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Michael Floersheim, formerly general manager of the Zug headquarters of Philipp Brothers, then the most diversified and largest international commodities trading company worldwide. Initially, the company handled a variety of commodities: In the decade elapsed since its establishment, the company has continually sold a variety of iron ores from almost all proveniences to the tune of million tons p. Sales were made to the majority of the European steel producers.
However, the scope of the company's activities is not limited to traditional trading alone. Project finance, long term contracts, barter deals, mine development, relocation of equipment and installations, conversion agreements, hedge instruments etc.
The company works in close association with an experienced bulk cargo ship broker hereby closing charters, long term contracts of affreightment, swapping, selling freight space, reletting vessels chartered etc. The company has also developed sales into industries with non-metallurgical applications of iron ores, such as pipe coating, ballasting, offshore projects, hydropower dams and other heavy aggregate applications.
A very important aspect of its business philosophy is the servicing function of the trader. The steel mills know that even for small tonnages of "exotic" ores, they can turn to the company who will do its best to come up on very short notice, with the required quality. Hereby, the company is also serving the special requirements of the industry.
Although the company does not have subsidiaries or foreign offices, it avails, nevertheless, over a worldwide network of commercial agents with whom it cooperates under longterm agency agreements or on a case by case basis.
The company has been for a decade since its inception, the European sales organisation for million tons p. This arrangement has been amicably terminated per end with the opening by Robe River of their own European Sales Office. Furthermore the company has returned in Ferro-Alloys trading.
New product lines, Graphite Electrodes, Tantalite and Columbite, were also sucessfully introduced. Besides routine business, the company is presently working on a number of projects such as mine development with the pertaining marketing, developing projects in the CIS countries financing for retrofitting programmes, quality improvement schemes to render production feasible for Western European markets, coordination between producers and end users, organization of technical assistance programmes, etc.
The company closely monitors the technological innovations in its field and it has been one of the pioneers of HBI marketing. Further diversification is being undertaken into commodities such as pig iron, metallurgical coke and manganese ores. The company has at its disposal, besides its own financial means, ample credit lines with major international banks, servicing the financial requirements for its trading activities.
Presently, the company's sales are focussed on the European and Chinese markets. However, efforts are being made to also penetrate other Asian countries and the former East Bloc. In its credit policy, the company is very conservative. Although open payment is accepted in the steel industry at large, the individual financial situations of the consumers are constantly monitored and payment terms and -instruments are carefully and discriminately administered.
Although the traders enjoy quite some freedom and flexibility in the mounting of their transactions, nevertheless, the management exerts a tight regimen as to risk reporting and evaluation, payment security and avoidance of lump risks.
It is the company's policy to lay off some financial risk with banking institutions or insurance companies. Still, an important part of its business is obviously handled on its own risk. The shipment administration, management information and communication system etc.
The accounting is done by outside professionals; same is the case for legal services, tax advice etc.