Energiewende. It is a term that has been in the press in recent months, but one that has been at the forefront of Friedrich Scharr’s company policy since its founding over 130 years ago in 1883.
Translating to energy change, or transition, it was the fundamental basis of the family run business that began selling coal to end users and small industries, replacing the main fuel at that time, wood.
Having developed from a hydrocarbon trader, the business is today an international energy solution provider. “We are a fully independent company that provides a very large range of energy products, fluids and technical services,” begins managing director Rainer Scharr. Supplying to over 200,000 customers, it has interests that extend beyond natural gas, wood pellets and propane. “We are the largest LPG trader in Germany, and the number three propellants and special gas producer and distributer in Europe,” he continues.
In 2013 the business recorded and the group achieved a turnover of around 800 million euros, built on strong working relationships with customers, partners and employees totalling 550. Through partnership with ExxonMobil in Germany, the group has responsibility over the lubricant supply chain. The technical division completes maintenance and modernisation of heating facilities commercially and privately, building gas treatment facilities for biogas and sewage treatment plants.
“We supply a range of customers from private households in the region and small enterprises all the way to large industrial customers. Our products are also sold through our wholesale business,” explains Rainer. Using its strong market position in supply and distribution, Friedrich Scharr has established long lasting business relationships, built on quality products and services delivered by qualified staff, as he highlights: “We recognise that most of our products are not unique so it is important to provide a service beyond that of our competitors. Being an independent business offering a full range of energy products and services strengthens our position as a neutral advisor for our customers.”
Reflecting on the benefits of remaining a family owned and managed independent company, Rainer says: “Short internal communication routes supports quick decision making, highlighting our flexibility. Although we have expanded continuously, developing our markets in several directions, we have always remained close to our customers, keeping our internal networks lean and focused.”
Friedrich Scharr is proud of the numerous subsidiaries in the group, an attribute that makes the business adaptable. Since its initial conception the company has kept firm control of local and traditional roots in South West Germany, providing products and services to end consumers. In contrast, dealing with LPG and propellants the business operates internationally with custom extending across Europe and beyond. Under the subsidiary Scharr CPC, it is renowned for the high standards of the supply chain from source to its customers.
“We handle over 350,000 tonnes of LPG and special gases annually, ensuring highest purity and cleanliness. Transporting through dedicated capacities we have very strict requirements for the vessels ensuring the quality of the product. We operate and enforce quality and safety management systems to ensure the performance of our products and services, and we are dedicated to speaking the language of our customers,” says Rainer. Scharr CPC has a 9000 cubic metre LPG and special gases storage facility located on the Rhine in Krefeld, Germany alongside production and purification facilities. The three modal storage solution can use all possible forms of transportation, which is very important to the customers.
The group manufactures a range of products such as Aeron, providing propellants and aerosols to the technical and cosmetic industry, and Krelin, a special aerosol used in shaving gels that foams on the skin. “And it is through our technical department that we are able to produce patented solutions. We have a patented installation plant called Prolimix, which is an effective LPG air mixing unit used widely in biogas conditioning with installations in Germany and in the UK, through an exclusive distribution agreement with Flogas,” explains Rainer.
Focused on developing its employees for the specific needs of the group services the business undertakes training in quality and safety management, and on a regular basis uses internal and external monitoring audits under ISO 9001 and 14001. With established systems and expertise it has undertaken work with major companies, including refineries, and agreed exclusive marketing mandates for production of refineries, especially in the LPG business.
At the end of 2013, Friedrich Scharr completed the acquisition of Sailer, an Augsburg based company with a 90,000 cubic metre storage capacity for middle-distillates and a large wholesale business for heating oil, diesel and alkylat fuels. “The next important phase is to integrate this into a part of the Scharr Group. We aim to continually take steps to develop our position in different markets with plans to renovate and enlarge our storage in Krefeld and add some smaller facilities,” says Rainer.
The group is currently in discussion surrounding enlarging the partnership with ExxonMobil, and with strategic meetings in place, the entire management team begins to develop the vision of the years ahead, as Rainer concludes: “There are a lot of changes in the energy market and we have to look closer at renewable energies, energy efficiency, and focus our company, especially the communications on that aspect. It is very important in the customers’ perception to actively advance in the essence of Energiewende, improving our products and reaching more intensive cross-selling opportunities within the group, intensifying partnerships internationally and establishing new business relations.”
Friedrich Scharr KG
Services: Energy supply company