Success-oriented and responsible
True to the motto ‘Putting all our energy to work for you’, VNG Handel & Vertrieb sees itself as a strong partner for natural gas that creates added value for its customers and partners. The reliable and flexible supply of natural gas forms the core of our business and a responsibility to which we are committed to living up to every day. We also trade in an energy source with excellent future prospects. This is because natural gas and renewable gases in conjunction with renewable energies are helping to achieve the CO2 saving targets quickly and efficiently.
Three questions for the executive team
Ms. Schultheiß, Mr. von Oldenburg, how has VNG AG’s trading and sales business developed since it was spun off to create the separate company, VNG Handel & Vertrieb GmbH?
Kerstin Schultheiß: The past five years have been very successful for us, both in trading and in sales. However, this excellent performance has not fallen into our laps. In addition to a highly motivated team, prudent portfolio and risk management has been essential to maintain the optimum balance between risks and opportunities. Our company’s underlying approach in this regard is based on the consistent diversification of our portfolios.
Konstantin von Oldenburg: This is an aspect I would like to particularly emphasise. Balancing our portfolio, more specifically the sales and procurement portfolios, is the key to our success. Continuous market monitoring by our analysts and traders puts us in a position to effectively manage our assets – including contracts with our customers – in line with current market developments so we can benefit from these movements. For this purpose, we have various items in our portfolio, which in some cases have opposite effects, and by optimising the interaction of these items, we create the basis for a successful result.
"An integrated approach from purchasing through to asset management and sales is what sets VNG Handel & Vertrieb GmbH apart."
Konstantin von Oldenburg: I have no doubt that one of our main strengths is our integrated approach. In the analysis and management of our trading and sales activities we factor in all the relevant processes (purchasing, asset management, risk management, sales, etc.). This requires a certain degree of internal standardisation. However, in order to meet the wishes of our customers, we employ a modular product system. This enables our key account managers to offer our customers solutions tailored to their needs.
Another great strength of VNG H&V is our sales team. Sales in particular requires mutual trust between partners. Our personal customer relationships, which in some cases go back many years, enable our sales staff to communicate with customers in a trusting and open manner. With this deep understanding of our customers, whether they are municipal utilities, distributors or industrial companies, we are able to constantly develop the scope of our services to meet their needs.
Kerstin Schultheiß: This integrated approach is reflected in the entire team: Each of our approximately 190 employees now has an understanding of the wider issues outside their own individual specialist area. This development is, of course, not a coincidence; we have all committed ourselves to this goal...
Konstantin von Oldenburg: … and this mindset is now evident in all members of our team!
What are the particular strengths of VNG Handel & Vertrieb GmbH?
What challenges do you see for your company coming down the road?
Konstantin von Oldenburg: The energy trading market is highly competitive. It is therefore important for us to intensify our sales activities and we will continue to put a lot of effort into building on our status as an expert, trustworthy partner for municipal utilities, distributors and industrial companies with the right mix of products and services. Because strong partnerships pay off, for all concerned.
Kerstin Schultheiß: The evergreen issue of ‘digitalisation’ is particularly important to me. Only with appropriately standardised and digitalised processes is it possible for the company to generate profits even in a market with tight margins. This is an area we are continuously working on. The world continues to change and we also have to keep developing our systems so that they meet these changing requirements.
In concrete terms, ‘H2 readiness’ is also gaining in importance for us, not least because of the German government’s national hydrogen strategy. There is still a lot of work to do here. But we want to be ready as soon as this market forms. Our IT systems are already tooled up for trading in climate-friendly gases.