Van Leeuwen’s major milestone in 2019 is also a historic step in our company’s 95-year history: the acquisition of Benteler Distribution, a division of Benteler International AG. This acquisition has resulted in a significant expansion of Van Leeuwen, particularly in Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Central Europe.
The acquisition of Benteler Distribution has significantly increased our scale: from about 1,100 to 2,600 colleagues, from a presence in 22 countries to 33, from around 40 to over 80 locations throughout the world, including warehousing facilities. However, an increase in scale is not an objective in itself. It is mainly about what this expanded network of locations, facilities and new colleagues enables us to do for our customers.
We are now able to provide an even broader product range and an even greater offer of value added services and treatments. We are also able to invest even more in innovative solutions, such as specialized stocks close to the customer, effective distribution solutions and IT supported customer interfaces.
An even larger global team of colleagues with expertise and market knowledge supports the customer on a daily basis. At present we are relying even more than ever on the resilience and inventiveness of our colleagues, now that the COVID-19 pandemic has the world in its grip. The health and safety of our employees, customers and suppliers are a priority for us. It goes without saying that in every country we strictly adhere to the rules imposed by local authorities.
It is as yet impossible to foresee the consequences of this pandemic for people, society and the economy. This equally applies to our company and that of our business partners. In spite of this, we are positive about the future of our company. Not only because we know that Van Leeuwen is a robust and healthy company, but especially because we know we can rely on 2,600 employees who demontrate their commitment to our company on a daily basis, even under difficult circumstances.
Chairman of the Management Board