Two young pioneers set up a trading company in Hong Kong in 1895
This facsimile from the English-language daily newspaper China Mail from 1 March 1895 documents the beginning of an entrepreneurial success story: Jacob Jebsen (then 24) and Heinrich Jessen (then 29) announce the foundation of the company Jebsen & Co.
The next step: a buying office in Hamburg
A new phase of life begins for Heinrich Jessen in Hamburg. With his younger brother Johann and a handful of employees, he organises the procurement of products for export to China: wool, yarns, textiles, chemicals and machinery.
Foundation of Jebsen & Co. A/S in Denmark after the First World War
Following the re-establishment of business relations that had been capped during the war in 1919, the foundation of the company in Aabenraa (Denmark) in 1920 means that business can be resumed with former wartime enemies, such as Great Britain and France.
Again on the brink of ruin, but reopening in spring 1951
Following the death of the founders Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen, the turmoil of the Second World War and a devastating fire in the office building during “Operation Gomorrha” in 1943, the company is again on the brink of ruin - until several members of the family re-establish the trading house Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg in February 1951.
From a buying office to an independent trading business
A new era began in the Hamburg trading house in 1958 with the trade of egg and milk powder, pig intestines, honey and dried fruits. Chemical and pharmaceutical raw materials became a lucrative business.
A positive turnaround for the 50th anniversary
The Hamburg location has become less and less sought after as the European toehold of Jebsen & Co. since the end of the 1950s. Machinery deliveries and the construction of a cement factory in Malaysia enable a breakthrough in Asia. Hamburg begins its own life.
Change in management opens up a new era
Oswald Putzier, a man with a number of years of experience in the Asian markets, joins the company in the autumn of 1961. He heads in a new direction from 1963 in his role as shareholder and Managing Director and establishes the import of textiles.
Foundation of companies in Asia and an upswing in Germany
In 1963, the company Jebsen & Jessen Malaysia Ltd. is founded in Kuala Lumpur and the company Jebsen & Jessen Singapur Ltd. is founded in Singapore - the beginning of the expanding Jebsen & Jessen South East Asia Group that would later be successful. At the same time, the economic boom years in Germany support growth in the home market.
Increased business leads to the company changing to a limited partnership
In the company's 75th anniversary year, the young Wolfhart Putzier returns from Bangkok to Hamburg and joins the management after the company changes to a limited partnership.
Generation change and rapid growth worldwide
Wolfhart Putzier takes the helm and adopts a visionary and relaxed yet courageous and entrepreneurial approach in his role as Managing Partner just like his father. The Chemicals and Textiles divisions are booming.
The beginning of a new success story
An new business area emerges in Australia: the entrepreneur Torsten Ketelsen convinces Wolfhart Putzier of a distribution model for garnet sand for sandblasting and waterjet cutting. GMA Garnet (Europe GmbH) is founded in 1991.
From a distribution partner to a mine operator
The Jebsen & Jessen Group and Torsten Ketelsen found the company Garnet International Resources Pty. Ltd. in 2001, acquire the mine in Western Australia in two stages and integrate the garnet sand business into the company group.
Consolidation of the textile business at Triton Textile in Hong Kong
The course is set in 2003 for the successful expansion of the textile business. The entrepreneur Michael Schwägerl takes over the management and develops sustainable production in Asia and successful distribution markets in Europe.
Textile logistics becomes an integral part of the business
As speed and reliability are becoming more and more important in the textile business, Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg enhances its range of added value services in 2007 and acquires the logistics specialists L.E.G. Lagerhaus Elbbrücken GmbH.
Jebsen & Jessen celebrates its centenary in Hamburg
The former Managing Partner Wolfhart Putzier welcomed 400 guests to the grand ceremony, including the Mayor Ole von Beust. Wolfhart Putzier referred to the maxim of the company founders: Don’t be satisfied with existing business - create new opportunities!
Expansion of the Chemicals division
The trade in chemicals and speciality products has been growing dynamically since 1987. A special competence is established in Latin America. Jebsen & Jessen Hamburg further expands its traditional business at beginning of 2010 and integrates the chemical trader into the company group.
Company acquisitions in the Chemicals and Textiles divisions
With the acquisition of Ruhr-Petrol GmbH in Essen, specialists in the petrochemical industry, Jebsen & Jessen now also has a location in the heart of German chemical production and is also expanding the Textiles division in 2011 with the acquisition of Jefferson GmbH.
Expansion of the product range in the “Non-textiles” division
Jebsen & Jessen acquires BODUM Aussenhandels GmbH and therefore expands its trading activities. The goal: to reduce dependencies and take advantage of synergies internally and externally.
Change in management and “the beginning of a new era”
In 2016, Fritz Graf von der Schulenburg takes over responsibility for the overall management of the company group from Wolfhart Putzier and for the management of the Chemicals division from Michael Goldmann in his role as Managing Partner. Fritz Graf von der Schulenburg previously worked for 6 years as CEO and Executive Vice Chairman in the sister company in Singapore.
The Textiles division expands and acquires Brands Fashion
The company successfully gains a foothold in the work clothing sector through the acquisition of a majority stake in Brands Fashion. The Jebsen & Jessen subsidiary Jefferson GmbH is fully integrated into Brands Fashion GmbH.
The Crop Protection division expands and sets up Jebagro GmbH
A new structure for the trade in agrochemicals. The international businesses with crop protection products are expanded with their own brand and enhanced added value.
Further expansion in Latin America
Jebsen & Jessen sets up a distribution company in Argentina with “Jebagro Argentina SRL”. It also acquires a majority stake in "Grupo Agrosol" in Panama. The company is renamed “Jebagro Panama S.A.” and coordinates the crop protection business in Central America.
The food additive business becomes a new subsidiary
The Hamburg group sets up “Jebsen & Jessen Life Science GmbH” and restructures the trade and distribution of food additives, animal feed, home and personal care as well as industrial chemicals.
A Hamburg-based trading house with Asian roots
Success story of two pioneers
Mr Jacob Jebsen and Mr Heinrich Jessen originally from Aabenraa in Denmark – who had ran a successful Far East trading business from Hong Kong since 1895 – set up the company Jebsen & Jessen in Hamburg on 1 January 1909. The new trading house was to initially coordinate purchases in Europe and maintain links with European industry on behalf of the group companies operating in China. Follow the exciting story of a traditional family-owned company characterised by diversity and growth.