SHV was founded in 1896, when eight Dutch coal traders established the Steenkolen Handels Vereeniging in The Netherlands to jointly purchase and distribute coal.
In 1904, SHV invented the first mechanical coal transporter, followed by the elevator transporter a few years later. These innovations gave SHV a considerable competitive advantage. Furthermore, besides via rail, SHV transported coal via river barges which led to high efficiencies.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the founders led to the start of Unitas, an investment company that co-funded several start-ups in Dutch industries, such as KLM, Fokker and AQ, now a part of AkzoNobel.
In the 1920s, international trade of coal became an important part of SHV’s business, meaning SHV now became active on a global scale.
In line with market developments, SHV started selling oil products via coal distribution channels under the name Pam. SHV owned many Pam petrol stations in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. SHV also acquired oil interests in the United States and established the first oil bunker station in the Netherlands.
SHV cooperated with Caltex for the delivery of oil products and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), distributed under the name Calpam.
In 1959, a large natural gas reserve was discovered in the Netherlands which led to a substantial decrease in the demand for coal. As a result, SHV decided to diversify in other activities and also established Dyas to invest in the upstream oil & gas industries.
In the spirit of diversification, SHV opened the first Makro store in Amsterdam, according to a whole new cash-and-carry concept.
In the 1970s, diversification at SHV reached its peak. It was active in the distribution of consumer goods, technical installations, building industry, ship trading and technical equipment trading and a metals recycling business, reflecting the increasing environmental awareness.
After the expansion and diversification in the 1960s and 1970s, SHV refocused its activities on energy and cash-and-carry wholesale. The LPG business was expanded internationally and new Makro stores opened around the world together with local business partners.
At the end of the 1990s, SHV could no longer maintain Makro’s position of niche player in Europe and sold the European Makro stores. The Makro stores in Asia were sold in the decade thereafter. Currently, SHV is active with Makro stores in South America.
In the new millennium, SHV increased its interests in the LPG distribution business and integrated them into SHV Energy. SHV also acquired the Dutch private equity company NPM Capital, which supports medium-sized companies with outstanding growth prospects such as Picnic and Suitsupply.
To widen its activities, SHV acquires heavy lifting expert Mammoet. Mammoet provides solutions for lifting, transporting, installing and decommissioning large and heavy structures.
In line with its objective to play an essential role in the Business-to-Business value chain, SHV acquired ERIKS, and international industrial service provider offering a wide range of high-quality mechanical engineering components and associated technical and logistics services to a wide range of industries.
The most recent company to join the SHV family is animal nutrition and fish feed company Nutreco, which plays a role in the production of animal and fish protein. This is essential for the wellbeing of billions of people.
SHV is a family of strong companies which have a clear focus on the future. With the entrepreneurial spirit that has been embedded in its DNA throughout history, the company is able to seize opportunities and grow in an innovative and sustainable way.