December 1997

50 Years of Marquard & Bahls

Looking at our market position and capitalisation, we can see just how far we have come in the first fifty years. From practically nothing, Mabanaft – our trading subsidiary – has developed into the largest German, and one of the leading European independent oil traders. And although the tank terminal subsidiary Oiltanking began 25 years ago with somewhat more capital and was already equipped with various terminals in Germany, this was on a small scale. So its ranking of number 4 supplier in the world is a very impressive accomplishment. We have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved. In addition, the exceptional profits made in 1996 have brightened up the festivities this year. This does not, however, mean we can rest on our laurels.

In terms of capital, we are relatively strong for an independent, yet compared to our competitors, the major oil companies, our capital reserves are small. It is therefore essential to realize that we cannot afford to make serious mistakes, and that we need to adapt to new conditions quicker than others. It has been our practice to spread our risk between domestic and international business as well as between short-term trade risk and the longer-term tank terminal business. This has given us a certain risk buffer against sudden upheavals.

Our most important "capital" is of course our staff. It is their commitment and innovation that has made our growth over the last 50 years possible; and it will no doubt help us master the challenges of the next 50 years. Without the energy put into every task and that last dollop of effort, success would not be possible – and this applies equally to the future.

It was and is essential that all levels of the company pyramid remain aware of the fact that our existence hinges on our timely performance in the market.