The History and Origins of Marubeni Europe plc

Marubeni Europe plc is one of the principal subsidiaries of Marubeni Corporation, Japan. Marubeni has had offices in Europe for over 50 years. In 1998, these offices were brought together under one umbrella, becoming branches of Marubeni Europe plc. This organisational structure facilitates an integrated approach to the full range of our business activities across the European region.

Marubeni (whose name invokes the red dye traditionally used in textile manufacture) was originally founded in Osaka in 1858 by a textile merchant, Chubei Itoh. The business grew, and its activities expanded through a process of acquisition and consolidation, eventually being merged into Daiken Co., Ltd. After the Second World War, Daiken Co. Ltd was broken up into four companies. One of these became the present Marubeni Corporation, which was incorporated in December 1949.

Marubeni Corporation is one of the largest and most profitable of Japan's unique and powerful sogo shosha. Although Japan is reputed to have as many as 8,000 shosha (trading companies), Marubeni, together with Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Itochu and Sumitomo, make up the "Big 5" (sogo shosha). These companies have a vast array of business interests and typically have product ranges in excess of 30,000 items. They play a vital role in the Japanese economy.

The "bursting of the bubble" of the late 1980's and early 1990's hit Japanese industry hard. However, the sogo shosha have been able to adapt to the new business climate by demonstrating their inherent versatility, for example, strengthening their presence in the key telecommunications and IT sectors. More recently, they have focussed on the energy sector, as well as metals and mineral resources, and well as power generation projects and so on.