• Founded in 1993 by Waldemar Preussner as a commodity trading company, PCC is today a diversified chemicals group with more than 3,400 employees in 18 countries.
• As a pioneer, PCC invested early in the liberalizing markets of Eastern Europe, focusing primarily on Poland.
• In 1998, PCC began financing its growth through the independent issue of corporate bonds as one of the first German SMEs to adopt this approach.
• The investment portfolio is currently being expanded with projects in Iceland, Russia and Asia.
Duisburg, October 2018 – PCC SE celebrates its 25th anniversary. On October 20, 1993, Waldemar Preussner, Chairman of the Administrative Board and sole shareholder of PCC SE, founded the core of today’s group of companies: Petro Carbo Chem commodity trading company (PCC GmbH) in Duisburg-Homberg. “We wanted to seize the new opportunities offered by market liberalization in Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 1990s,” says Preussner (59) in recalling the company’s early days. And it was a venture that paid off: PCC commenced business operations on January 1, 1994 and in its first year generated sales equating to € 59.4 million. Of the two current managing directors of PCC SE, Ulrike Warnecke was part of the original team, while Dr. Alfred Pelzer joined the company in 1995.
Our group of companies has since continued to enjoy strong growth through the acquisition of companies and participating interests coupled with substantial investments in the modernization and expansion of the associated production capacities. Today, PCC represents a broadly diversified, value-driven organization with more than 3,400 employees in 18 countries. Group sales in 2017 amounted to € 683.2 million, a good 20 percent more than in the previous year, with further growth in the pipeline: In all, PCC SE’s total investment spend over the last five years has been in the region of € 577 million.
Corporate DNA: a healthy mix of experience and courage
Company founder Waldemar Preussner was born in Upper Silesia, Poland, as the son of parents of German descent. By the time he ventured into starting his own business in 1993, the economics graduate and experienced commodity trading manager had already acquired extensive knowledge of the emerging economies of Eastern Europe. “From the very beginning, we have looked for investment opportunities in lucrative and less competitive submarkets where we really know our way around,” says Preussner, “and once found, we go all out to make them work. You could say that it is this combination of experience and courage that makes up our DNA. We are resolute in our desire to continuously optimize our investment portfolio and create new value.”
The early years, were characterized primarily by rapid expansion in the trading business with petrochemical and carbon-based commodities – still an important activity today; the founding company, now operating under the name PCC Trade & Services GmbH, remains the largest trading company in the Group. In 1997, we began our own processing of crude benzene in Ukraine, thus launching the Chemicals business – now our main source of sales and earnings.
Switch to joint-stock status and issue of the first corporate bond
In 1998, PCC GmbH was carved out to create PCC AG. The company headquarters was the PCC Villa, also in Duisburg’s Homberg district. As a joint-stock corporation, PCC also issued its first bond. To this day, 20 years later, corporate bonds remain our main source of funding as flexible financing instruments allowing independence from banks. The PCC Group adopted the legal form of a European corporation (Societas Europaea) in 2007: “Right from the outset, we have regarded Europe as our home market,” explains Preussner. “The conversion to an SE is intended to underline our European identity.”
PCC Rokita SA becomes part of the PCC Group – and then a listed company
The process of diversification began in the year 2000: The acquisition of a participating interest in a Polish logistics company provided the beginnings of the Logistics division. And in 2002, even before the eastward expansion of the EU which, two years later, attracted the attention of many investors to the new markets in Eastern Europe, PCC AG bought a third of the shares in one of Poland’s largest chemical groups, today’s PCC Rokita SA. In the following year, we acquired a majority stake in this former state-owned company based near the small town of Brzeg Dolny, some 40 kilometers from Wrocław.
Through a multi-year investment program, we were able to continually increase productivity and create a flourishing chemicals concern. As a result, PCC Rokita SA developed into the strongest pillar of the PCC Group, due particularly to its position as a major producer of polyols and basic chemicals such as chlorine. 2010 saw PCC SE acquire the remaining shares in PCC Rokita to become its sole owner. And in 2014, PCC Rokita proved how far it had come with a successful IPO.
PCC SE had already previously floated minority interests in two other Group entities: Our chemicals company PCC Exol SA has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2012. The company is Poland’s only producer of surfactants. And the container logistics company PCC Intermodal S.A. had already gone public in 2009.
The biggest investment sell-off to date
In the same year, 2009, PCC SE also succeeded in closing an exceptional investment sell-off: Deutsche Bahn AG took over PCC’s Polish railway activities subgroup, which at the time was the largest business unit of the Logistics division alongside PCC Intermodal S.A. “With this sale,” says Preussner, “we recorded the greatest success of our active investment portfolio management strategy to date.”
In 2013, the Group adopted a diversified structure comprising eight segments: Polyols, Surfactants, Chlorine, Specialty Chemicals and Consumer Products as the five segments of the Chemicals division, accompanied by Logistics, Energy and Holding/Projects.
Current and future projects of PCC SE
In 2018, 25 years after the company was founded, we completed the construction of a state-of-the-art and environmentally compatible silicon metal production plant in Iceland. We began commissioning the facility in May. With an investment volume of around € 265 million, this represents the largest single project in our Group history to date.
In addition, PCC SE is currently expanding in Russia. As partners in a joint venture, we are currently building a plant for the production of high-purity aerosol-grade dimethyl ether (DME), with completion due this fall. And PCC Rokita SA has, in recent years, acquired shares in a Thai manufacturer of polyols and polyurethanes. The aim is to develop the markets of Southeast Asia, China and India and thus to further expand the PCC Chemicals division internationally.