Berlin. Fundamental changes to the structure of the market have led to natural gas increasingly becoming a commodity. “The traditional business model of import companies is a thing of the past,” Ludwig Möhring, Managing Director for Sales at WINGAS, underlined at the 14th ICG industry get-together “Gas in Berlin”. “That makes life more difficult for all the market participants.” The market has evolved from asset-driven value creation with guaranteed profit margins to market-driven value creation with all its commercial and political uncertainties. The key question at the moment for importers, resellers and municipal utilities was quite clear according to Möhring: “Can we have sustainable value creation with sustainable profits?”
There is no ideal solution to this question, for there is no standard business model that fits all. “Every company is responsible for its own fortunes,” Möhring said. Sustainable value creation offered various options for this, he explained. Companies face the challenge of exploiting these options in the right way for them, thereby creating sustainable profitability. “The key to success here is innovation and cost leadership,” Möhring explained, adding that companies had to position themselves so that they could operate on the market as effectively as possible. On the one hand that means innovation on the inside, such as the continuous optimization and standardization of processes; on the other, innovation on the outside, such as the development of new products.
“In the end it will be the companies that create the right value for their customers that earn money,” Möhring said. Within a more vertically integrated structure (upstream or downstream), this could involve extending the product portfolio, geographic expansion or active portfolio management. That, of course, required motivated staff, which WINGAS had, Möhring added.