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Captain of the ship

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Helmuth Hennig — Group Managing Director, Jebsen Group

I've been asked before how Jebsen, as a nearly 120-year-old business, will navigate the unknown waters of tomorrow. My answer was "by setting the right sails and steering the correct course" . If you will bear with the sailing analogy, I'll explain.

Sailing is a humbling sport. When you are on the water it is very apparent that there are much more powerful forces at work then those we normally experience in our somewhat sheltered lives. You cannot bend the wind and the sea to your will, but rather you must adapt yourself and your boat to the conditions which prevail. Making the best out of what you have; understanding what you, your team and your boat can cope with are all important factors to sail or race successfully. Recognizing that conditions can change rapidly, forces you to think ahead and plan. These are all great lessons for life and for business.

Now, at the helm of the Jebsen Group, my job is to help guide the organisation on its journey. We have made it through our share of stormy weather like the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Sars in 2003 and indeed the loss of some of our major suppliers. However, we are resilient, which is reflected in a strong balance sheet, we have a strong team, shown in the quality of our staff and management, and we have something few companies can claim, 120 years of hands on experience of operating in our markets. Few companies have seen the changes we have and not only survived, but survived well. We are constantly learning and adapting, and thereby improving. I believe these strengths will allow us to move forward in a region of the world which is only at the beginning of a remarkable transformation, and as long as we understand our strengths and limitations, we have every chance of succeeding. A bit like sailing.

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