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Wednesday, August 12, 1998 Published at 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK

Business: The Company File

Ambitious Amoco

The Amoco Corporation, in operation since 1889, is one of America's leading oil companies - and is now part of one of the biggest deals in industrial history.

With total assets around £20bn and revenues of more than £21bn it was one of the largest publicly traded producers of crude oil and natural gas in the world.

It currently employs about 43,000 people worldwide and has over 340,000 shareholders.

In 1997 Amoco recorded earnings of £1.6 bn and revenues exceeded £21bn.

In the Fortune 500 listing of the largest US Corporations, published on 27 April 1998 Amoco were ranked 22nd, one place above retailers KMart. It was a drop from their 1997 ranking which saw them in 19th position.

The Forbes Super 100, published just a week earlier saw them in 33rd place.

Amoco and Mobil were deeply involved in talks in May last year over the possible £25m merger of their downstream assets in the US and overseas.

It was thought then that they were planning to pool refining, lubricant and petrol retailing operations in America and the rest of the world except Europe - but the deal never came to fruition.

Amoco as employer

Amoco has a reputation as a corporation that looks after its employees.

For example, in July 1998 the company was voted in the top 50 companies for Latinas to work for in the US by Latina magazine. Their target audience is the 5 million Hispanic working women in the US.

[ image: The 1997 annual report: New worlds, new products, new ways of working]
The 1997 annual report: New worlds, new products, new ways of working
The magazine said this about the corporation: "Amoco offers reimbursement of child care costs incurred as a result of business travel and overtime work, flextime and compressed work week opportunities, profit sharing, education reimbursements, and Hispanic networking groups in several cities."

The corporation's 'vision', as stated on their website, goes thus:

"Amoco will be a global business enterprise, recognized throughout the world as pre-eminent by employees, customers, competitors, investors and the public. We will be the standard by which other businesses measure their performance. Our hallmarks will be the innovation, initiative, and teamwork of our people, and our ability to anticipate and effectively respond to change, and to create opportunity. "


The brand name "Amoco" comes from the American Oil Company which was established in 1910 by Louis and Jacob Blaustein of Baltimore, Maryland.

American was a prominent refiner and marketer of petroleum products throughout the East and South of America.

In 1923, American became a partially owned subsidiary of Standard Oil Trust.

But as Standard began to aggressively expand its operations worldwide during the 1960s, the company underwent a corporate review and chose to revert to the "Amoco" brand name.

Lighting the way to the Mid-West

Although the company made its name in oil, Amoco was also famous for its candles.

Since candles were almost exclusively made of paraffin wax - a by product of the refining process - it made sense for the company to get involved in the industry.

The candle factory in Whiting, Indiana operated from 1893 to 1956 and became synonymous with American quality.

From March 18 to December 19, 1918, the company's entire production of six and eight inch candles was purchased by the Army for use in the trenches.

Just after World War II the Whiting Candle Factory enjoyed its peak years accounting for about 10% of all candles bought in the United States.

But eventually, as candle sales declined, the factory was closed in favour of Amoco's more lucrative interests.

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