Essen-based Brenntag AG is Germany’s largest chemicals distributor with sales of 12.8 billion euros (2019). Brenntag has more than 17,000 employees and a global network of 580 locations in 73 countries. The company operates exclusively in the B2B business. Its business purpose is the trading of chemicals and the processing of specialty chemicals. The company describes itself as the world market leader in manufacturer-independent chemical trading and offers its customers a comprehensive range of more than 10,000 different chemicals. This article is based on the unique List of the 400 largest German trading companies.
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From egg wholesaler in Berlin to world market leader in chemical trade
The history of Brenntag begins in 1875 with an egg wholesaler founded by Philipp Mühsam in Berlin. Later, the company shifted its focus to trading in pharmaceuticals and, from 1912, to trading in chemicals. In 1936 the company had to be sold to the entrepreneur Hugo Stinnes jr. in the course of the Aryanization. The Mühsam company became Brenntag Brennstoff-Chemikalien und Transport AG. During the Second World War, the company headquarters were relocated to the Ruhr area. Until 2004 Brenntag belonged to Stinnes AG, which was bought by Deutsche Bahn in 2003. The Deutsche Bahn sold Brenntag again to an investor the following year. After a further sale, the company was floated on the stock exchange in 2010 and is now completely free float.