From 1891-2012


Ringsted & Semler is founded by Knud Peder Ringsted on the 24th of September 1881, when, as a mere 25-year-old citizen, he receives his letter of citizenship from the Copenhagen Magistrate. Shortly after, on the 26th of September, a collaboration is established with wholesaler Sophus Semler. This takes place one year before the first car comes to Copenhagen and in a time when the number of telephone subscribers in Copenhagen has reached over 2,300. Annual earnings for the bank director Tietgen amounts to the sum of DKK 50,000 – a sum which, of course, extends a little further than today, with a tailored suit costing around DKK 55, a pair of shoes DKK 8, an entire Danish pastry 4 øre and people dining at a restaurant expecting to buy oysters for DKK 1 per dozen. In the beginning, the company traded in wine and sherry and as the business’s list of contacts grows, the range of products extends to include various chemicals for various industries..


Beside his work in Ringsted & Semler, Sophus Semler has a bicycle shop and in 1899, Semler decides to resign from Ringsted & Semler to concentrate on his own business, which is founded by Scandinavian Motor Company and today still stands for the import and sale of VW and Audi, among others.


At the turn of the century, the product range is aimed almost exclusively at the sale and distribution of chemicals.

Parts of the company date back to 1891. It is very exciting to steer an old business into new times.

Christian Jensen – CEO


Women achieve the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. Again, Ringsted & Semler are at the forefront, hiring the first woman in its history. After a few years, she and one of the company’s employees get married at the Copenhagen Town Hall. She leaves the company to become a “housewife”.


The first typewriter is sold. The cashbook is still written by hand and one of the main accounts is called “horse and cart”, an account which isn’t eliminated from the cashbook until 1924. In the late twenties, the consumer price index falls by 40% and many banks go bankrupt. Many small and large companies also go bankrupt, especially when they cannot get finance for operations – a problem which repeats itself in history. In the post-war years, Ringsted & Semler still trades with some German suppliers, however because of the high inflation in Germany, deals are only discussed in Pounds. At one point, the German inflation becomes so high that, the dollar rises by 613,000 Mark on the stock exchange in Berlin in one second, making international trade extremely difficult.


The international crisis has its impact on the possibilities of selling goods. Ringsted & Semler acquires an agency from an English pharmaceutical company and got a lucky hand, as the company shortly after launches a sulfo preparation, one of the first that can cure pneumonia, which is the most common cause of death among people at the time. Prior to the distribution of the sulfo preparation, mortality from pneumonia was estimated at 34% and after the preparation’s distribution, mortality decreases to just 2%.


The sulfo business has given Ringsted & Semler some good years. The company is heavily based on foreign trade. However, trading becomes subject to unprecedented restrictions due to the German invasion on the 9th of April. Against expectations, a portion of the business with German suppliers is maintained, and trade with Swedish suppliers and customers can continue while trade with England virtually ceases. Some of the German suppliers disappear in the last years of the war for various reasons and some are so unfortunate that they are in East Germany, making their disappearance entirely due to political reasons following the war.


Ringsted & Semler introduce a private pension scheme for trusted employees. This was one of the first pension plans in the private sector, something which has become a matter of course today.


After the war ended, the aftermath created an entirely new business, in that plastic was invented and Ringsted & Semler sell various raw materials for this production. The greatly increased activity makes the company’s workforce double within a short time. The war has given great misfortune, but has also resulted in many newly developed products. One of them is silicone and silicone oils, which right up to today have been an essential part of the business. The decade is also marked by progress in the office area. In particular, a duplicator is acquired to replicate written documents, and in the late fifties, a bookkeeping machine is introduced and actually stays more or less in use until


In April, Ringsted & Semler was transformed to an A/S or limited liability company. During the decade, trade in plastic raw materials becomes such big business, that producers choose to reclaim the selling of their products. However, Ringsted & Semler A/S acquire a new chemicals agency and moves more and more into the food industry.


Ringsted & Semler A/S acquire the agency right from AVEBE in Holland with the regard to sale of starch products to the food industry and later to the feed industry, an agency which even today is a big part of it’s the company’s portfolio.
Throughout the eighties, society is rapidly evolving. Some of the agencies change, some are removed and others added.


Ringsted & Semler A/S celebrates its 100th anniversary. In connection with the anniversary, it is observed that the company, over the years, has had 35 jubiliums for employees with over 10 years of service, 9 with over 25 years of service, 4 with 40 years, and 2 with 50 years’ employment in the business. During the nineties the Internet developed and provided entirely new ways to communicate and new ways to get in contact with both suppliers and customers. Some agents take a direct route to new customers, complicating the agency business in general. After the new millennium, Ringsted & Semler A/S, begin a collaboration with Scandinavian Agro Food ApS, producing various types of feed and other materials for agriculture. For the first time in its history, Ringsted & Semler A/S was involved in actual production, where previously it had only focused on commercial activity.


Ringsted & Semler A/S merges with Scandinavian Agro Food. Ringsted & Semler is the continuing company and honours the availability of a modern production and the ability to produce goods that can go in line with the extensive commercial activity. The client portfolio expands rapidly with export customers in most of Europe and some overseas.


Ringsted & Semler A/S changes its name to Scagro A/S making the company ready for a greater internationalisation.

Christian Jensen