For SHV and its Groups, 2019 was a challenging year that was characterised by a number of global political and economic factors. These ranged from trade restrictions, climate change and declining manufacturers confidence to a lower growth in China.
In addition, the Groups also had local, operational and internal issues that resulted in a lower performance of SHV. Going forward, we will continue to find ways to improve operational performance.
SHV is a family owned business. Our focus is on realising sustainable profit growth and preserving our company for the generations to come. This long-term view is a constant in every step we take. That means there are times when we need to take difficult decisions to secure our growth. This year, it became clear that the challenging situation for Makro in the Brazilian market required us to review our options and find the best way forward. This resulted in the decision to sell or rent-out a number of stores.
The year was further marked by two other important events within SHV:
In April, the merger of Dyas with Oranje Nassau Energie was finalised. This resulted in a new combination called ONE-Dyas, the largest privately-owned Dutch oil & gas exploration and production company. For over 50 years, Dyas has been part of the SHV family and we believe this is an exciting next step for its further development. Having a 49% share in ONE-Dyas ensures our continuing engagement and support.
In July, Mammoet announced the acquisition of ALE. This followed in-depth discussions with the Executive Board on the benefits of creating this large global heavy lifting and transport company. We welcome our more than 2,000 new colleagues from ALE and look forward to a promising future.
The Supervisory Board of Directors (SBD) was in regular contact with the Executive Board of Directors (EBD) during meetings and conference calls. At these meetings, the SBD was updated on the performance of the Groups, the progress on the implementation of strategic objectives as well as the execution of specific projects such as large IT implementations. In addition, several significant investment proposals and business development initiatives were discussed, sometimes together with representatives of the Groups. Special attention was paid to the proposed integrated approach to sustainability, including the three focus areas that were chosen. Making sure that our employees have a safe working environment, that we focus more on having diverse and inclusive teams and combining our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint all contribute to our long-term tradition of sustainable growth. Furthermore, the Board received updates on topics such as safety, digitalisation, performance management and matters relating to ethics and compliance.
In June, the SBD visited ERIKS Digital, in Amsterdam, to learn more about ERIKS’ business and its digital innovations. During the visit, the innovation initiatives of SHV Energy and Nutreco were also presented in detail. The Board was impressed by the number and quality of the projects and sees that the ambition to embed innovation in the day-to-day business of the Groups is showing results. Being open to innovation and change is essential, in line with the entrepreneurial spirit that SHV has always had.
At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in April, Mr R.J.M.S. Huët stepped down from the SBD. We sincerely thank Mr Huët for his excellent contribution to the Board and we will miss his sharp observations during our meetings.
At the same time, Mr A.D. Boer was appointed as member of the SBD. Mr Boer knows SHV well, as he started his career at SHV. With his extensive business knowledge and experience from Ahold, Mr Boer strengthens the Board and will undoubtedly make valuable contributions to its meetings.
In addition, the Chairman of the SBD, Mrs A.M. Fentener van Vlissingen, was reappointed for a period of four years.
To our regret, but with understanding, Joost van Klink decided to step down as Company Secretary after a 20-year career at SHV. We sincerely thank Joost for his commitment and support over so many years, and we will miss him as a great colleague with a good sense of humour. We wish him well on his future endeavours.
People are at the heart of SHV. Without our colleagues all around the world, we could not be successful. We would like to thank all of them for their commitment and the efforts they made during the year. The members of the EBD have, throughout this difficult year, continuously shown their leadership and support to the people of SHV. We want to extend a special thank you to them.
Utrecht, 12 March 2020
On behalf of the Supervisory Board of Directors,
A.M. Fentener van Vlissingen