SHV is a privately held company with a strong position in a number of operational areas and selected investment activities. SHV operates globally and is organised decentrally to ensure our diversified businesses can operate close to their customers and maintain loyal customer relationships. As a company, we aim to achieve sustainable growth in each of our activities through improving operational performance and prudent acquisitions.
We started as a coal trader in 1896, and since then have continually moved, changed and adapted to an evolving global and business environment. When after World War II demand for coal began to decline in the Netherlands, we moved into supplying oil, oil products and liquified petroleum gas throughout Europe. In the 1960s, when the Dutch coal market collapsed following the discovery of huge natural gas reserves, we adapted to the new market circumstances by diversifying into technical installation, construction, shipping, technical equipment trading and wholesale cash-and-carry.
Diversification came to a halt in the 1980s when SHV refocused on trading in energy and consumer goods. The company's LPG distribution activities and Makro stores were consolidated and expanded internationally.
Over the years, the Makro activities in Europe and Asia were divested, as were our metal recycling activities. We acquired NPM Capital, a private equity company; Mammoet, a heavy lifting and transport company; ERIKS, an international technical service provider and Nutreco, a leading player in animal nutrition and aqua feed. The focus has always been on realising sustainable profit growth and preserving SHV for the generations to come.
Good, sustainable operational performance combined with a successful long-term strategy are important to the future of SHV. We seek to expand organically and through prudent acquisitions. New business activities, within the existing companies, are explored and developed, bringing challenges and opportunities.
Our people embody our values, support our culture and build the company's success and have always been at the heart of our organisation. Having similar shared People objectives are the fundamentals to stimulate alignment and prioritise what is important for the execution of the SHV strategy. We understand that a long-term people strategy is needed to instil a long-term commitment to the business among our employees. We encourage people to take responsibility for their work and we stimulate them to be entrepreneurial. Knowing that our people are capable of meeting the challenges of today gives us confidence in the future of our company. This is why we prefer to promote people from within. We invest in our people by offering challenging careers. This is complemented with specific training and development programmes aimed at growing our current and future leaders.
Our People objectives include a focus on the talent pipeline to ensure we have sufficient, diverse and capable successors for senior leadership positions now and in the future. Furthermore we aim to increase diversity in senior leadership positions and talent pipelines in order to enhance performance in the management teams and boards. Optimising the organisational development in order to drive change more effectively is another important element.