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Hugo Stinnes

Hugo Stinnes

Hugo Stinnes, the son of a mine owner, was born in Mulheim, Germany, on 22 February, 1870. At the age of twenty he inherited his father's substantial business interests.

In 1893 Stinnes founded his own company. Profits from the production and distribution of coal were invested in the steel industry. He also became heavily involved in the Ruhr's power, gas and water utilities. During the First World War Stinnes was one of the main suppliers of the raw materials needed by Germany for war production.

Stinnes held right-wing views and in 1919 he joined with Alfred Hugenberg to establish the German Nationalist Party (DNVP). The following year he was elected to the Reichstag. Stinnes, the owner of more than 60 newspapers, used these to attack the Versailles Treaty.

Stinnes was also hostile to trade unions and joined with Albert Voegler, Gustav Krupp, Fritz Thyssen and Emile Kirdorf to campaign against the eight-hour day.

Hugo Stinnes died in Berlin, on 10th April, 1924.


Company-Histories.com

Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Stinnes AG
Incorporated: 1874 as the Philipp Muehsam Company
Employees: 3,500
Sales: DM 4.5 billion
SICs: 5169 Chemicals & Allied Products, Not Elsewhere Classified 8640 Chemical Industry 8999 Services, Not Elsewhere Classified 6120 Wholesale Distribution of Fuels, Ores, Metals & Industrial Materials

Company Perspectives:

Brenntag is a quick and reliable supplier for the processing industry with industry- and special-chemicals for over 100 years. Satisfied customers are our strength.

Brenntag AG is Europe's largest distributor of industrial chemicals. A multibillion dollar company and affiliate of Germany's largest transportation and distribution firm, Stinnes AG, Brenntag is headquartered in the small city of Muelheim on the Ruhr River, the country's most industrialized corridor. Also a global leader in the distribution of chemicals, the company has more than 80 distribution centers in Europe and 50 in the United States, its most important non-European market.

Brenntag has been in continuous operation since it was founded in 1874. The early 1870s were a propitious time for establishing new businesses in Germany, which had recently been unified after a series of bloody wars. Germany's nationalistic government was anxious to put an end to centuries of economic stagnation and to assert the country's primacy in Europe.

In this favorable climate, Philipp Muehsam, a young German entrepreneur, founded a small business dealing in the transportation and sale of raw materials on the river Spree, the chief artery of Germany's new capital, Berlin. Named after its founder, the Philipp Muehsam Company did a flourishing business. As the capital city of the largest European country, Berlin was rapidly becoming the showplace of everything modern in the late 19th century, and also the center of the country's new chemical industry. In fact, the modern German chemical industry was by the turn of the century the most advanced in the world and the first to employ academically trained researchers.

Contributing to Germany's emerging chemical industry became the chief role of the Philipp Muehsam company. By the turn of the century, its core businesses focused on petroleum as well as on the purchase and distribution of industrial chemicals. Such activities necessitated an international transportation network, which would be upset temporarily during the upheavals of World War I and the subsequent civil unrest. Back on its feet during the 1920s, the company expanded its network under the leadership of Muehsam's successors, and despite the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s, the firm remained the largest distributor of petroleum and industrial chemicals in Germany.

Wartime Shift in Production

During this time, one of Germany's largest industrial concerns, the Hugo Stinnes corporation, had been eyeing the Philipp Muehsam company. In 1938, it made a bid for the company and acquired it. The name of the firm was changed to Brennstoff-Chemikalien-Transport AG, and while its traditional operations in petroleum and industrial chemical distribution remained, a new and important branch was added--the allocation of mineral oil byproducts of petroleum--which would be indispensable to the manufacture of cosmetics during the postwar era.

Wartime, however, generated other needs. While raw materials such as petroleum could still be obtained in the vast Nazi-held territories of eastern Europe during World War II, daily allied bombing took its toll on Brennstoff's business, which during this time consisted wholly of distribution and transportation. By the end of the war, Brennstoff-Chemikalien-Transport AG lay in utter ruin. The parent company, the vast Hugo Stinnes corporation, was confiscated by the occupation authorities, with only a small branch of the company left in the hands of the Stinnes family. Brennstoff, renamed Brenntag AG after the war (in order to disassociate itself with its prewar past), belonged to this branch. Meanwhile that part of the Stinnes firm that had been confiscated by the Allies was reconstituted by the able Dr. Heinz P. Kemper, who was chosen by the U.S. occupation authority in West Berlin because of his lack of party affiliation. In 1964, the Hugo Stinnes firm bought the Brenntag company for what was considered the immense sum of DM 13 million.

Brenntag had been slowly recovering from the turmoil of the war years. Headquarters were moved in 1948 from Berlin in Germany's eastern zone to the more secure town of Muelheim on the Ruhr, in western Germany. With only 20 employees, the company slowly recaptured its former lead in the chemical transportation industry.

Recovery would not have been possible without major currency reform in the western zones in 1948 the unification of the three occupation zones into the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 and the onset of the Marshall Plan for European economic recovery which followed unification. Brenntag became decidedly more attuned to the market, especially in the international arena. Management divested the company of its former shares in various manufacturing enterprises, as well as of its shipping business, and concentrated instead on broadening its product lines and increasing its focus on chemical distribution and transportation.

Of great urgency in the postwar years was expansion into international markets. Aggressive inroads, most particularly in the biggest and richest market of all--the United States--were made in the 1950s, in the company's first venture on the North American continent. During this time, thousands of tons of industrial chemicals landed in the ports of the low countries for transshipment throughout Europe by Brenntag AG. Inroads were also made into Eastern Europe, an area to which Brenntag had had commercial ties for decades. In the following three decades, the Communist countries of the East would constitute a stable but limited market for Brenntag's chemical products. This market would explode in significance and range with the fall of Communism in the late 1980s.

New product lines were developed in the prosperous 1950s, including aromatic petrochemicals for the cosmetics industry, synthetic materials and resins, and chemical solvents, all of which would be purchased and distributed to the major European chemical manufacturers from sources in Europe and overseas.

New Parentage in the 1960s

The largest transportation and distribution company in West Germany, Hugo Stinnes AG, purchased Brenntag from the Bank für Gemeinwirtschaft in 1964. With one stroke, Stinnes had plunged into the lucrative industrial chemical distribution market, which complemented its other businesses in the distribution and transportation of raw materials and petroleum, as well as overseas shipping. The transaction represented a major step towards diversifying Stinnes (which altered its name in 1976 to Stinnes AG) as well as towards greatly broadening Brenntag's customer base. By then Brenntag's sales revenues were in the hundreds of millions of dollars 20 years later, they would exceed a billion. Another advantage of Brenntag's acquisition by Stinnes was the greater financial resources of the parent company, which continues to endow Brenntag with a secure economic base. In 1965, Stinnes AG and Brenntag were acquired by Germany's largest firm, the energy company VEBA AG. Stinnes remained a wholly owned subsidiary of VEBA.

After becoming a member of the Stinnes Group of companies, Brenntag's growth was dramatic. Branch offices were established throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. Out of necessity the company became involved in more than just the buying and selling of a wide array of products, including industrial chemicals, agricultural chemicals or made-to-order specialty chemicals. Large investments were also made in fleets of trucks, storage facilities, and tanks that remain indispensable in the distribution of Brenntag's products. Sales offices expanding in key geographical areas rapidly transmitted and facilitated customer orders.

Great Changes in the 1990s

In the late 1980s, Brenntag underwent tremendous expansion. The fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and the demise of the Soviet Union enabled Brenntag to expand its bases in the East and open new branches in Warsaw, Prague, and even Moscow. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Brenntag was one of the first West German companies to expand into eastern Germany, opening up fifteen branches in a year, and establishing Brenntag affiliates in Erfurt, Chemnitz, and the former East Berlin.

In the early 1990s, chemical firms and their suppliers came under increasing scrutiny for their possible roles in polluting and diminishing the world's natural resources. In addition, stringent new environmental laws forced many of these companies out of business, and burdened the remaining ones with enormous cleanup and safety costs. This was just one of many economic factors influencing a shift toward consolidation as a means of rationalization--that is, greater efficiency in use of financial and other resources.

As Chemical Week reported in 1995, the German chemical distribution industry was the largest in Europe, and at its pinnacle was Brenntag, which according to board member Ernst-Hermann Luttmann had experienced two percent growth in the preceding fiscal year--its first increase since 1991. The company's more efficient use of resources received much of the credit for this improvement. In Berlin, for instance, Brenntag jointly operated a warehousing venture with Biesterfeld, the second-largest chemical distributor in the country. In Nuremberg, Brenntag subsidiary Staub & Co. similarly cooperated with Biesterfeld in its logistical operations. Such cooperation might have seemed strange a few years before, but the new business climate would be characterized by fewer companies possessing more resources and applying more efficient methods--even joining forces with a competitor.

In line with moves toward consolidation, Brenntag shut down several smaller warehouses and brought together a number of its operations. When in 1994 it acquired F & A Wulfing of Gevelsberg, Brenntag closed down two other warehouses in Solingen and Wuppertal. From 1990 to 1995, according to Chemical Week, the company had gone from 22 distribution centers in Germany to just 12, six of them operated with partners. In fact, its cooperation with Biesterfeld had caused some in Germany to speculate that the companies might merge, though as of early 1998 this had not materialized.

Consolidation of resources did not stop the company from continuing to acquire subsidiaries, and indeed its acquisitions in the 1990s were consistent with the industry-wide trend toward larger companies. Just as Stinnes AG consisted of many companies, Brenntag also came to represent a group of firms specializing in different chemicals and services. For instance, in the same city on the Ruhr where the parent company was located, Brenntag Eurochem GmbH provided made-to-order specialty chemicals.

Among Brenntag's acquisitions in 1997 were Spanish, American, Franco-Belgian, and Swiss companies. With yearly receipts of DM 145 million, Productos Quimicos Sevillanos, S.A. of Seville was Spain's second-largest chemical distributor by putting it with its other holdings, Brenntag became the leader in the Spanish market. In 1997 Brenntag also acquired the Franco-Belgian company Bonnave, with cumulative annual sales of DM 165 million in the two countries. This acquisition solidified Brenntag's leadership in the French market, and put it in first place in Belgium as well. Also, Brenntag acquired Christ Chemie AG of Switzerland.

Outside of Europe, Brenntag was most heavily represented in the United States, where SOCO Chemical Inc. in Pennsylvania coordinated all U.S. activities, involving seven American distribution firms with branches in more than 50 locations throughout the country. Even during the recession of the early 1990s, Brenntag's U.S. business fared well, although cost-cutting and streamlining accounted for much of the gain in profitability. In 1997 SOCO acquired Burris Chemical Inc. of Charleston, South Carolina, the largest independent distributor of industrial chemicals in the Southeastern United States. Burris also maintained operations in North Carolina and Alabama.

As it approached the end of the century, Brenntag offered an increasingly sophisticated and detailed list of chemical products and services to chemical processors. In the increasingly vital environmental area and related fields, a host of Brenntag companies provided recycling services, packaging materials, drying and cleaning assistance, waste hauling, consulting and marketing. A visit to its web site offered an A-to-Z sampling of the company's wide array of products, from absorbent, acetic acid, and acetone to zinc oxides, zinc stearates, and zinc sulphate. Among the services Brenntag offered in the late 1990s was online tank sensor equipment. When supplies of a chemical fell to a certain point, this registers on the sensor, and it transmitted the information online to the company. This alerted the latter to dispatch a resupply delivery.

As the largest chemical provider and transporter in Europe, Brenntag has survived the onslaught of environmental legislation and public criticism and has managed to adapt to and even profit from these challenges. Recycling and waste disposal loom as strategic business segments in the future. In any case, with its widespread global distribution and transportation network in an era of increasingly free trade, Brenntag's future seems promising. Even if the world market for chemical raw materials contracts, the possibilities for recycling and efficient waste disposal are numerous.

Principal Subsidiaries: Brenntag Chemiepartner GmbH Brenntag Eurochem GmbH Brenntag International Chemicals GmbH Chemische Fabrik Lehrte Dr. Andreas Kossel GmbH CVH Chemie-Vertrieb GmbH & Co. Industik GmbH Staub & Co. Chemiehandelsges, mbH Brenntag (U.K.) Ltd. Brenntag Guzmán Ibérica S.A. (Spain) Brenntag Nederland B.V. (Netherlands) Brenntag Portugal Productos Quimicos Lda. Brenntag Eurochem Sp.z.o.o. (Poland) Brenntag International Chemicals (Russia) Brenntag International Chemicals spol.s.r.o. (Czech Republic) Brenntag International Chemicals Sp.z.o.o. (Poland) Brenntag S.A. (France) Brenntag SpA (Italy) Brenntag Spezialchemikalien GmbH (Austria) Brenntag Volkers Benelux S.A. Brenntag Volkers Loosdrecht B.V. (Loosdrecht) Bonnave-Dubar S.A. (France-Belgium) Chemproha B.V. (Netherlands) Christ Chemie AG (Switzerland) E. Brunner S.A. (France) N.V. Boucquillon S.A. (Netherlands) PQS Productos Quimicos Sevillanos, S.A. (Spain) Brenntag International Chemicals Inc. (U.S.) Delta Distributors (U.S.) Eastech Inc. (U.S.) PB&S Chemical Company (U.S.) SOCO Chemicals Inc. (U.S.) SOCO-Lynch Corporation (U.S.) SOCO-LYnch Corporation Division Crown Chemical Corp. (U.S.) SOUTHCHEM Inc. (U.S.) Textile Chemical Company Inc. (U.S.) Brenntag (Taiwan) Co. Ltd. Brenntag AG (Singapore).

Brenntag, Your Partner in the Market, Düsseldorf: Econ Verlag, 1974.
Making Sure the Chemistry Is Right, Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany: Brenntag AG, 1991.
Young, Ian, "Consolidation Benefits Leading Distributors," Chemical Week, May 24, 1994, p. 30.
------, "On the Road to Quality in Europe's Competitive Market," Chemical Week, July 22, 1992, pp. 30-32.
------, "Stinnes Agrarchemie Builds Five Centers," Chemical Week, February 3, 1993, p. 13.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol. 23. St. James Press, 1998.


Buffett Takes a Page From the “Inflation King’s” Playbook

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Hugo Stinnes is practically unknown today, but this was not always the case.

In the early 1920s, he was the wealthiest man in Germany, at a time when the country was the world’s third largest economy. He was a prominent industrialist and investor with diverse holdings in Germany and abroad.

Chancellors and Cabinet ministers of the newly formed Weimar Republic routinely sought his advice on economic and political problems. In many ways, Stinnes played a role in Germany similar to the role Warren Buffett plays in the U.S. today.

He was an ultra-wealthy investor whose opinion was eagerly sought on important political matters, who exercised powerful behind the-scenes influence and who seemed to make all the right moves when it came to playing markets.

If you’re a student of economic history, you know that from 1922–1923 Germany suffered the worst hyperinflation experienced by a major industrial economy in modern times. The exchange rate between the German paper currency, the reichsmark, and the dollar went from 208 to 1 in early 1921 to 4.2 trillion to 1 in late 1923.

At that point, the reichsmark became worthless and was swept down sewers as litter. Yet Stinnes was not wiped out during this hyperinflation. Why was that?

Stinnes was born in 1870 into a prosperous German family that had interests in coal mining. He worked in mines to obtain a practical working knowledge of the industry and took courses in Berlin at the Academy of Mining.

Later, he inherited his family’s business and expanded it by buying his own mines. Then he diversified into shipping, buying cargo lines. His own vessels were used to transport his coal within Germany along the Rhine River and from his mines abroad. His vessels also carried lumber and grains. His diversification included ownership of a leading newspaper, which he used to exert political influence.

Prior to the Weimar hyperinflation, Stinnes borrowed vast sums of money in reichsmarks. When the hyperinflation hit, Stinnes was perfectly positioned. The coal, steel and shipping retained their value.

It didn’t matter what happened to the German currency, a hard asset is still a hard asset and does not go away even if the currency goes to zero. Stinnes’ international holdings also served him well because they produced profits in hard currencies, not worthless reichsmarks. Some of these profits were kept offshore in the form of gold held in Swiss vaults.

That way he could escape both hyperinflation and German taxation. Finally, he repaid his debts in worthless reichsmarks, making them disappear. Not only was Stinnes not harmed by the Weimar hyperinflation, but his empire prospered and he made more money than ever.

He expanded his holdings and bought out bankrupt competitors. Stinnes made so much money during the Weimar hyperinflation that his German nickname was Inflationskönig, which means Inflation King. When the dust settled and Germany returned to a new gold-backed currency, Stinnes was one of the richest men in the world, while the German middle classes were destroyed.

Interestingly, you see Warren Buffett using the same techniques today.

It appears that Buffett has studied Stinnes carefully and is preparing for the same calamity that Stinnes saw — hyperinflation. Buffett recently purchased major transportation assets in the form of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

This railroad consists of hard assets in the form of rights of way, adjacent mining rights, rail and rolling stock. The railroad makes money moving hard assets such as ore and grains. Buffett next purchased huge oil and natural gas assets in Canada in the form of Suncor (SU:NYSE).

Buffett can now move his Suncor oil on his Burlington Northern railroad in exactly the same way that Stinnes moved his coal on his own ships in 1923.

For decades, Buffett also owned one of the most powerful newspapers in the U.S.: The Washington Post. He sold that stake recently to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, but still retains communications assets. He’s also purchased large offshore assets in China and elsewhere that produce nondollar profits that can be retained offshore tax-free.

A huge part of Buffett’s portfolio is in financial stocks — particularly in banks and insurance companies — that are highly leveraged borrowers. Like Stinnes in the 1920s, Buffett can profit when the liabilities of these financial giants are wiped out by inflation, while they nimbly redeploy assets to hedge their own exposures.

In short, Buffett is borrowing from the Stinnes playbook. He’s using leverage to diversify into hard assets in energy, transportation and foreign currencies. He’s using his communications assets and prestige to stay informed on behind-the-scenes developments on the political landscape. Buffett is now positioned in much the same way that Stinnes was positioned in 1922.

If hyperinflation were to slam the U.S. today, Buffett’s results would be the same as Stinnes’. His hard assets would explode in value, his debts would be eliminated and he would be in a position to buy out bankrupt competitors. Of course, the middle classes in the U.S. would be wiped out, as they were in Germany.

My advice to you when it comes to billionaires like Buffett is to watch what they do, not what they say. Stinnes saw the German hyperinflation coming and positioned accordingly.

Buffett is following the Stinnes playbook. Perhaps Buffett sees the same hyperinflation in our future. It’s not too late for you to take some of the same precautions as Stinnes and Buffett.

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Company-Histories.com

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


Company Perspectives:
Both Stinnes and Deutsche Bahn's freight services have long been doing business in logistics--day 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 know-how 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 mind--always. With our integrated multi-modal transportation networks, we have optimal ways of conserving resources.


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.
1925-26: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 underway Stinnes's headquarters are relocated to Berlin.

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.

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 business--trading in raw materials and transportation on inland waterways--were 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 business--coal mining and transportation--was 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.

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 product--including transporting the finished product and controlling the sources of energy in Germany to complete this process--must 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 bidder--most likely to a foreign company--without 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.

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.

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 capital--DM 100 million--the 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.

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 conveyances--including railroads--transported 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 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 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 billion--more than $1 billion.

So hungry was the Eastern European population--which for decades lived under restrictive communist governments--for 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 Stinnes--a desire heightened by the company's drive to take over natural gas distributor Ruhrgas AG--combined 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.

  • 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 15-21, 2002, pp. 26-27.
  • 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. 20-21.
  • ------, "Old Dog's New Tricks," Traffic World, June 19, 2000, pp. 17-18.
  • "People in Finance: Hugo Stinnes," Banker, October 1982, pp. 74-75.
  • 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 (1870-1924), Bern: E.H. Stinnes, 1979.
  • Young, Ian, "Brenntag Enters the U.S. Top Three," Chemical Week, April 25, 2001, pp. 26-28.
  • ------, "Brenntag Shifts Up a Gear," Chemical Week, August 16, 2000, pp. 50-51.
  • ------, "Stinnes Agrarchemie Builds Five Centers," Chemical Week, February 3, 1993, p. 13.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol.59. St. James Press, 2004.


Entrepreneurial career

After the death of his father Hugo Stinnes in 1924, he and his brother Edmund Hugo Stinnes took over the business of Stinnes AG . He was a member of the supervisory board of the Rheinisch-Westphalian coal syndicate . In 1925 he, now the sole head of the company, had to transfer the heavily indebted group to an American holding company in which the family only owned 50 percent. The group fell apart. In 1929 Stinnes was charged with cheating on the German Reich with incorrectly dated government bonds, but was acquitted. His private secretary was convicted.

Stinnes took part in the secret meeting of February 20, 1933 , at which the industry decided on an election fund of 3 million Reichsmarks for the NSDAP . After a dispute with his mother Cläre Stinnes , he left Hugo Stinnes oHG in 1956 . He then built up a new, heavily nested group around Atlas-Werke AG in Bremen, which practically collapsed in 1963, heavily in debt, and had to be sold for the most part to avoid bankruptcy.


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 Ö 1-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 Mineral ö lhandel 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 Sch ö der 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 ” Soci é t é d ’ Exploitation 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.


Hugo Stinnes - History

Concept/Program: A small merchant ship taken over at the start of WWI and modified for service as a Baltic Fleet seaplane carrier.

Design/Conversion: Very minimal conversion. Seaplanes stored in the aft well deck, hoisted with cargo booms. No hangars.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Rendered unservicable by mine damage in 1916.

Glyndwr
ex merchant Glyndwr , ex merchant Craigronald
Photos: [ Glyndwr ].
Built by Blohm & Voss. Laid down . launched 10/1904, completed ?? Renamed 1911. Interned at Danzig at the start of WWII, taken over by the German Navy and modified as a seaplane carrier at Danzig. Commissioned 16 Dec 1914.

Served in the Baltic. Damaged by mines 4 June 1915 and not fully repaired, used as auxiliary hulk after 9/1916. Surrendered to England 21 Jan 1919, repaired and sold into merchant service as Akenside postwar. Renamed Agia Varvara 1920's. Scrapped circa 1955.

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Adeline Hugo Stinnes 3 auxiliary seaplane carrier
Displacement: 2,709 GRT
Dimensions: 341.8 x 45.3 x 22 feet/104.2 x 13.8 x 6.72 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 1 shaft, 1,700 ihp, 10 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none
Armament: none
Aircraft: 3 seaplanes

Concept/Program: A merchant ship taken over for conversion to a small seaplane carrier. Other details unknown.

Adeline Hugo Stinnes 3
ex merchant Adeline Hugo Stinnes 3
Photos: [No photos available].
Built by Bremer Vulcan, Vegesack. Launched 1909, taken over 1914. Operations and fate unknown.

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Answald small seaplane carrier
Displacement: 13,200 tons
Dimensions: 440 x 54.4 x 24 feet/134 x 16.6 x 7.3 meters
Propulsion: Compound engines, 3 boilers, 1 shaft, 2,800 ihp, 11 knots
Crew: 107
Armor: none
Armament: 2 3.4/45 AA
Aircraft: 2-3 seaplanes (6 maximum)

Concept/Program: A small merchant ship leased for conversion to a seaplane carrier for Baltic Fleet service.

Design/Conversion: Fitted with hangars and hoisting booms fore and aft. Also fitted as a torpedo boat tender. Initially deemed unsuitable for service after conversion and required modifications prior to commissioning.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Surrendered postwar.

Answald
ex merchant
FS 1
Photos: [ Answald ].
Built by Bremer Vulcan. Launched 9/1909. Leased (date?), converted at Danzig Kaiserliche Werft, commissioned 17 July 1915.

Served in the Baltic. Surrendered to England 1919, sold into merchant service as Vulcan City postwar. Scrapped in 1933.

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Santa Elena small seaplane carrier
Displacement: 13,900 tons
Dimensions: 452 x 55 x 23 feet/137.7 x 16.8 x 7 meters
Propulsion: Quad. expansion engines, 3 boilers, 1 shafts, 2,800 ihp, 11 knots
Crew: 122
Armor: none
Armament: 2 3.4/45 AA
Aircraft: 3-4 seaplanes (6 maximum)

Concept/Program: A small merchant ship taken over for conversion to a seaplane carrier for Baltic Fleet service.

Design/Conversion: Similar to Answald . Fitted with hangars and hoisting booms fore and aft. Initially deemed unsuitable for service after conversion and required modifications prior to commissioning.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Surrendered postwar.

Santa Elena
ex merchant Santa Elena
FS 11
Photos: [ Santa Elena ].
Built by Blohm & Voss. Launched 16 Nov 1907. Taken over (date?), converted at Danzig Kaiserliche Werft, commissioned 2 July 1915.

Served in the Baltic. Surrendered to USA 1919, sold into merchant service as Santa Elena postwar. Renamed Linois 1922, Orvieto (Italian) 1924. Became property of German Navy 9/1943 following Italian surrender. Sunk at Marseilles 8/1944 by bombing or scuttling. Raised and scrapped 1945.

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Oswald small seaplane carrier
Displacement: 7,640 tons
Dimensions: 370 x 50 x 22 feet/112.7 x 15 x 6.7 meters
Propulsion: TE engines, 2 boilers, 1 shaft, 2,200 ihp, 10 knots
Crew: 95
Armor: none
Armament: 2 3.4/45 AA
Aircraft: 4 seaplanes

Concept/Program: A small merchant ship taken over for conversion to a depot ship, then converted to a seaplane carrier late in the war, probabl as an emergency measure.

Design/Conversion: Similar to Answald , but more elaborate. Fitted with hangars and hoisting booms fore and aft.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Surrendered postwar.

Oswald
ex merchant Oswestry
FS III
Photos: [ Oswald ].
Built by JL Thompson & Sons. Launched 11/1905. Interned at Danzig at the start of WWI. Taken over as a minesweeper depot ship and renamed 1917. Used as a transport after 17 Sept 1917. Converted to a seaplane carrier at Danzig 2/1918 to 7/1918, commissioned 17 July 1918.

Surrendered to England 18 Dec 1919, sold into merchant service as Eian Maru (Japanese) 1924. Sunk by US aircraft 25 July 1945.

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Stuttgart (Stettin class) seaplane cruiser
Displacement: approx. 3,800 tons full load
Dimensions: 383 x 43.5 x 17.5 feet/116.7 x 13.3 x 5.3 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 11 boilers, 2 shafts, 12,000 ihp, 23 knots
Crew: .
Armor: .75-1.75 inch deck
Armament: 4 4.1 inch, 2 88 mm AA, 2 18 inch torpedo tubes
Aircraft: 3 seaplanes

Concept/Program: A light cruiser converted to operate seaplanes late in the war, probably as an emergency measure.

Design/Conversion: Large hangar fitted between funnels and aft mast cranes, etc. fitted. Retained cruiser armament forward.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Surrendered postwar.

Stuttgart

Photos: [A Stettin class cruiser as completed]. [ Stuttgart as converted].
Built by Danzig Navy Yard. Laid down 1905, launched 22 Sept 1906, completed 1 Feb 1908. Converted to seaplane carrier 2/1918-5/1918.

Stricken 5 November 1919, surrendered to England 20 July 1920 as Prize "S", scrapped in 1921.

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Roon seaplane cruiser
Displacement: approx. 10,000 tons
Dimensions: approx. 419.3 x 66.3 x 25.3 feet/127.8 x 20.2 x 7.7 meters
Propulsion: VTE engines, 16 boilers, 3 shafts, 19,000 hp, 21 knots
Crew: approx. 500
Armor: 4 inch belt, 1-2 inch deck
Armament: 6 15cm/45 QF, 6 88mm/45 AA
Aircraft: 4 seaplanes

Concept/Program: A planned conversion of a large, obsolete armored cruiser as a seaplane cruiser for fleet scouting duties. The project was not carried out, probably because other work had higher priority.

Design: The superstructure aft of the 4th funnel would have been removed, and the hull would have been cut down by one deck, to make space for an extensive hangar and maintenance area. Several cranes would have been carried. The original heavy guns were to be replaced by QF and AA guns.

Roon
Photos: [No photos available].
Built by Kiel Dockyard. Laid down 8/1902, launched 6/1903, commissioned 10/1905 but apparently not completed until early 1906. Disarmed as an accommodation/guardship 1916. Conversion to seaplane tender was planned 1917, but was cancelled. Stricken for disposal 25 November 1920 and subsequently scrapped.

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Merchant Catapult Tender type catapult seaplane tenders
See individual entries for specifications.

Concept/Program: Four ships, two converted and two purpose-built, which served as tenders/base ships for civilian trans-Atlantic seaplane operations during the 1930's. All were taken over by the Luftwaffe in 1939-1940 and employed as seaplane tenders. These are not sisterships, but are listed together for convenience.

Design: Of varying designs. Westfalen and Schwabenland were built as smallish passenger liners they were fitted with a single huge crane and a catapult aft during conversion to merchant tenders. Ostmark was purpose-built she had a long, open forward deck, 2/3 the length of the ship, a small superstructure offset to starboard, and a large crane at the stern, also offset to starboard. The catapult ran the full length of the ship along the port side. Friesenland was also purpose built. She had a fairly conventional small superstructure forward with a large, open working deck and catapult aft. Modifications in Luftwaffe service, if any, are unknown.

Operational: Served as seaplane tenders in various locations throughout the war.

Westfalen
ex merchant Westfalen
Photos: [SS Westfalen as converted].
Displacement: 5,365 GRT
Dimensions: 409 x 53 x ?? feet/124.6 x 16.1 x ?? meters
Propulsion: Steam, 2,200 hp, 11.5 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: none
Armament: unknown
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working deck

Built by Tecklenburg AG. Laid down . launched 11/1905, completed 1906. Converted to civilian seaplane tender 1933. Taken over 1940.

Modified mid-1941 with superstructure removed and funnel trunked to port. served mostly in the Baltics and Norway. Mined and sunk 7 September 1944.

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Schwabenland
ex merchant Schwabenland , ex Schwarzenfels
Photos: [SS Schwabenland as converted].
Displacement: 8,188 grt
Dimensions: 468 x 60.5 x 27.5 feet/142.6 x 18.5 x 8.4 meters
Propulsion: Diesel, 3,600 hp, 12 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: none
Armament: unknown
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working deck

Built by Duetsche Werke, Kiel. Laid down . launched 14 March 1925, completed 17 July 1925. Converted to civilian seaplane tender 1934. Taken over 1939 and commissioned 12 October 1939.

Operated in French ports after 1940, then transferred to Norway. Torpedoed by HMS Terrapin 24 March 1944 and grounded at Egersund to prevent sinking. Temporarily repaired 5-6/1944 and used as an accomodations/stores hulk. Postwar was loaded with gas shells and scuttled 31 Dec 1946 in the Skagerrak.

[Back To Top]
Ostmark
Photos: [ Ostmark as completed], [Hoisting a seaplane], [Launching a seaplane ].
Displacement: 1281 GRT
Dimensions: 245.5 x 37 x 15.5 feet/74.8 x 11.3 x 4.7 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 1,800 hp, 14 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: none
Armament: unknown
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working/catapult deck

Built by Howaldtswerke, Kiel. Laid down . launched 22 May 1936, completed 1936. Taken over 1939.

Operated in Norway, then off France. Torpedoed and sunk by HMS Tuna 14 September 1940.

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Friesenland
Photos: [ Friesenland as completed], [Aft view of Friesenland ].
Displacement: 5,434 GRT
Dimensions: 455 x 54 x 19.5 feet/138.7 x 16.5 x 6 meters
Propulsion: Diesels, 5,800 hp, 16 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: none
Armament: unknown
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working/catapult deck

Built by Howaldtswerke, Kiel. Laid down . launched 23 March 1937, completed 1937. Taken over 1939 and commissioned 5 September 1939.

Operated in France and Norway. Damaged by Russian aircraft 29 September 1944 and beached at Narvik as a workshop hulk, later became repair ship at Trondheim.

Taken over by RN 4/1946 and used as a seaplane depot hulk. Sold into merchant service as Fairsky in 1949. Renamed Castel Navoso , later Argentine Reefer . Scrapped 1968-1969.

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Sperber catapult seaplane tender
Displacement: 1,086 tons
Dimensions: 230.5 x 47.7 x 5.25 feet/70.25 x 14.55 x 1.6 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 640 hp, 8 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: several seaplanes working/catapult deck

Concept/Program: Generally similar to the two purpose-built civilian seaplane catapult ships, this vessel was apparently built for Luftwaffe service. She had a long, flat deck with a catapult, a large crane aft, and a small island forward, on the starboard side.

Sperber
("sparrowhawk")
Photos: [No photos available]
Built by H.C. Stulcken, Hamburg. Laid down 1938, launched 1938, completed 26 November 1938.

Hulked as a floating crane at Wilhelmshaven 1949. Fate unknown. [Back To Top]

Bussard class catapult seaplane tenders
Displacement: 2,040 tons
Dimensions: 322.5 x 46 x 7.2 feet/98.3 x 14 x 2.2 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 1,800 hp, 12 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working/catapult deck

Concept/Program: Larger versions of Sperber , but otherwise similar to other purpose-built catapult ships. Constructed for Luftwaffe service.

Bussard
("buzzard")
Photos: [No photos available.]
Built by Schichau, Konigsberg. Laid down 1940, launched 1941, completed 1 May 1942.

Turned over to the USA in 1946 and sold or transferred in 1947 converted to dredge Ahoy 1951. Fate unknown.

[Back To Top]
Falke
("falcon")
Photos: [No photos available.]
Built by Schichau, Konigsberg. Laid down 1940, launched 29 July 1940, completed 22 November 1942.

Turned over to the Soviets 1946 and renamed Aeronaft . Fate unknown.

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Krischan type small seaplane tenders
See individual entries for specifications.

Concept/Program: A series of four tug-type seaplane tenders built for Luftwaffe service. The design featured a large, open working deck aft, with a heavy crane at the forward end of the deck. These are not sisterships but are listed together for convenience the three initial vessels seem to have been considered as a single series, with the 4th vessel presumably being a later addition to the fleet. Most service details are unknown.

Displacement: 196 tons
Dimensions: 125.25 x 22 x 8.2 feet/38.15 x 6.7 x 2.5 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 750 hp, 15 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 1 seaplane working deck

Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 11 March 1934, completed 23 March 1934.

Sunk by British bombing at Kiel 7 January 1944.

[Back To Top]
Gunther Pluschow
ex- Krischan II
Photos: [No photos available.]

Displacement: 375 tons
Dimensions: 176.3 x 27 x 8.5 feet/53.75 x 8.3 x 2.65 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 3,200 hp, 19 knots
Crew: .
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working deck

Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 1935, completed 14 April 1935.

Turned over to the Soviets 1946 and renamed Kodor . Fate unknown.

[Back To Top]
Bernhard Von Tschirschky
ex- Krischan III
Photos: [No photos available.]

Displacement: 880 tons
Dimensions: 252.6 x 36 x 10 feet/77 x 11 x 3 meters
Propulsion: 3 diesels, 3 shafts, 4,800 hp, 18.4 knots
Crew: .
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 2 seaplanes working deck

Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 1935, completed 7 November 1935.

Sunk by British bombing at Kiel 7 January 1944.

Displacement: 985 tons
Dimensions: 250 x 35.5 x 11.3 feet/76.2 x 10.8 x 3.45 meters
Propulsion: 4 diesels, 2 shafts, 8,800 hp, 19.5 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 3 seaplanes working deck

Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 20 February 1937, completed 9 February 1938.

Mined and sunk 10/1944. Hulk raised 1949 and scrapped 1950-51.

[Back To Top]

Karl Meyer class small seaplane tenders
Displacement: 1,157 tons
Dimensions: 256 x 35.5 x 12 feet/78 x 10.8 x 3.65 meters
Propulsion: 4 diesels, 2 shafts, 8,800 hp, 18.5 knots
Crew: ?
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 3 seaplanes working deck

Concept/Program: A series of four nearly identical tug-type seaplane tenders built for the Luftwaffe. The design is very similar to Hans Rolshoven and is obviously derived from the Krischan type.

Karl Meyer
Photos: [No photos available]
Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 1940, completed 22 August 1940.

Sunk by British bombing 9/1944.

[Back To Top]
Max Stinsky
Photos: [No photos available]
Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 1940, completed 7 August 1941.

Interned in Spain 8/1944, turned over to RN 12/1945, then transferred to France 2/1948 as O.E. Paul Goffeny , later renamed Paul Goffeny . Initially designated F754, later designated A754. Operated as a seaplane support ship in Indochina from 1948 to 1955, then as a patrol and rescue ship in the South Atlantic until 1964. From 1964 to 1968 served as a hydrographic vessel. Decommissioned to reserve 30 December 1968. Fate unknown.

[Back To Top]
Imelmann
Photos: [No photos available]
Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 1941, completed 18 Dec 1941.

Interned in Spain 8/1944, turned over to RN 12/1945, transferred to France 8/1946 as Commandant Robert Giraud (A755) (may have been F755 initially). Operated as a seaplane support ship in Indochina through the 1950's armament was 1 105 mm, 2 40 mm, 2 dual 20 mm, 2 MG and 1 mortar with a crew of 78. Reclassified as netlayer in 1963 and stationed in Madagascar. Decommissioned to reserve 1976. Fate unknown.

[Back To Top]
Boelcke
Photos: [No photos available]
Built by Norderwerft Koser & Meyer, Hamburg. Laid down . launched 1942, completed 12/1942.

Sunk by Russian bombers 8 April 1945.

[Back To Top]

Hans Albrecht Wedel class small seaplane tenders
Displacement: 1,215 tons
Dimensions: 275 x 36 x 11 feet/83.8 x 11 x 3.35 meters
Propulsion: 4 diesels, 2 shafts, 8,800 hp, 16 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 3 seaplanes working deck

Concept/Program: A slightly enlarged version of the Karl Meyer design.

Hans Albrecht Wedel
Photos: [No photos available.]
Built by Schichau, Konigsberg. Laid down . launched 2 Sept 1940, completed 22 Sept 1941.

Sunk by Russian bombers 8 April 1945.

[Back To Top]
Richtofen
ex- Werner Molders
Photos: [No photos available.]
Built by Schichau, Konigsberg. Laid down . launched 1 March 1942, apparently never completed, sunk 8/1944. [Back To Top]
Hermann Kohl
Photos: [No photos available.]
Built by Schichau, Konigsberg (?). Laid down . launched 19 March 1942, apparently never completed.

[Back To Top]

Greif small seaplane tender
Displacement: 890 tons
Dimensions: 236 x 34.7 x 10 feet/72 x 10.6 x 3 meters
Propulsion: 2 diesels, 2 shafts, 4,400 hp, 16 knots
Crew: ??
Armor: none?
Armament: none?
Aircraft: 3 seaplanes working deck

Concept/Program: A tug-type seaplane tender, generally similar to the other Luftwaffe tug-tenders.

Greif
("griffin")
Photos: [ Greif ].
Built by Stettiner Oderwerke, Stettin. Laid down . launched 1936, completed 1 August 1937.

Taken over by the US 22 Dec 1945, transferred to France 2/1948 as Marcel Le Bihan (A759) (may have been F759 initially). Operated as a seaplane support ship in Indochina from 1948 to 1961, then became a deep-sea dive support ship. Survived at least through 1982. Fate unknown.

[Back To Top]

Ex-French San Souci class small seaplane tenders
Displacement: 1,372 tons standard (design)
Dimensions: 311.5 x 38.5 x 10.5 feet/96 x 11.7 x 3.2 meters
Propulsion: Diesels, 2 shafts, 4,200 bhp, 18 knots
Crew: 178
Armor: none (?)
Armament: 3 10.5cm/45, 2 twin 37 mm, 10-14 20 mm AA (design)
Aircraft: seaplane working deck only

Concept/Program: A class of four small seaplane tenders, captured incomplete from the French. The Germans initially planned to complete them as seaplane tenders, but a shortage of cranes lead to the ships being converted to gunboats starting 4/1942. The Germans considered these ships to be lightly built and poor seaboats. The German names listed for these ships were provisional only, were changed before the ships were completed, and were never carried in service thus the vessels are listed in order by their later numeric designations. Two were lost and two decommissioned in 1944, later returning to French ownership.

Jupiter/Merkur
ex- Sans Souci
SG1
Photos: [As German SG1]
Built by Ch. de St. Nazaire-Penhoet. Laid down . captured when 34% complete, launched 2 October 1940. Initially planned for completion as a seaplane tender, named Jupiter , then Merkur name cancelled when converted to a gunboat 3/1942. Commissioned as gunboat SG1 9 August 1942. Decommissioned 22 August 1944, partially disarmed 5/1945, returned in 1945.

Rebuilt as survey ship Beautemps Beaupre postwar, completed 8 May 1947. Stricken 1969, hulked as Q456, scrapped 1973.

[Back To Top]
Saturn/Uranus
ex- Sans Reproche
SG2
Photos: [No photos available].
Built by Ch. de St. Nazaire-Penhoet. Laid down . captured when 41% complete, launched 30 October 1940. Initially planned for completion as a seaplane tender, named Saturn , then Uranus name cancelled when converted to a gunboat 3/1942. Commissioned as gunboat SG2 7 September 1942. Severely damaged by a mine 8 May 1943, then sunk by Allied aircraft 23 September 1943 at Nantes.

[Back To Top]
Uranus/Saturn
ex- Sans Pareil
SG3
Photos: [No photos available].
Built by Ch. de St. Nazaire-Penhoet. Laid down . caputured when 32% complete, launched 28 November 1940. Initially planned for completion as a seaplane tender, named Uranus , then Saturn name cancelled when converted to a gunboat 3/1942. Commissioned as gunboat SG3 2 November 1942. Sunk by Allied aircraft 6 August 1944.

[Back To Top]
Merkur/Jupiter
ex- Sans Peur
SG4
Photos: [Hulk La Perouse postwar] [As survey ship La Perouse postwar] [Hulk of La Perouse at Brest in 1978]
Built by Ch. de St. Nazaire-Penhoet. Laid down . captured when 42% complete, launched 28 November 1940. Initially planned for completion as a seaplane tender, named Merkur , then Jupiter name cancelled when converted to a gunboat 3/1942. Commissioned as gunboat SG4 2 September 1943. Decommissioned 22 August 1944, partially disarmed 5/1945, returned 1945.

Rebuilt as survey ship La Perouse , completed 23 April 1947. Stricken 1969, hulked at Brest, hulk survived at least through 1984. Eventually sunk as a target, date unknown.

[Back To Top]

Graf Zeppelin class fleet aircraft carriers
Displacement: 28,090 tons full load
Dimensions: 820 x 103.5 x 23.5 feet/250 x 31.5 x 7 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 16 boilers, 4 shafts, 200,000 shp, 35 knots
Crew: 1760 plus air wing
Armor: 3.5 inch belt, 1.5 inch deck, .75 inch flight deck
Armament: 8 dual 5.9/55, 6 dual 4.1/65 AA, 11 dual 37 mm AA, 28 20 mm AA
Aircraft: 41-43

Concept/Program: The first class of carriers to be laid down by the Germans. This program was subject to political arguments over which service would operate the aircraft, leading to delays wartime events brought the program to a halt, and it was killed by Hilter's decision to devote most naval resources to the submarines.

Design: Initially conceived as a ship very similar to HMS Courageous . The design was modified when final design work was undertaken, and emerged with many features typical of European carrier design, especially heavy armor and armament. The ship was very fast so she could outrun raiders or hunters. The armament was designed to counter surface ships and aircraft, leading to significant inefficiencies. The aircraft would have been modified land-based types. Aircraft operating features were poorly designed due to a total lack of experience in shipboard aircraft operation. The design was subject to several changes dictated by wartime events.

Departure from Service/Disposal: Both ships suspended in 1940, but one resumed 1942, only to be cancelled in 1943. The ship became Soviet property postwar and was destroyed as a target.

Graf Zeppelin
Photos: [ Graf Zeppelin launching], [Early 1942, still incomplete], [ Graf Zeppelin scuttled at Stettin, 1945]. [Hulk postwar, after salvage.].
Built by Deutsche Werke, Kiel. Laid down 28 Dec 1936, launched 8 Dec 1938 but suspended when 85-90% complete in 5/1940. Work resumed 13 May 1942, but stopped again and project cancelled 30 Jan 1943. Scuttled at Stettin 25 April 1945.

Raised and seized by the Soviets August 1947 loaded with war booty and towed to Leningrad, then anchored off Swinemunde as a target hulk. Used extensively as a target for bombs and torpedoes before sinking probably continued as a target after sinking. Hulk was probably eventually scrapped.

[Back To Top]
Peter Strasser

Laid down at Germaniawerft, Kiel, probably in 1938. Work proceeded slowly cancelled 3/1940 when approx. 60% completed and scrapped. Name was planned but never officially assigned.

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Auxiliary Fleet Carrier Program
See individual entries for specifications

Concept/Program: A series of five cruisers and merchant ships were planned for conversion starting 5/1942 as an effort to provide a practical naval aviation force. None of the ships was ever completed as a carrier, and most conversions were never started. All were cancelled late in 1942 or early in 1943, when the carrier programs were cancelled. These were not sisterships, but are listed together for convenience. These vessels are commonly identified by their original names new names had not been assigned prior to cancellation of the conversions.

Design/Conversion: Generally similar to Graf Zeppelin. The conversion would have involved removal of existing superstructure and construction of a new flight deck, hangar, large island, and a heavy defensive battery. Details varied among the ships.

Project I
merchant Europa
Photos: [no photos available]

[DANFS History]
Displacement: 44,000 tons design 56,500 tons max.
Dimensions: 918.6 x 101.7 x 27.8 feet/280 x 31 x 8.5 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 954.7 x 121.4 x 33.8 feet/291.5 x 37 x 10.3 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 24 boilers, 4 shafts, 100,000 shp, 26.5 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: none
Armament: 6 dual 4.1 inch AA, 10 dual 37 mm AA, 28-36 20 mm AA
Aircraft: 42 aircraft

Built by Blohm & Voss. Laid down 1927, launched 16 August 1928, damaged by fire 26 March 1929, completed 19 March 1930. Accomodations ship 1939, planned for use as invasion transport 6/1940. She would have been the largest of the converted carriers, but the design suffered stability problems. Conversion abandoned 25 November 1942.

Taken as a US prize 8 May 1945, transferred to USN and commissioned as USS Europa 25 August 1945. Served as troop transport, then decommissioned 2 May 1946, transferred to the State Department for further transfer to France 8 June 1946. Wrecked and sunk at Le Havre 8 December 1946 but raised 15 April 1947, repaired, and placed in service 17 August 1950 as SS Liberte . Scrapped at LaSpezia in 1962.

[Back To Top]
Project II
cruiser De Grasse
Photos: [ De Grasse after 1966].
Displacement: 11,400 tons design
Dimensions: 591.8 x 80 x 18.4 feet/180.4 x 24.4 x 5.6 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 631.5 x 80 x 18.4 feet/192.5 x 24.4 x 5.6 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 110,000 shp, 32 knots
Crew: unknown
Armor: unknown
Armament: 6 dual 4.1 inch AA, 6 dual 37 mm AA, 24 20 mm AA
Aircraft: 23

Built by Arsenal de Lorient as a French light cruiser Laid down 11/1938, suspended at the outbreak of war. Conversion abandoned 2/1943. Returned to Franch postwar, launched 11 August 1946 and completed 3 September 1956 as antiaircraft cruiser DeGrasse . Reconstructed 1966 as a command cruiser. Stricken 1973 and subsequently scrapped.

[Back To Top]
Project Weser
cruiser Seydlitz
Photos: [ Seydlitz at launch] [ Seydlitz as launched] [ Seydlitz gutted for conversion] [Sistership Prinz Eugen as a cruiser]
Displacement: 17,139 tons design
Dimensions: 679 x 70.5 x 26 feet/207 x 21.5 x 8 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 712 x 105 x 26 feet/217 x 32 x 8 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 12 boilers, 3 shafts, 130,000 shp, 32 knots
Crew: .
Armor: 1.25 inch belt
Armament: 5 dual 4.1/50 AA, 5 dual 37 mm AA, 24 20 mm AA
Aircraft: 20

Built by Deschimag, Bremen as a heavy cruiser Laid down 29 Dec 1936, launched 19 Jan 1939, suspended circa 1940, carrier conversion ordered 26 Aug 1942. Stripping work began at Deschimag, Bremen, 12/1942 work stopped 6/1943. Hulk scuttled at Konigsberg 29 January 1945 to avoid capture by the Soviets. Salvaged by the Soviets and eventually scrapped.

[Back To Top]
Project Elbe
ex merchant Potsdam
Photos: [No photo available]
Displacement: 17,527 tons design 23,500 tons max
Dimensions: 620 x 74 x 16.7 feet/189 x 22.6 x 5.10 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 666 x 88.5 x 29 feet/203 x 27 x 8.85 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbine electric, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 26,000 shp, 21 knots
Crew: 900
Armor: none
Armament: 6 dual 4.1 inch AA, 5 dual 3.7 mm AA, 24-32 20 mm AA
Aircraft: 24

Taken over by the British 20 June 1946, put in service as troopship Empire Fowey . Sold as Pakistani pilgrim ship Safina-E-Hujjaj 1960 scrapped in 1976.

[Back To Top]
Project Jade
merchant Gneisenau
Photos: [SS Gneisenau ], [Another view of SS Gneisenau ], [ Gneisenau sunk].
Displacement: 18,160 tons design
Dimensions: 626.6 x 87.9 x 18 feet/191 x 26.8 x 5.10 meters
Extreme Dimensions: 666 x 88.6 x 29 feet/203 x 27 x 8.85 meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 boilers, 2 shafts, 26,000 shp, 21 knots
Crew: 880
Armor: none
Armament: 6 dual 4.1 inch AA, 5 dual 3.7 mm AA, 24-32 20 mm AA
Aircraft: 24

Built by AG Bremem. Laid down 1934, launched 17 May 1935, completed 3 January 1936. Taken over as transport 6/1940 planned conversion cancelled 25 November 1942. Mined and sunk 2 May 1943.


Jim Rickards Blog

Hugo Stinnes is practically unknown today, but this was not always so. In the early 1920s he was the wealthiest man in Germany, at a time when Germany was the third largest economy in the world. He was a prominent industrialist and investor with diverse holdings in Germany and abroad. He was also a close associate of the leading politicians of the time. Chancellors and cabinet ministers of the newly formed Weimar Republic routinely sought his advice on economic and political problems.

In many ways, Stinnes played a role in Germany similar to the role Warren Buffett plays in the U.S. today – an ultra-wealthy investor whose opinion is eagerly sought on important political matters, who exercises powerful behind-the-scenes influence, and who seems to make all the right moves when it comes to playing markets.

Students of economic history know that the period 1922 to 1923 in Germany was the worst period of hyperinflation experienced by a major industrial economy in modern times. The exchange rate between the German paper currency, the Reichsmark, and the dollar went from 208 to 1 in early 1921 to 4.2 trillion to 1 in late 1923, at which point the Reichsmark became worthless and was swept down sewers as litter. Why was Stinnes not wiped out during this hyperinflation ?

Stinnes was born in 1870 into a prosperous German family that had interests in coal mining. He worked in mines to obtain a practical working knowledge of the industry and took courses in Berlin at the Academy of Mining. Later he inherited his family’s business and expanded it by buying his own mines.

He then diversified into shipping, buying cargo lines. Stinnes used his own vessels to transport his coal within Germany along the Rhine River, and from his mines abroad. His vessels also carried lumber and grains. His diversification included ownership of a leading newspaper, which he used to exert political influence. Prior to the Weimar hyperinflation, Stinnes borrowed vast sums of money in Reichsmarks.

When the hyperinflation hit Stinnes was perfectly positioned. His hard assets in coal, steel, and shipping retained their value. It didn’t matter what happened to the Germany currency, a hard asset is still a hard asset and does not go away even if the currency goes to zero. Stinnes’s international holdings also served him well because they produced profits in hard currencies, not worthless Reichsmarks. Stinnes kept some of these profits offshore in the form of gold held in Swiss vaults so he could escape both hyperinflation and German taxation. Finally he repaid his debts in worthless Reichsmarks, making them disappear.

Not only was Stinnes not harmed by the Weimar hyperinflation, his empire prospered and he made more money than ever. He expanded his holdings and bought out bankrupt competitors. Stinnes made so much money during the Weimar hyperinflation that his German nickname was Inflationskönig, which means Inflation King. When the dust settled and Germany returned to a new gold backed currency, Stinnes was one of the richest men in the world, while the German middle classes were destroyed.

Interestingly, we see Warren Buffett using the same techniques today. It appears that Buffett has studied Stinnes carefully and is preparing for the same kind of financial calamity that Stinnes saw coming.

Buffett recently purchased major transportation assets in the form of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. This railroad consists of hard assets in the form of rights of way, adjacent mining rights, rail, and rolling stock. The railroad makes money moving hard assets such as ore and grains.

Buffett next purchased huge oil and natural gas assets in Canada. Buffett can now move his Canadian oil on his Burlington Northern railroad in exactly the same way that Stinnes moved his coal on his own ships in 1923. Buffett is also a major holder in ExxonMobil, the largest energy company in the world.

For decades, Buffett owned one of the most powerful newspapers in the U.S., the Washington Post. He sold that stake recently to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, but still retains communications assets. Buffett has also purchased large offshore assets in China and elsewhere that produce non-dollar profits that can be retained offshore tax-free.

A huge part of Buffett’s portfolio is in financial stocks in banks and insurance companies that are highly leveraged borrowers. Like Stinnes in the 1920s, Buffett can profit when the liabilities of these financial giants are wiped out by inflation, while they nimbly redeploy assets to hedge their own exposures.

In short, Buffett is borrowing from the Stinnes playbook. He’s using leverage to diversify into hard assets in energy, transportation and foreign currencies. He’s using his communications assets and prestige to stay informed on behind-the-scenes developments on the political landscape. Buffett is now positioned in much the same way that Stinnes was positioned in 1922. If hyperinflation were to hit the U.S. today , the result would be the same for Buffett as for Stinnes. His hard assets would explode in value, his debts would be eliminated, and he would be in a position to buy out bankrupt competitors. Of course, the middle classes in the U.S. would be wiped out as they were in Germany.

Stinnes saw the German hyperinflation coming and positioned accordingly. Buffett is following the Stinnes playbook. Perhaps Buffett sees the same hyperinflation in our future.

It’s not too late for investors to take some of the same precautions as Stinnes and Buffett. In the short run, deflation has the upper hand. But, it’s just a matter of time before central banks slay the deflation monster and open the door to much higher inflation. Do not rely on your fixed dollar assets like savings, insurance and pensions. Diversification into energy, mining, transportation, gold, land and fine art will serve you well. Also don’t be afraid to build up a cash position. Critics will say that cash has “no yield” these days. But cash in a portfolio helps to reduce volatility and gives you the ability to pick up bargains when the inevitable financial traumas emerge.


This period was followed by years where power consumption could double over the course of just seven years.

Powering the economic miracle

With the reconstruction of the grids and power stations having just been completed at the end of the 1940s, RWE was faced with its next challenge: how to meet the incredible demand for electricity resulting from the new Federal Republic of Germany&rsquos economic miracle. This period was followed by years where power consumption could double over the course of just seven years. RWE was well prepared, with three new lignite-fired power plants going into operation in 1955. These could be expanded during normal operations thanks to the new unit-based plant design. As a result, the Frimmersdorf facility became the largest thermal power plant in the world by 1964. In order to meet the power plants&rsquo continually rising demand for coal, RWE began tapping into new seams in underground lignite mines in the Rhenish coalfields.

Frimmersdorf power plant, 1966

Hardly love at first sight

For a long time, nuclear power &ndash much talked about in the mid-1950s but not yet tested &ndash was not seen by RWE as a viable way to meet the huge increase in demand for electricity. However, not least due to pressure from the German government, RWE constructed Kahl, the first nuclear power plant in Germany, in 1961 and the second, Gundremmingen, in 1966, in order to test the new energy source. The continually turbulent growth in demand for electricity led to the decision in 1968 to construct a power reactor, which went into operation in 1975 in Biblis as the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

Kahl experimental nuclear power plant, 1961

Looking for alternatives

The energy crises of the 1970s significantly slowed the growth in demand for electricity and strengthened indigenous fuels such as lignite and coal. As a result, RWE intensified its research and testing of alternative ways to generate energy (e.g. solar thermal energy and photovoltaics) and use it (e.g. in electric cars and heat pumps).

Changing the battery of an RWE electric van, 1977

Five billion euros for environmental protection

The 1980s brought with them a major technical and financial challenge for RWE. The drastically lowered threshold values for sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide implemented by government in 1982 necessitated the construction of major systems to desulphurise flue gas as well as the implementation of extensive denitrification measures. RWE invested a total of around five billion euros in this comprehensive environmental protection programme.

Construction of a flue gas desulphurisation plant in the Weisweiler power plant, 1986

RWE broadens its base

In the late 1980s, electricity provider RWE turned into a conglomerate with a broad base. Thanks to a series of acquisitions, RWE entered the petroleum, disposal and construction sectors, and this required a fundamental restructuring of the Group. In 1990, Rheinisch-Westfälische Elektrizitätswerk AG integrated its energy business into the newly established company RWE Energie and now led the highly diversified conglomerate as the holding company, renamed RWE AG.

New structure of the RWE Group, 1990

Going back to our core business

In the 1990s, the energy business at RWE was just one area of many. This all changed with the liberalisation of the German energy market and the end to regional monopolies in 1998. The Group now focussed once again on its traditional areas of business and started to sell off its other activities. The merger with VEW AG in October 2000 strengthened the core business, which was now restructured. RWE established independent companies along the entire value chain, for example, for power plants, grids, electricity trading and retail. For the first time, the Group also developed a consistent corporate design.

New structure of the RWE Group, 1990

Keeping an eye on new energy markets

After the merger, RWE continued with the internationalisation of its energy business, which started in the 1990s (e.g. Hungary in 1995). In 2002, the Group entered the energy markets in the UK (innogy), Czech Republic (Transgas), Slovakia (VSE) and Poland (Stoen). However, RWE gradually began to relinquish its international water business in 2005 (Thames Water), which it had acquired in late 2000.

innogy plc’s Littlebrook oil-fired power plant, 2002


FANAL

Hugo Stinnes AG was a long established fuels wholesaler based in Lübeck, which at its peak in 1967 had 825 outlets. In 1965 it was bought by the utility company VEBA (now part of E.ON) and in 1973 doubled its size by buying the US oil major Gulf's petrol chain in Germany. A new logo was introduced, dropping the Stinnes name, but VEBA sold the 1,000 Fanal outlets to BP in June 1978, probably at the request of the Cartel Office owing to VEBA gaining a majority stake in Aral, the market leader. Under BP's ownership the chain was steadily reduced in numbers, until the last stations switched brand during 1991. Ironically, in the less strict competition environment on the 2000s, BP was able to buy Aral from E.ON, and so switch some ex-Fanal stations to the Aral name. The Stinnes name survived under E.ON's ownership as a logistics firm until 2003 (when sold to DB Schenker) and was also used by a DIY building products chain using a logo similar to that on the 1983 map until sold to Rewe.

Road maps

It is not clear when Hugo Stinnes first started supplying petrol, nor is it certain what brand was used. However these maps strongly suggest that before the War Stinnes were distributing BV-Aral fuels. The Hugo Stinnes - Stettin roundel is pasted onto the front cover of sectional BV-Aral maps. Both sections cover the area round Stinnes' Stettin base: no. 2 (from a series of 8 maps) is the first edition, dating from around 1932, and no. 3 (from a 13 map series) is thought to date from 1938. It is not known if the entire set of BV maps was treated this way, or just the single section surrounding Stinnes' East Prussian base. It is possible that Stinnes continued to distribute BV-Aral until the mid 1950s when they may have purchased the Fanal company, prior to adopting the combined Stinnes Fanal identity.
Enlarge cover of earlier map. Image courtesy of Wilhelm Feuer

These two Fanal maps, from 1955 (left - Northern Germany) and 1956 (right - Southern Germany) were both specially printed for Fanal by Falk maps at a scale of 1:650,000. The key difference is in the logo which was simplified between the two years, with the earlier version using a black shadow to the lettering. The rear covers list three corporate entities: Hugo Stinnes and Ruhröl, both of Mulheim, and Midgard of Oldenburg i. O.
Images courtesy of Alexander Drews

This Stinnes Fanal map of NW Germany dates from 1960 or 1961. Although the laminated card cover is not very interesting, inside it contains an unusual arrangement for a German map. A Falk plan of the region, at 1:250,000 has been dissected into 5 strips each joined to the next in the middle, with the ends folded back concertina-fashion. Falk described this as being "Patengefaltete" and it is almost certainly unique to them, although similar in concept to the Foldex system used on Shell maps. Falk called the resultant map "From Flensburg to Hannover" rather than the Stinnes Fanal regional name. Few of these maps survive they tore quite easily and were sold by Stinnes Fanal for DM 4,95, compared to under DM 1- for the equivalent Aral, Shell or Esso titles.

By 1963, Stinnes Fanal had abandoned Falk-plan and their unusual folding system. They had instead switched to a conventional JRO-map pasted into custom covers which states the year on the cover. The section shown here is for Southern Germany at a scale of 1:750,000.

After Fanal acquired Gulf, it introduced a new logo, reminiscent of the Gulf disc, shown on the two maps below.

1963 and 1981 map images courtesy William Phillips

These two maps are a 1978 Ravenstein production, which covered West Germany in four sections at 1:400,000, and a 1981 RV map, which increased the series to five well detailed sections at a scale of 1:300,000. The latter series consisted of a stock map inside a heavy card cover.


Under BP's ownership, the Fanal brand was phased out over more than 10 years: Fanal had 1001 outlets in 1977 but only 19 by the start of 1991.

Maps: Brenntag

Philipp Mühsam started business as an egg wholesaler in 1874, but had moved into motor fuels before 1910. As a Jew, he chose to sell his business in the 1930s to the Stinnes family, and in 1938 it was re-named Brennstoff-, Chemikalien- und Transport A.G, abbreviated to Brenntag the following year. This is thought to have no connection with the Leipzig firm of Brennstoff Handels-Gesellschaft Böhme & Riemann, which used the Brennag brand (with no "t"). Based in Berlin, Brenntag lost much of its retail petrol business in East Germany after the War, and became part of the Otto Stinnes group in 1952. This collapsed in 1963, and although Brenntag was briefly rescued by the Hugo Stinnes group, they sold its 120 service stations on to Total in 1964, although stayed active in heating fuels for a further 20 years. Brenntag continues to operate as a world-wide specialist chemicals distribution company to this day.

The cover of this map states (loosely translated) "At all Hugo Stinnes stations, Brenntag fuels and lubricants prove the value of modern production techniques". I have not examined this map, which would appear to date from 1964, based on the above history. However it may be that Hugo Stinnes stations sold Brenntag fuels prior to the takeover. I suspect that this is the rear cover of the map concerned, as it appears to lack any detail of exactly which part(s) of Germany are covered, but has space for a rubber stamp from the service station. Note how the flag is similar to that on the pre-war Hugo Stinnes/BV map.

Image courtesy of Wilhelm Feuer

Maps: Frisia

Frisia was the brand name used on petrol in West Germany and Luxembourg by Saarbergwerke, a company owned 74% by the German federal and 26% by the Saarland state governments. The slogan used under the flag on the map was "Das große Markenbenzin zum fairen Preis" - the largest petrol brand at a fair price. In 1970 it sold its 650 service stations to Gulf which, as noted above, sold out to Fanal just three years later.
H König prepared this undated map of Southern Germany at the scale of 1:1,000,000.

Image courtesy of Jon Roma

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.


Watch the video: Čuki - Hugo (January 2022).