October 2020 | Nobody has coined the term of anti-cyclical investing as much as the Greek tanker king Aristoteles Onassis. He bought his first ships in the depths of the depression in the 1930s – and profited from the subsequent upswing like no other. A similar situation is currently evident in the market for bulk carriers, the so-called bulkers. Here, an impending shortage meets favorable purchase prices. Vogemann is seizing this opportunity and filling its order books – mainly with handysize bulkers of the Green Dolphin class, which are almost ten years ahead of the requirements.
As an investor in the Vogemann Green Ship Token, you can benefit from this prime example of counter-cyclical investing, which fills what is probably the world’s most important merchant saying with life: The Profit lies in purchasing. Aristoteles Onassis was a master in this. We take you on a journey into the exciting history of the Greek legend who built an empire from nothing.
From Izmir to the world
Names make people – perhaps Onassis could become nothing more than an outstanding personality when his parents gave him the first names Aristoteles, Socrates and Homer in 1906. He was born in Smyrna, today’s Izmir, and emigrated at the age of sixteen during the Greek-Turkish war. His path led him first to Argentina, where he began early to build his own empire. He made his first millions in the tobacco trade and proved his great thinking by not only buying a cigarette factory but also launching his own brand of cigarettes with Omega.
Onassis brought his next business idea to the shipping industry: Argentina was already famous for cattle breeding at that time, but only used the meat. From then on, Onassis, a resourceful man, went into the export of hides and skins. When grain and animal feed were added, it became clear that he needed his own ships.
He bought them cheaply in 1932 from a Canadian shipping company that had got into difficulties due to the economic crisis. He took six of them, although he actually only needed two. So when it started again, he was well prepared. Let us recall the headline once again: The profit lies in purchasing. At the same time, Onassis began to buy tankers, and from 1938 onward even had some built himself. When the Second World War began, he thus had 46 ships. By the end of the war he was a 100-fold millionaire. But that was only the beginning.
Onassis: “I was only a Greek child who had learned arithmetic”
Well, Onassis was really good at math. There is no other way to explain the rapid growth of his empire. In the 50s he had 30 shipping companies with more than 900 ships. Most of them were oil tankers, to which he owed his nickname of the tanker king. Onassis showed great negotiating skills: He equipped Saudi Arabia exclusively with tankers and thus not only obtained the transport prerogative but also a share in the turnover of the oil trade itself.
He also demonstrated his flair in other areas of shipping, for example in building the largest private fleet of whalers. Business man as he was, he sold it profitably to Japan. Shortly after the completion of this transaction, Onassis also turned to other means of transportation: In 1956, Onassis bought the Greek state airline and renamed it Olympic Airways. However, he sold it again after his only son died in a plane crash in 1973.
Aristoteles Onassis was also very active in Germany – including Hamburg, the headquarters of neoFIN and also the Vogemann shipping company. You can read more about it in the second part. There is one thing you can be particularly curious about: We spoke with an eyewitness.