In 2007, The Principia was given 85 percent ownership of a Dutch company called Cordstrap. The company’s founder and owner at the time, Fred van Eck, had left Cordstrap to Principia as a gift in his will. Van Eck had a close affiliation with Principia and had attended some adult education programs at the campus.
Cordstrap, headquartered in the Netherlands, began as a rayon yarn cargo strapping business and has grown into a global leader in cargo strapping. They focus on one-way polyester cargo strapping and cargo securing systems. Current CEO Brad Tribble described the company’s goal as being safe transport of customer goods to market.
But what does Principia’s ownership of Cordstrap really mean? As Tribble put it, “I work for Principia. At the end of the day, I will be evaluated on my ability to generate shareholder returns. The question is, how do I go about doing that?”
As the majority shareholder, Principia receives nearly $7 million in dividends from Cordstrap every year. To put that in perspective, the total revenue from the St. Louis campus is about $2 million.
Last Friday, Tribble was on campus for meetings with the Cordstrap board and the Principia Investment Committee. He also had time to give a talk to College business students. His talk focused on creating value, along with differentiating between short-term value extraction and long-term value. Tribble emphasized the importance of a company having a purpose, saying that “Ultimately, it’s not what we do. It’s why we do it.” Beyond just generating revenue, Cordstrap is interested in “providing real world solutions for [their] customers.”
Several Principia alumni currently sit on the Cordstrap executive board. Additionally, Tribble meets periodically with the Principia Investment Committee. He views these boards as having both a controlling role and a positive advisor role.
Cordstrap continues to grow and expand – great news for Principia, the primary beneficiary.