SHV has been 125 years in the making. And at heart, we remain the same highly adaptable, family-owned business that began our story back in 1896 – a milestone we are looking forward to properly commemorating in 2022.
People have always been at the core of what we do, and as part of the celebrations we have created a virtual 3D experience for iPad depicting the history of SHV, our employees, and inspiring examples of people outside SHV who have contributed to making the world a better place. The project has generated a large number of videos that will themselves become a part of our story - and hopefully serve to inspire generations to come. We have also digitised the SHV archives, preserving numerous insights from our rich history for all time. Some of this fascinating content will be incorporated into a digital walkthrough of our past on the SHV website.
All SHV Groups faced highly challenging operating environments and we truly admire the way they have navigated these difficult times. The easing of restrictions sparked a revival in economic activity in the second and third quarter, driving significantly higher results compared to last year. The hard work, however, has only just begun. Climate change, the demand for corporate transparency, diversity and inclusion, and cybersecurity are just some of the key issues in the world today. SHV is finding its own path to addressing them.
Another milestone was reached with the acquisition of Kiwa, the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) specialist. Kiwa has been a portfolio company of NPM Capital for over 10 years and we welcome them as part of the SHV Family. Throughout our 125 years, SHV has aimed to protect and strengthen the company for generations to come. Now more than ever, we need to continue looking ahead and assessing the possible impact of global challenges. Kiwa represents a valuable addition to our preparations for the future as well as to the diversification of our activities.
On April 28, we announced a settlement had finally been reached with the Dutch Public Prosecutor concerning irregularities at ERIKS and Mammoet. We are taking every measure necessary to ensure this can and will never happen again.
Our way of working in 2021 remained very similar to the year before. For the Supervisory Board of Directors (SBD), this entailed online meetings with the single exception of a face-to-face meeting in the summer when an easing of restrictions allowed. Five regular meetings covered a wide variety of topics such as health and safety, the financial and strategic progress of the Groups, SHV liquidity levels, the Performance Management cycle, investment proposals, and risk management. Another five meetings took place to discuss large acquisition opportunities such as Kiwa and other important projects. In June, a ‘virtual visit’ to Adaptfy was followed by an in-depth discussion on sustainability.
In line with our objective to open cross-Group career paths for our employees, it was good to see several internal transfers taking place. Fulco van Lede, left the Executive Board of Directors (EBD) to succeed Nutreco CEO Rob Koremans, who has decided to pursue personal interests. We want to thank Fulco for his contribution to the EBD and feel confident that, together with Pieter van Holten, the former CFO of SHV Energy, he will successfully lead Nutreco through these challenging times.
The EBD launched an intensive internal and external search for his successor and we will be happy to announce the appointment of Eelco Hoekstra, former CEO of Royal Vopak, at the next Shareholders’ meeting on April 8, 2022. Eelco will start life at SHV with an extensive immersion into the different business Groups.
For the second year running, the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting took place online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mr Wout Dekker and Mr Patrick Kennedy were re-appointed for terms of four years.
Mr Rijkman Groenink will step down from the SBD after 15 years. The SBD proposes to the shareholders to nominate Mr Karl Guha to join the SBD. Following his long career in the banking industry, Mr Guha will bring, amongst others, an extensive knowledge around treasury, financing, and hedging to the Board.
COVID-19 restrictions again posed a significant challenge to all SHV employees. We have been impressed by and thankful for the dedication and perseverance shown in running the business as well as they have. And once again, the support and encouragement of the EBD, Jeroen, Ricardo, Floris and, for part of the year, Fulco have been instrumental to our success.
We have followed the tragic events in Ukraine with sadness and disbelief. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all the people and families seeking safety, shelter and peace following the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia. Our first priority is the well-being of our over 1,100 employees and their families in the region. Together with the EBD we will closely monitor developments.
It is clear that times remain uncertain but we firmly believe that, together, we are in a position to make SHV even stronger for today, for tomorrow, and for generations to come.
Utrecht, 7 March 2022
On behalf of the Supervisory Board of Directors,
A.M. Fentener van Vlissingen