2016 Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise

Founded 1895
Hong Kong / Singapore

Connecting East and West for 120 years

Privately owned, the Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise employs about 7,700 people worldwide and generates about US$4.5 billion in sales. The various business units of the Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise operate as independent entities, shouldering their respective responsibilities while subscribing to the vision and philosophy of their founding fathers.

Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise began life with Jebsen & Co. establised in 1895 as a trading company in Hong Kong by two cousins Jacob Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen, who left their home waters of Aabenraa in modern-day Denmark, and whose forefathers, as courageous sea captains, had ploughed the Asian waters for generations. In 1909 they went on to create a European purchasing office: Jebsen & Jessen (Hamburg). In December 1963, the second-generation established an enterprise in Singapore and Malaysia – this became the Jebsen & Jessen South East Asia (SEA). In the early 1990s Jebsen & Jessen (Hamburg) set up a distribution company for industrial garnet – this paved the way for what later became GMA Garnet, a global garnet mining, processing and distribution group. An unbroken chain of three generations’ commitment ensures that more than 120 years later, the founders’ legacy still connects East and West.

Masters of entrepreneurial partnerships

Two families, who joined forces more than 120 years ago, are still bound by a shared destiny. Relying on the “one captain – one ship” mentality, the “federation of businesses” is still steered today by two principal family shareholders – Hans Michael Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen. An enduring entrepreneurial spirit with the power of core values such as prudence and commitment is evidenced in key governance principles: the wish to stay private and financially independent, a concentrated ownership of “family principal shareholders” who do not inherit the shares but buy them from the previous generation, a willingness to temporarily extend ownership beyond family members to key managing directors and a strong “business first” principle.

Combining business with environment

Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise has been a champion in combining business and environment. In 2011 Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) was the first industrial company in South-East Asia to achieve carbon neutrality and has offset more than 250,000 tonnes of CO2 since then. Jebsen & Co. joined the carbon neutrality process and achieved neutrality status in 2013. The extraordinary environmental commitment of the family group can also be seen in GMA Garnet, which very much defined “environmental mining”, operating not only with the highest land management standards but going as far as recycling the mined products for further reuse.