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BM Group: 19 October 2020
A History of Persistence

Looking Back on 180 Years of Behn Meyer

The business scope of Behn Meyer, founding member of the German Asia-Pacific Business Association, constantly evolved over time. From the traditional overseas trading company to a regional distribution house and onwards to an integrated life science and chemical group today. The following mark some milestones of an exciting corporate history.

Office building of Behn, Meyer & Co. (left) in Singapore around 1890.

The two Hamburg merchants Theodor August Behn and Valentin Lorenz Meyer found the first German company in Singapore: Behn, Meyer & Co.

During a golden era of free trade before the World War, Behn, Meyer & Co. become the largest German shipping and trading house in Southeast Asia.

In the interwar period the business is rebuilt. Next to representing German chemical companies, consumer goods are added to the portfolio, such as Beck's beer from Bremen, French champagne house Heidsieck or the Ford Motor Company from the USA.

Behn Meyer van with logos of important principals.

At the end of the ten-year ban on German companies settling in Singapore, the old name Behn Meyer & Co. is revived. Many employees are once again drawn to South East Asia, the old business contacts are re-established and the company starts a third time. The focus is now on chemicals, agrochemicals and technical business with representations of Telefunken, AEG, Rollei, Agfa and Olympia.

Young plants in an oil palm nursery in West Malaysia around 1965.

The agricultural sector is increasingly emerging as a focal point of activities. Behn Meyer represents principals such as BASF, Bayer, K+S, Canpotex and Compo and distributes their specialty fertilisers and plant protection products to the growing plantations in Malaysia.

Opening of the R&D Centre in Binh Duong, Vietnam 2011.

Behn Meyer's reorientation begins with the establishment of its own production facilities and numerous application laboratories, including those for aquaculture, baking and meat processing and a rubber pilot plant. Cooperation with customers is further intensified by the establishment of Behn Meyer R&D Services, a dedicated research and development company based in Malaysia.

Factory for rubber additives in Termoli, Italy.

The business model of regional distribution in South East Asia is complemented by the acquisition of production companies, which strengthen expertise in core areas such as the rubber and latex industries and water treatment in Performance Chemicals.

Behn Meyer Vietnam’s board of directors consists of three ladies.

Diversity is becoming a decisive factor in the Group's success. Countries are not run by expats, but by local managers. Women are part of the management in every country and also serve on the Supervisory Board and Executive Board of the Behn Meyer Group.

Pharma company Intracare B.V. in Veghel, Netherlands.

The Ingredients division is strengthened with the acquisition of Intracare B.V., a pharma company specialised in antibiotic-free medicines for animal health, drinking water additives as well as hygiene and disinfection products.

Opening of a compaction plant in Port Klang, Malaysia 2018.

With the construction of fertilizer plants in Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar, the Agricare division is building its own production platform.

Behn Meyer is transforming itself from an overseas trading house into an integrated life science group that combines distribution in South East Asia with specialty products from its own production.

Behn Meyer’s portfolio today:

Fertilizer, Crop Protection

Animal Nutrition, Aquaculture, Food, Home & Personal Care, Pharma

Performance Chemicals
Coatings, Petro- & Process Chemicals, Water Treatment, Leather & Textile

Rubber, Plastics
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