The story of Zuellig
The history of The Zuellig Group can be traced back to the early 1900s when Frederick Eduard Zuellig establishes the company in Manila. The group is among a few companies with a long and distinguished presence in the region, growing from an importer and exporter in the early 20th century to its present position as a multinational owner and manager of a portfolio of market-leading businesses across Asia.
Frederick Eduard Zuellig joins Lutz & Co, a Swiss trading house in Manila.
Frederick becomes a partner, and the firm becomes renamed Lutz & Zuellig.
Frederick buys out Lutz & Zuellig, which becomes F. E. Zuellig Inc.
Unlike most European trading houses in Asia, F. E. Zuellig is active in many fields, acting as insurance and shipping agents, commission and general merchants, and importers and exporters. The Great Depression of the 1930s weakens the Japanese textile industry and encourages Frederick to seek fresh business opportunities beyond the Philippines. In the second half of the 1930s, he lays the foundations for the company's eventual emergence as a regional business giant by entering the pharmaceutical business, and establishing a trading company in Singapore.
Frederick’s younger son, Gilbert, joins the company in the Philippines.
Frederick’s elder son, Stephen, joins the company after completing his doctorate in economics.
The founder Frederick suffers a fatal stroke in New York leaving his two young and less-experienced sons to guide the business in the Philippines under increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions.
F. E. Zuellig thrives as the Philippines recovers from the ravages of the war.
The Philippine government introduces exchange and import controls that adversely affect the Zuelligs’ business. In response to this changing business environment, the Zuellig brothers begin to explore regional expansion opportunities and decide to expand their Singapore presence into Malaysia (then known as Malaya) and Thailand.
Dr T.G. Ling, a Chinese chemical engineer who moved to Singapore from China, approaches the Zuelligs with a very promising idea – to make and distribute scientifically prepared animal feed in Asia. This becomes the Gold Coin group, one of Asia's oldest and most successful feed manufacturing operations.
As Asia's economies modernise and expand rapidly, the Zuelligs increasingly concentrate on pharmaceutical, agribusiness and insurance businesses. With strong footholds in these key sectors, and a gradual and considered rationalisation of its other businesses, The Zuellig Group is well positioned to grow with Asia. Internally, a flexible and responsive organisational structure and management style takes shape.
Strategic acquisitions and consolidation strengthen the group's presence in its key markets.
The business that was initially run by one man, and then revived and transformed by his sons, is expertly run by professional managers. The Zuellig family’s core values of honesty and reliability remain unchanged as the business continues to strengthen and expand further into the 21st century.
The Zuellig Group acquires Symbion Pty Ltd., a leader in Australian pharmacy stock supply services, giving it an immediate strong presence in the Australian market.
A century after Frederick Zuellig first arrived in Manila, the business he took over, and then rebuilt and carefully nurtured by his sons has grown far beyond his expectations. The Zuellig core values, along with prudent financial practices and unwavering commitment from the management team have been instrumental in the remarkable resilience and growth of the group.