in a position to make a takeover bid for the other half. Unfortunately, Stinnes finances were in turmoil, and there was no money for repurchase.

The firm began to slowly recoup some of its losses and show a profit, thanks in part to the reform of German currency in 1948 and to the formation of the West German state, or Federal Republic of Germany, in 1949. The company was hardly out of deep water, however. The U.S. government informed Kemper in the mid-1950s that Stinnes stock held by U.S. banks would be sold to the highest bidder and Germans would be excluded from bidding. Desperate to save the company, Kemper turned to the German government in Bonn for help. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer gave Kemper a sympathetic hearing. Adenauer in turn had a friendly relationship with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was able to pull enough strings to allow the Germans to participate in bidding for their own stock. The Stinnes company, however, did not possess the required capitalDM 100 millionthe likely price of repurchasing the stock. So, the German government intervened once more; Finance Minister Ludwig Erhard worked to set up a consortium of German banks that could provide the necessary loan, all of which would have to be repaid to the last pfennig. In the United States, Kemper successfully outbid his competitors, including some of the most powerful firms in the Common Market, and the Hugo Stinnes firm was once more a wholly German-owned company.

Growth in the 1970s and After

The Marshall Plan for the resurrection of the German economy as well as the economic benefits of West German unification laid the foundations of the German economic miracle. The Hugo Stinnes company once again became one of Germanys largest transportation and raw material supply companies, with sales in the multibillion dollar range by the early 1970s. In 1976 the companys name was changed to Stinnes AG, in recognition of the fact that the firm was no longer in the hands of the Hugo Stinnes family and as a reflection of the traditions of both Mathias Stinnes, the founder, and Hugo Stinnes, the daring entrepreneur. By then, Stinnes AG had joined the Veba AG group of companies, Germanys largest firm. In 1965 Veba AG had bought 95 percent of Stinnes stock, thus turning the company into a subsidiary. By becoming part of this holding company, Stinnes turned into the biggest transportation company in West Germany, since Veba AG sold one of its largest barge lines to Stinnes in return for the Stinnes glassworks and the chemical firm Chemiewerk Ruhroel.

By the early 1990s Stinnes AG had become a multibillion dollar company, operating the largest transportation industry in Europe and also serving as the owner of Brenntag AG, the largest supplier of petrochemicals on the continent. Headquartered in Mathias Stinness home town of Muelheim on the Ruhr, Stinnes has branched out into every continent on the globe and into every country in Europe, including eastern Europe and Russia. In the early 1990s Stinnes consisted of a multitude of major companies, most of which concentrated on the three business operations of Stinnes: trading in raw materials, distribution, and transportation. Two-thirds of Stinness revenues were derived from foreign markets, and one-third of its greater than 35,000-member work force were employed by Stinnes businesses outside of Germany.

In the early 1990s Europes biggest transportation (in terms of land traffic) network was the Schenker Eurocargo group, which merged with Stinnes in 1991. A fleet of trucks and other conveyancesincluding railroadstransported merchandise throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe. Schenker-Rhenus AG, along with its subsidiaries, employed a total of 20,000 people and was without doubt Stinness largest component. Stinness Schenker International division was a major air and sea transporter of freight and operated 14 travel agencies as well. In the trading division, Stinnes Intercarbon was the top supplier and marketer in Europe of coal and its byproducts. Also in the trading division, the Stinnes firm Frank & Schulte GmbH processed and supplied ores, minerals, and metals to anywhere in the world via its 20 subsidiaries. In the distribution segment, consisting of approximately six major companies, Brenntag AG was the number one supplier of industrial chemicals to chemical manufacturers and the cosmetics industry throughout Europe. An increasingly important segment of Stinnes business was the service sector, especially home improvement chain stores. A small but important enterprise was the replacement tire market operated by Stinnes Reifendienst, which held the number one market position in Germany; this Stinnes division also owned more than 200 service stations throughout Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Alsace.

After the unification of East and West Germany, Stinnes, unlike many former West German companies, was in the forefront of investment and expansion into the former German Democratic Republic. Stinnes was also one of the first West German companies to establish corporate branch offices in the eastern German states and to establish major delivery routes into and out of those states. Brenntag AG opened a major distribution center in Magdeburg in former East Germany and quickly established branches of the firm throughout eastern Germany. Shortly after unification in the fall of 1991, Stinness earnings from eastern Germany alone totalled DM 1.5 billionmore than US $1 billion.

So hungry was the Eastern European populationwhich for decades lived under restrictive communist governmentsfor western goods in the early 1990s, that Stinnes was fortunate to have cultivated strong economic ties long before the fall of communism in eastern Europe and Russia. For one thing, the opening up of the east led to new raw material sources for Stinnes, the largest supplier of raw materials in Europe. Because of this, the Stinnes division Frank & Schulte had a year of record profits during the period of slow worldwide growth in 1991. Ores, minerals, and alloys were increasingly being obtained by Frank & Schulte from its Eastern European markets, which represented the best opportunity for growth for that company. Brenntag opened an important branch in Warsaw and offices in Prague and Moscow, only the beginning of its full penetration of the Eastern European market. The majority of Stinness divisions were racing to develop or extend their business in the east, including Russia, where the future of the vast Stinnes firm seemed to lie.

Changes in the Late 1990s

According to a past chairman of Stinnes AG, Guenter Winkelmann, the company could not exist without international markets. For this reason, Stinnes was particularly affected by the recession in North America, Australia, and Great Britain in the early 1990s. A more embarrassing setback came to the company in 1994, when it was revealed in the leading German newspaper Die Welt that a manager at Stinnes had embezzled millions of Deutsche marks from the company, through systematic fraud at one of the companys insurance subsidiaries. The manager, Baerbel Ruske, had been in charge of Hamburger Hof, an insurer that had prospered after reunification by doing brisk business in eastern Germany. Hamburger Hof had issued insurance policies on an estimated half million east German residences. Commissions on these policies were evidently siphoned into Ruskes account, and he was said to have come away with 11.9 million marks before being caught. Initial reports stated that Ruskes depredations would cost Stinnes six million marks, though Stinnes Chairman Hans-Juergen Knauer later amended the figure significantly downward, to only 800,000 marks.

By 1995 Stinnes was already Germanys largest independent steel trader; the company boosted its status even more with the acquisition of Krupp Hoesch Stahlhandel, a unit of Krupp AG. The Stinnes subsidiary Stinnes Interfer bought the unit. Krupp Hoesch Stahlhandel operated a network of six steel trading facilities, mostly in northern Germany. Its sale took its parent, Krupp AG, out of steel trading altogether. That company had complained that the business was becoming too consolidated, with large companies such as Stinnes Interfer making it difficult for the small Krupp unit to compete. After the acquisition, Stinnes Interfer was a giant, with a network of 37 steel trading branches and 1,500 employees.

As the company was growing in steel, it trimmed other areas. In 1997 Stinnes shed its hard-coal trading business. The sale of the business went 50 percent to a German company, Rheinbraun Brennstoff GmbH, and 50 percent to the Dutch SHV Energy NV. The sale had to await approval from the European Union Commission, which monitored such sales according to the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty. Further cuts in Stinness business were announced in December 1997, when parent company Veba AG announced it would sell about half of Stinnes.

Veba AG had been working hard to cut costs in the mid-1990s and next decided to concentrate its energies on fewer businesses. The massive conglomerate was characterized as a diversified utility company, and it controlled many municipal electrical utilities. But like its subsidiary Stinnes, it was involved in hundreds of businesses and its corporate structure was unwieldy. At the end of 1997, Veba AG announced that it would step back from direct management of Stinnes by floating up to 49 percent of its subsidiary on the stock market in late 1998. At that time Stinnes AG accounted for almost a third of its parents annual sales. But the divestment of the subsidiary would not only give Veba AG a massive infusion of cash, but Stinnes would be able to fund its own growth and expansion. With the announcement of the coming sale, Stinnes also claimed it would give up its recycling business, its inland shipping, and direct control of its tire service businesses and do-it-yourself construction outlets. Stinness three core areas were to be chemical distribution, land transport, and trading in building materials and air freight. Stinnes still had hopes for more acquisitions and expansion in these three areas. But after being divested from Veba AG, it expected to be able to pay for its future growth by stock sales and to control its own destiny more precisely.

Principal Subsidiaries

Stinnes Interoil AG; Frank & Schulte GmbH; Brenntag AG; Stinnes Interfer GmbH; Stinnes BauMarkt AG; Stinnes Reifendienst GmbH; Stinnes Intertec GmbH; Schenker-Rhenus AG; Schenker Eurocargo (Deutschland) AG; Schenker International AG; Rhenus AG; Poseidon Schiffahrt AG; Frachtcontor Junge & Co.; Hotel Nassauer Hof GmbH; Stinnes-data-Service GmbH; Logware Informationssysteme GmbH; Stinnes-Organi-sationsberatung GmbH.

Further Reading

Burgert, Philip, Krupp Sells Unit, Exits Steel Trading, American Metal Market, October 2, 1996, p. 2.

German Vebas Reorganization Draws Praise from Analysts, Dow Jones Online News, December 4, 1997, p. DJON9733808602.

The Making of a Business Empire; 175 Years of Stinnes; Portrait of a German Company, Econ Verlag, 1983.

Norman, Peter, Veba Shake-up Includes Stinnes IPO, Financial Times, December 5, 1997.

People in Finance: Hugo Stinnes, The Banker, October 1982, pp. 7475.

Stinnes AGCompany Report, DAFSA, August 1, 1992.

Stinnes, Edmund Hugo, A Genius in Chaotic Times: Edmund H. Stinnes on his Father, Hugo Stinnes (18701924), Bern: E.H. Stinnes, 1979.

Young, Ian, Stinnes Agrarchemie Builds Five Centers, Chemical Week, February 3, 1993, p. 13.

Sina Dubovoj
updated by A. Woodward

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Stinnes AG

Stinnes AG

Humboldtring 15
45472 Muelheim an der Ruhr
Germany
0208/494-0
Fax: 0208/494-698

Wholly Owned Subsidiary of VEBA AG
Incorporated: 1902 as Hugo Stinnes GmbH
Employees: 34,697
Sales: DM 21 billion
SICs: 8999 Services, Nec; 5171 Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals; 4412 Deep Sea Foreign Transportation of Freight; 5169 Chemicals and Allied Products, Nec; 5211 Lumber and Other Building Materials; 5052 Coal and Other Minerals and Ores; 6120 Wholesale Distribution of Fuels, Ores, Metals and Industrial Materials; 6110 Wholesale Distribution of Agricultural Raw Materials, Live Animals, Textile; 7630 Supporting Services to Sea Transport; 6220 Dealing in Other Scrap Materials, or General Dealers; 8200 Institutions Specializing in Insurance Other Than Long-Term.

Stinnes AG, a group of independent divisions consisting of 119 major domestic and 85 foreign companies, is Germanys and one of Europes largest transportation and distribution companies. As of 1965 Stinnes AG has been a wholly owned subsidiary of VEBA AG, Germanys largest firm. The Stinnes groups three principal activities are trading in raw materials, especially coal and oil; chemical distribution and steel processing; and air, sea, and land transportation. An increasingly important business segment of Stinnes is the service industry, from do-it-yourself building materials, to ownership of the prestigious Hotel Nassauer Hof in Wiesbaden, to providing data processing services.

Stinnes AG has deep roots in modern German history. The companys founder, Mathias Stinnes, was born in Muelheim in the Ruhr valley during the time of the French Revolution, when the German states were heavily fragmented and decentralized. It is all the more amazing that entrepreneurship could succeed in an area of Europe where innumerable regional interests competed against one another. Added to this politically and economically unstable environment were the numerous invasions of the Napoleonic armies that devastated the very region in which Mathias Stinnes was born.

One of many children of a poor bargeman and his wife, Mathias was affected deeply by the winds of change buffeting him and his generation. The democratic ideas of the French Revolution and Napoleons forced and short-lived consolidation of the German states signaled change. The legacy of that brief union was not lost on the diplomats gathered at the 1815 Congress of Vienna, who issued a call for a voluntary lifting of trade restrictions on the Rhine, the longest river in western Europe, of which the Ruhr is a tributary.

With so much change in the air, Mathias Stinnes and his two brothers did not follow in their fathers footsteps, as generations before them had. Instead of remaining poor laborers, they opted to hire laborers and go into business for themselves. In 1808 Mathias Stinnes, with the help of his brothers, set up his own company, named after himself as elder brother, that hauled goods and raw materials on a boat via the Ruhr.

Stinness business grew, despite the communitys deep-rooted distrust of someone who chose to strike out on a path different from his forefathers. When Mathias died in 1845, his steamboats plied the Ruhr, and he had become the largest private owner of inland shipping in the fragmented German states. Unusual for that day and age, he branched out into other businesses: the Ruhr area was rich in coal, and by the time he died, the Mathias Stinnes company owned shares in 36 mines, four of which his firm had built. Stinness traditional lines of businesstrading in raw materials and transportation on inland waterwayswere well established by the 1840s.

Mathiass sons took over the family enterprise in turn, each one dying at a young age. Despite the succession of political crises in Germany occasioned by wars of unification as well as the rise of an organized labor movement, the Stinnes firm continued to expand. In 1908, 100 years after the company was founded, it possessed 21 tugs and nine of its own ports along with their storage facilities, and owned and controlled five mines. By then, however, a new company had arisen that in time would engulf the old Mathias Stinnes firm.

Hugo Stinnes, grandson of Mathias Stinnes, was born in 1870. Dissatisfied with the traditional family business, the 21-year-old Hugo persuaded his mother to sell her ownership in the firm and to lend him 50,000 gold marks to start up his own business, which he incorporated in 1902 as Hugo Stinnes GmbH in Muelheim. He still retained technical management of the Mathias Stinnes mines, however, and gradually the two companies became indistinguishable.

Hugo Stinnes was a dynamic, forceful, and imaginative entrepreneur whose horizons stretched well beyond the traditional family enterprises and the customary way of doing things. His original businesscoal mining and transportationwas what he knew best; from there, however, he went on to found the biggest business empire that Germany, unified into a centralized state in 1871, had ever seen.

Even the coal business would change under the farsighted entrepreneur: in the years before World War I, Hugo Stinnes entered into a partnership with the much older August Thyssen. Together, the two established the Muelheimer Bergwerk-sverein, which took over used mines and made a profit out of them. Soon Hugo Stinness firm had branches of its coal business in Great Britain, Italy, and the Russian Empire. He entered the shipping business on his own, and his fleets competed with and would eventually absorb the family fleets. He experimented with recycling gas from coke furnaces and became the foremost promoter of electricity in Germany. Hugo Stinnes tirelessly expanded into new business arenas, not for the mere sake of expansion, but to integrate all of his businesses vertically, a feat that he would not fully accomplish until after World War I.

Despite the shortages of various raw materials because of the Allied blockade of Germanys ports, Hugo Stinnes GmbH emerged unscathed from the war and with an even bigger portfolio. With the Kaiser in exile and a new democratic government in place, Hugo Stinnes became a member of the Reichstag and thus politically influential. The French occupation of the Ruhr valley, where many of Stinness assets, especially mines, were located, convinced him that vertical integration of his business, from raw materials to the finished productincluding transporting the finished product and controlling the sources of energy in Germany to complete this processmust be accelerated.

A veritable frenzy of expansion followed, in the course of which Stinnes established a partnership with Stahlwerk Breuningshaus steelworks and proceeded to purchase companies that would fully complement this line of business, such as rolling mills, rivet and wire works, a machine tool factory, and other related companies. In 1920 Hugo Stinnes acquired a mining and foundry business that employed 18,000 workers and joined with Germanys largest manufacturer of electrical equipment and appliances, Siemens, to enter that line of business in a partnership. Interested in new energy sources, especially petroleum, Hugo Stinness firm began acquiring oil wells abroad, along with refineries and the ocean vessels necessary for conveying the precious fuel. Shipping and transportation companies were purchased as a matter of course, and with Hugo Stinness increasing involvement in politics, his business interests turned to newspaper presses, publishing houses and printing establishments, which his firm acquired in short order. Helping this process of acquisition was the cataclysmic German inflation of the early 1920s; property could be bought for almost nothing.

At the time of his premature death in 1924, not only was Hugo Stinnes Germanys most influential and powerful industrialist, but he was also the owner of the largest firm (in terms of assets and revenues) in the country. Hugo Stinnes GmbH consisted of more than 4,500 businesses and employed tens of thousands of workers.

A year and a half after Hugo Stinnes death, the company was on the brink of ruin. Profligate sons succeeded him and competed against each other; banks recalled their loans, and finally, son Hugo, Jr., sold half of the companys shares to two American banks in return for a huge loan. Much of the companys assets and property were destroyed during the succeeding war years; immediately afterwards, the Stinnes firm reverted to the control of the Allied occupation authorities. Half of the firm was still owned by banks in the United States.

The Hugo Stinnes company probably would have gone under, its stock sold to the highest biddermost likely to a foreign companywithout the intervention of Heinz P. Kemper. Because he had no Nazi party affiliation during World War II and had for many years directed an American subsidiary in Germany, the American occupation authority selected him to head Stinnes. As its director, Kemper dismissed Hugo Stinnes, Jr., from the helm, thereby ending the Stinnes familys connection to that firm.

Reviving the company and returning it to prosperity was nearly impossible, especially since its assets were spread throughout Germany and British and French authorities were far less friendly and compromising than the Americans. There was also the urgent matter of repurchasing the half of Stinnes still under American ownership, since the Americans were in a position to make a takeover bid for the other half. Unfortunately, Stinnes finances were in turmoil, and there was no money for repurchase.

The firm began to slowly recoup some of its losses and show a profit, thanks in part to the reform of German currency in 1948 and to the formation of the West German state, or Federal Republic of Germany, in 1949. The company was hardly out of deep water, however. The U.S. Government informed Kemper in the mid-1950s that Stinnes stock held by U.S. banks would be sold to the highest bidder, and Germans would be excluded from bidding. Desperate to save the company, Kemper turned to the German government in Bonn for help. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer gave Kemper a sympathetic hearing. Adenauer in turn had a friendly relationship with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was able to pull enough strings to allow the Germans to participate in bidding for their own stock. The Stinnes company, however, did not possess the required capitalDM 100 millionthe likely price of repurchasing the stock. So, the German government intervened once more; Finance Minister Ludwig Erhard worked to set up a consortium of German banks that could provide the necessary loan, all of which would have to be repaid to the last pfennig. In the United States, Kemper successfully outbid his competitors, including some of the most powerful firms in the Common Market, and the Hugo Stinnes firm was once more a wholly German-owned company.

The Marshall Plan for the resurrection of the German economy as well as the economic benefits of West German unification laid the foundations of the German economic miracle. The Hugo Stinnes company once again became one of Germanys largest transportation and raw material supply companies, with sales in the multi-billion dollar range by the early 1970s. In 1976 the companys name was changed to Stinnes AG, in recognition of the fact that the firm was no longer in the hands of the Hugo Stinnes family, and as a reflection of the traditions of both Mathias Stinnes, the founder, and Hugo Stinnes, the daring entrepreneur. By then, Stinnes AG had joined the VEBA group of companies, Germanys largest firm. In 1965 VEBA had bought 95 percent of Stinnes stock, thus turning the company into a subsidiary. By becoming part of this holding company, Stinnes turned into the biggest transportation company in West Germany, since VEBA sold one of its largest barge lines to Stinnes in return for the Stinnes glassworks and the chemical firm Chemiewerk Ruhroel.

By the early 1990s Stinnes AG had become a multibillion dollar company, operating the largest transportation industry in Europe, and also serving as the owner of Brenntag AG, the largest supplier of petrochemicals on the continent. Headquartered in Mathias Stinness home town of Muelheim on the Ruhr, Stinnes has branched out into every continent on the globe, and into every country in Europe, including eastern Europe and Russia. On the eve of the twenty-first century, Stinnes consisted of a multitude of major companies, most of whom concentrate on the three business operations of Stinnes: trading in raw materials, distribution, and transportation. Two-thirds of Stinnes revenues were derived from foreign markets, and one-third of its over 35,000-member work force were employed by Stinnes businesses outside of Germany.

In the early 1990s Europes biggest transportation (in terms of land traffic) network was the Schenker Eurocargo group, which merged with Stinnes in 1991. A fleet of trucks and other conveyancesincluding railroadstransported merchandise throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe. Schenker-Rhenus AG, along with its subsidiaries, employed a total of 20,000 people and was without doubt Stinness largest component. Stinness Schenker International division was a major air and sea transporter of freight arid operated fourteen travel agencies as well. In the trading division, Stinnes Intercarbon was the top supplier and marketer in Europe of coal and its byproducts; also in the trading division, the Stinnes firm Frank & Schulte GmbH processed and supplied ores, minerals, and metals to anywhere in the world via its 20 subsidiaries; in the distribution segment, consisting of approximately six major companies, Brenntag AG was the number one supplier of industrial chemicals to chemical manufacturers and the cosmetics industry throughout Europe. An increasingly important segment of Stinnes business was the service sector, especially home-improvement chain stores. A small but important enterprise was the replacement tire market operated by Stinnes Reifendienst, which held the number one market position in Germany; this Stinnes division also owned more than 200 service stations throughout Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Alsace.

Since the unification of East and West Germany, Stinnes, unlike many former West German companies, has been in the forefront of investment and expansion into the former German Democratic Republic. Stinnes was also one of the first West German companies to establish corporate branch offices in the eastern German states and to establish major delivery routes into and out of those states. Brenntag AG opened a major distribution center in Magdeburg in former East Germany and quickly established branches of the firm throughout eastern Germany. Shortly after unification in the fall of 1991, Stinness earnings from eastern Germany alone totalled DM 1.5 billionover US$1 billion.

So hungry was the Eastern European populationwhich for decades lived under restrictive communist governmentsfor western goods in the early 1990s, that Stinnes was fortunate to have cultivated strong economic ties long before the fall of communism in eastern Europe and Russia. For one thing, the opening up of the east led to new raw material sources for Stinnes, the largest supplier of raw materials in Europe. Because of this, the Stinnes division Frank & Schulte had a year of record profits during the period of slow worldwide growth in 1991. Ores, minerals, and alloys were increasingly being obtained by Frank & Schulte from its Eastern European markets, which represent the best opportunity for growth for that company. Brenntag opened an important branch in Warsaw and offices in the Prague and Moscow, only the beginning of its full penetration of the Eastern European market. The majority of Stinness divisions were racing to develop or extend their business in the east, including Russia, where the future of the vast Stinnes firm seems to lie.

According to a past chairman of Stinnes AG, Guenter Winkel-mann, the company could not exist without international markets. For this reason, Stinnes was particularly affected by the recession in North America, Australia, and Great Britain in the early 1990s. At the same time, however, Stinnes, which derived most of its revenues from overseas markets, was entrenched as the global leader in transportation and distribution. Stinness transition from a German firm to a multinational company took place nearly 100 years ago. By comparison, many other large companies in Germany and elsewhere were just beginning to branch out overseas. Diverse businesses and international markets were the major strengths of Stinnes AG and crucial components of a global leader looking to maintain its position in the twenty-first century.

Principal Subsidiaries

Internationales Kohle-Trading; Stinnes Intercarbon AG; Stinnes Intercoal GmbH; Stinnes Hansen Coal GmbH; Stromeyer GmbH; Stinnes Kohle-Energie Handelsges. mbH; IKO Industriekohle GmbH & Co. KG; Fechner Gmbh & Co. KG; Stinnes Hansen Coal Company; Intercarbon Pty. Ltd; Agenzia Carboni, S.r.l.; Intercarbon do Brasil Ltd.; Store Norske-Stinnes Intercoal A.S.; Internationales Ö1-Trading; Stinnes Interoil AG; VTG Paktank Hamburb GmbH; Stinnes Interoil Inc.; Stinnes Interoil PTE LTD; Stinnes Interoil Italia SRL; Internationales Erze/Mineralien-Trading; Frank & Schulte GmbH; Ferrocarbon GmbH; Fergusson Wild & Company Ltd.; Microfine Minerals Ltd.; F + S Alloys and Minerals Corporation; Miller and Company; Brenntag AG; Brenntag Eurochem GmbH; Brenntag Interchem GmbH; Industick GmbH, Chemische Produkte; Chemische Fabrik Lehrte; Stinnes Mineralölhandel GmbH; Boucquillon N.V.; NBM Nederlandsche Benzol Maatschappij B.V.; B.V.V./H Firma L.J. Volkers; Brenntag France S.A.; Groupe Distribution Chimie, S.A.; Brenntag (U.K.) Ltd.; Brenntag Italia S.p.A.; Brenntag Portugal Produtos Quimicos Lda.; SOCO Chemical Inc.; Textile Chemical Company Inc.; SOCO-Lynch Chemical Corp.; Delta Distributors, Inc.; P.B. & S. Chemical Company, Inc.; Brenntag Interchem Inc.; Brenntag (Taiwan) Co. Ltd.; Southern Inc.; Walter Patz OHG; Stinnes Montanhandel GmbH & Co. KG; Stinnes Stahlhandel GmbH; Hollinde & Boudon GmbH; Bausthl Schöder GmbH; Josef Stangl EisengroBhandel u. Biegebetrieb GmbH; Michael Friess GmbH; Stinnes Rohrunion GmbH; Stinnes Steel AG; Stinnes BauMarkt AG; Baustoff-Union GmbH & Co. KG; SB-Baustoff-Vertrieb GmbH; Stinnes Reifendienst GmbH; Hofka Sampermans B.V.; Pneu Matti AG; Kautzmann S.A.; Reifen Reiner Ges. mbH; Inter-Union Technohandel GmH; Batavia M. Sawatzky GmbH & Co. KG; Mester Werkzeuge, Werkzeugfabrik GmbH; Interconti Industriekontor GmbH; Gelhard GmbH & Co. KG; Tegro AG; Batvia A/S.; Viktor E. Kern Ges. mbH; Schenker Eurocargo; Biermann-Schenker Portugal Lda.; Bischof Gesellschaft mbH; Exped Holland B.V.; Newexco B.V.; Schenker & Co. AG; Schenker & Co. A/S; Schenker Danmark A/S; Schenker S.A.; Schenkers Ltd.; Schenker Eurocargo B.V.; Schenker Eurocargo N.V.; Schenker Transport AB; Schenker-Berker A.S.; Schenker Interlogistik AG; Schenker Hellas AG; Schenker Hungaria Kft.; Schenker Italiana S.p.A.; Schenker Norge AS; Schenker Polska Sp.zo.o.; Schenker Witag; Schenker International AG; c & d Luftfracht-System GmbH; Rhenus Air Transport GmbH; Schenkers International Forwarders, Inc.; Schenker of Canada Ltd.; Schenker Panamericana (Mexico) S. De R.L.; Schenker Panamericana (Panama) S.A.; Schenker Panamericana (C.A.) Ltda.; Schenker do Brasil Transportes Internacionais Ltda.; Entra, Engelberg Transport Internacionales. C.A.; Schenker Argentina S.A.; Schenker Colombia S.A.; Schenker & Co. (East Africa) Ltd.; Schenker & Co. (Botsuana) (Pty) Ltd.; Schenker & Co. (S.A.) Pty. Ltd.; Japan Schenker Co. Ltd.; Rhenus Transport International Ltd.; Schenker (H.K.) Ltd.; Rhenus Transport (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.; Schenker Singapore (Pte.) Ltd.; P.T. Trans-Kontinent Utama; Schenker Malaysia Sdn. Bhd; Schenker (Thai) Ltd.; Schenker (H.K.) Ltd.; Denny & Roys Ltd.; Schenker & Co. (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.; Rhenus AG; Nancyport Société dExploitation du Port de Frouard S.A.; Luxport S.A.; Rhenus AG fur Schiffahrt und Spedition; Spoorhaven Stevedoring & Warehousing B.V.; Rhenus Nederland B.V.; Stinnes Reederei AG & Co.; RK Reederei + Spedition; Reederei Jaegers GmbH; Combined Container Service GmbH & Co. KG; Bayerischer Lloyd AG; Bulgar Lloyd GmbH; Deutsch-Ukrainische Verkehrs-GmbH; Rom Lloyd GmbH; DLM Donau-Lloyd-Mat GmbH; Stinnes Antverpia N.V.; Hungaro Lloyd KFT; Bayerischer Lloyd Ltd.; Midgard Deutsche Seeverkehrs AG; Poseidon Schiffahrt OHG; Frachtcontor Junge & Co.; Junge & Co.; Ahlers N.V.; De Baerdemaecker N.V.; Railship GmbH & Co. KG; Transwaggon GmbH; Stinnes-Immobiliendienst GmbH & Co. KG; Hotel Nassauer Hof GmbH; Hamburger Hof GmbH & Co.; Hamburger Hof Verischerungs-AG; Stinnes-data-Service GmbH; INAS GmbH; Stinnes-Organisationsberatung GmbH; Stinnes Corporation; Precision National Plating Services Inc.; Transwaggon AG; KKKK A/S.

Further Reading

The Making of a Business Empire; 175 Years of Stinnes; Portrait of a German Company, Econ Verlag, 1983.

People in Finance: Hugo Stinnes, The Banker, October 1982, pp. 7475.

Stinnes AG Annual Reports, 1991 and 1992.

Stinnes AGCompany Report, DAFSA, August 1, 1992.

Stinnes, Edmund Hugo, A Genius in Chaotic Times: Edmund H. Stinnes on his Father, Hugo Stinnes (1870-1924), Bern: E.H. Stinnes, 1979.

Young, Ian, Stinnes Agrarchemie Builds Five Centers, Chemical Week, February 3, 1993, p. 13.

Sina Dubovoj

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