The Andreas Jennow A/S trade mark, showing an old merchantman sailing away to find new markets, new challenges and adventure
in an uncharted world, is truly symbolic of a company which has maintained its fine old merchant traditions.
No one who knows the modern Andreas Jennow A/S can doubt that these old traditions still apply, but who was Andreas Jennow and how did it all begin?
Andreas Jennow was no ordinary young man. Having completed his education in his hometown, Horsens, he wanted to see the world. This took him to Hamburg, London, Russia, the Baltic area and then to the East.
Since the 1870's there had been trade connections with Russia. From the turn of the century until World War I, these connections were strengthened. Copenhagen was to be developed into a trading centre and a port of transit for Russian and Baltic goods, leaving the Baltic, as well as for trade in the opposite direction. The outbreak of war meant that the route to the west was blocked, but others were found. The import and export trades were maintained through the White Sea via the ports of Archangel and Murmansk. As a result, connections to the west could be kept open. Offices were established in St. Petersburg, Archangel and Murmansk.
Jennow and Maage, another enterprising young Dane, became part of this development. In 1916 they started a Russian trading company under the name of Jennow, Maage & Co. with offices and storage rooms in these cities. However, the St. Petersburg office was closed down as a result of the Russian Revolution, while in the other two cities an British expeditionary force was still present. Towards the end of the year 1920, however, this force was withdrawn and Jennow left with it. Maage stayed in Archangel, while Jennow took up residence in Riga.
During this period the Latvian capital grew into a trading centre of increasing importance, as it was a key point in the northern connections to Russia. From Riga it was possible to return to St. Petersburg in case the political situation should change. As well known, this was not the case and when the world crises of the 1930's set in, the Riga office had to be closed down too.
Andreas Jennow returned to Copenhagen. By 1918 he had already taken out a trade license as a merchant. The beginnings were modest. In reality he had to start all over again and under difficult circumstances. However, in spite of all the difficulties he succeeded in establishing his position in the Danish market and at the same time acquired a string of agencies, some of which are still close business partners.
With the German occupation of Denmark during World War II new difficulties arose. Imports came to a halt and, among other things, had a production of Kieselguhr in Jutland had to be taken up.
However, when World War II ended and restrictions were lifted, the company took part in the subsequent economic boom, which in turn meant that Denmark made the transition from an agricultural to an industrial country.
Andreas Jennow followed the trend, built up his organisation, and in 1949 acquired a handsome building at Strandgade, Christianshavn, where the company had its offices until 1988. In 1953 Andreas Jennow's son, Haagen, was taken into partnership and in 1956 the company was converted into a joint stock company.
In the mid 1930's contacts with the Far East had been established and with its strong organisation Andreas Jennow A/S could now extend these longstanding links. The Chinese, for example, wanted to establish business connections with Western Europe and in 1954-55 the first trade fairs were held in Canton, by then the only city accessible to foreigners. Wood, oil, liquorice, menthol, gum rosin, turpentine and other traditional Chinese goods were now supplemented by chemicals produced by the growing Chinese industry. This development was typical of most of the Far East and Andreas Jennow A/S began to expand its business relationships with the whole region so that today the company represents producers in, for example, China, Korea, Indonesia and India. At the same time, connections with other Scandinavian countries were further improved by the increasing trade in chemicals and raw materials for the paint and varnish industries as well as for the printing ink and food industries. Most business relations are therefore today represented on a Nordic and Baltic basis (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).
Andreas Jennow A/S represents a variety of companies from around the world, with links to South America, North America, India, China and certainly a number of European countries.
Andreas Jennow A/S is therefore one of the few independent Nordic distributors active on a Nordic and Baltic basis.
Of course, the company has undergone many changes since its inception in 1916. Conditions are still changing. Many of the original products have disappeared while new products have been taken up as a result of new industries emerging. Furthermore, changing market conditions have led to new challenges for the company.
The open market within Europe has influenced the role of the agent and distributor. The market has been characterised by a number of mergers and acquisitions and several major producers have established their own offices throughout Europe.
Andreas Jennow A/S is therefore one of the few independent Danish companies, still active on a Scandinavian and world-wide basis. This is due to the specialisation, which the company has adopted, in recent years. The company can today make deliveries as per specification, a result of close links between the company and its suppliers; furthermore, the company holds a substantial stock of goods, particularly from outside Europe, in order to secure prompt deliveries to customers. This has led to a development where the company seeks to increase the sale for its European suppliers in Eastern Europe and by increasing the effort in the Far East.
The Far East trade in particular has moved in a favourable direction and the company expects further progress in the future. Political changes in the Baltic and Eastern Europe will also reveal new markets, a development in which the company intends to take part.
Andreas Jennow A/S therefore hopes to extend its business connections in these regions, a hope based on an opening of these markets; this should mean an even greater advantage for Andreas Jennow A/S because of the company's long experience of markets normally difficult to access.
Though time goes by, some things stay the same. Andreas Jennow A/S's high quality of service to customers and in depth market knowledge is unchanged. This expertise dates back to the founding of the company and Andreas Jennow A/S is committed to upholding it in the years to come.
In 2000 Andreas Jennow was sold in a Management buyout. Since then the company has grown with daughter companies, offices and warehousing facilities in Sweden, Finland and Tallinn. The sales force has increased considerably and the objectives and strategies for the future include a continuous strong and healthy growth.