Shadows of Europe
Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries
Corporate Court Ranking (2075): #2 (Previously #1)
Corporate Slogan: “One Step Ahead”
Corporate Status: Private Corporation
World Headquarters: Neu-Essen, Allied German States
Important Shares in Other Corporations: AG Chemie (5%), ESUS (10%), German Treuhand (15%), Lusiada (4%)
Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries can be summed up in one word: Lofwyr. The great dragon owns nearly one hundred percent of this German-based megacorp, and he rules it with the kind of attention to detail that only one of his kind can maintain. It’s not impossible to put one over on Lofwyr, but it’s very difficult —and usually fatal. The wyrm doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and shadowrunners who go against him (or fail in one of his jobs) might just find themselves on his list —which is probably also his lunch menu. S-K is primarily involved in heavy industry, chemicals, finance, and aerospace with a presence in many other areas, which is just what you’d expect from the largest corporation in the world.
|Automotive & Transport:
Old World Airways
Maser Industrial Electronics (Robotics)
Micronetics (Biotechnology/ Genetics)
Advanced Frontier Cybernetics (Cyberware)
Siemens (Cyberware/Industrial Electronics)
Nippon Credit and Trust
|Armament & Security:
AV of Ukraine (Armament/Military Vehicles)
Diehl Defence (Armament)
Onotari Arms (Small Arms)
|Magical Services & Goods:
Awakened World Research
American Broadcasting Service
Volvox Industrial Chemicals
|Matrix & Electronics:
Amalgamated Technologies and Telecommunications
Hermes Matrix Services
Willamette Compustat Corporation
|Resources & Energies:
Kinesys Heavy Industries
Thyssen Aqua Service
The roots of one of the biggest of the AAA megacorporations reach back to the Bayerische Motoren Werke
or BMW, a German automotive and engine company founded in the early nineteenth century. Even before the Golden Age of the Big Seven, BMW was on the brink of what we would call an AA corporation today. A well-established but conservative multinational with several overseas subsidiaries and manufacturing sites, its true rise only began when Michel Beloit, a power-hungry senior BMW executive, assumed control of the company. Under Beloit’s vision and leadership, BMW diversified and expanded beyond limousines and motorcycles. With good ties to what is nowadays AG Chemie and the Frankfurt Bank Association, he exploited the economic and political difficulties in Europe to the company’s advantage, putting BMW on the fast track for megacorporate ascension with well-selected mergers and takeovers
When Beloit died (of unnatural causes, if you believe rumors) his wife and neo-corporate socialite Mina Graff-Beloit assumed control of the company, purging anyone among the management who opposed her. Despite her ruthless attitude, she fared reasonably well as CEO for a couple of years until the boss made his move to steal the corporation from under her.
As dragons tend to do, Lofwyr had played a carefully planned long-term game, stacking the deck in his favor by acquiring shares for a quarter of a century via shell companies and private investors until he finally made his move in 2037.
A lot of people have speculated why Lofwyr chose that year. I don’t think it was coincidence that he assumed control of BMW five years before the global signing of the Business Recognition Accords, which were already in the first stages of legal negotiations with governments at that time. The BRA made megacorporate dominion official in most countries and made the Big Seven more powerful than any single nation on the planet.
Lofwyr did not just want to own a corporation to make money. He wanted to have a legal entity of power (i.e., a corporate state with its own rights, laws, military, and espionage resources) with a decentralized territory (i.e., global sites defined by exterritoriality) and loyal subjects (hundreds of thousands if not millions of employees), with him as their undisputed leader. So what he basically created was an empire. And he made sure that it would be difficult to take it from him. That was the sole reason, why —after seizing BMW— he spent two years, from 2038 to 2040, restructuring all subsidiaries and branches under Saeder-Krupp (which had been formed from Thyssen-Krupp and Saeder Munitions, both already acquired by Beloit in the ’20s), a private megacorporation fully owned by himself. So it was ready when the BRA was finally signed.
Since the ’40s, Saeder-Krupp has thrived, dominating the corporate landscape as first among equals. The Euro Wars and subsequent economic conquest of Europe, Russia, (Northern) Africa, and the Middle East cemented the corporation’s reign in extended Europe. Globally, S-K focused on monopolizing certain industries and getting access to natural resources, oil, gas, or the public infrastructure. As S-K became the biggest employer in these countries and had the power to switch the local Matrix, energy, and water supply on and off, the megacorp gained more and more influence in several regions to the point that certain governments are mere S-K puppets. To further strengthen his grip, Lofwyr also built a network of powerful financial corporations around the globe to issue loans to these countries, making them even more dependent on his corp.
Lofwyr was also one of the biggest factors in the formation of the New European Economic Community (NEEC). He was the one who profited the most from the lift of national restrictions. So Saeder-Krupp prospered and became the biggest and most influential megacorp in the world, as it didn’t have to deal with all these internal struggles so many other megas had to face. Even with Crash 2.0, S-K came up on top, scoring some wins. Lofwyr simply “informed” the European governments that he would switch every Matrix grid S-K provides, as they all had a secret failsafe system. The boss could easily shut down the European Matrix before it could be completely destroyed by the Crash worm. Later he could safely switch the Matrix back on with just minimal losses of data and metahuman lives (compared the the rest of the world).
As tensions in the world were rising in the early ’70s, the boss made a bold move. In 2072, it became clear that his corp owned every single property four kilometers around the Saeder-Krupp Main Arcology in Essen. and the dragon transformed it, based on the BRA and Passau Contracts, into a full exterritorial zone named Neu-Essen (New Essen). He began to entrench himself in his personal city within a city, forming the perfect corporate utopia.
It was only a year later, with the beginning of the dragon civil war, that the master of chess had to move to a defensive stance, and Saeder-Krupp started struggling. There was no single reason why it happened, which is probably why even a great dragon failed to see it. It all started with Dunkelzahn’s bequest of the loremaster title Lofwyr, forcing him to intervene and negotiate between the different dragon factions and their views on metahumans. In turn Lofwyr was “rewarded” by some of his fellow great dragons by having them take shots at his empire, target- ing assets all over the world. In addition, the boss had to deal with and settle an eon-long clutch vendetta with his brother Alamais, culminating with the battle of GeMiTo in which he (and S-K) burned millions of euros in resources for military gear (drones, military vehicles, S-K military personnel) and mercenary contracts (like the one with MET2K), stretching S-K resources thinner than ever.
While Lofwyr was involved in troubleshooting the dragon conflict, control of the corporation was handed to trusted individuals, who, unfortunately, were only metahuman and not able to fully micro-manage like a great dragon. Work and duties were delegated down, but many managers in the Krupp empire were overstrained. This led to further losses of assets and business. While Lofwyr allocated more and more money from his corporation that was originally budgeted for stabilizing weaker corps or for long-term investments, the remaining managers were forced to take loans to keep their plans moving forward. And these plans, some made years ago, were the only ones they had, as S-K lacks a high-level decision process to come up with new ones when the boss is gone. Everybody was hop- ing Lofwyr would come back and save Saeder-Krupp from its paralyzed state. Out of fear they could get dragged into the conflict, several S-K employees left the company; some retired, while others, who had lost trust in Lofwyr, finally turned their back on him, often taking viable assets with them.
With the first sign of weakness, the sharks began to circle. While Lofwyr was focused on the dragon conflict, all his enemies tried their luck in attacking the titan. One of the most prominent of these attacks was the bomb attack on the Ætherlink HQ in Hamburg on June, 26th 2074, killing Wernher Julius Davids and his wife. The headquarters was hit so hard, the corp was forced to move to Dortmund and was effectively knocked out for the next few months. While the police could not find the ones who were responsible, the list of subjects is long, ranging from various neo-anarchist and terrorist groups to Ares, NeoNET, the DeMeKo, and even including some dragons like Hestaby or Ghostwalker. There are also rumors that the attack was planned and executed by a special unit of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces).
It’s not one hundred percent clear if that last rumor has any real legs. But users of the German shadow Matrix found evidence about a conspiracy within the German government rooting back to the early days of the Allied German States. The Founding Fathers and Mothers of the AGS foresaw a future where corporations be- came more powerful than the state. So they put some money, personnel, and resources aside to counter such a development. If such a plan exists, those behind it might believe the time has come to act.
Later that year Germany got a new chancellor, and to everyone’s surprise the old corporate-friendly administration wasn’t reelected. To Saeder-Krupp’s (and especially Lofwyr’s) displeasure, the conservative candidate Anikka Beloit won, the last remaining heir to the Beloit legacy. Her slogan is “Meeting corporations on eye level,” and as you would expect from someone with that view, she cut off the privileged access S-K had to the government in the past. She is no idiot and certainly not a blunt corporate hater that wants to abolish all corporations. She seems to want a model similar to Japan, where the corporations and the government work hand in hand. Unfortunately, that conflicts with Lofwyr’s plans.
With the conclusion of the dragon conflict, the boss handed the loremaster title over to Celedyr, mainly to get rid of the responsibility. Thanks to his spin doctors, Lofwyr came out as the good guy, as he stopped Alamais, his brood, and other rogue dragons and drakes from terrorizing the people. Saeder-Krupp also promised to compensate any losses and damages caused by any dragon, which cost him huge sums of nuyen. This brought him back lost sympathy so he could finally re- turn to his office and refocus on his empire.
Just as Lofwyr started restructuring his megacorp a second time, CFD hit the world. While corporate intelligence and security were able to pick up head cases very early, they did not know what kind of phenomenon they were dealing with until it started spreading. To clean the corporation from this menace, the Innenrevision, S-K’s internal affairs office, was vested with additional resources and power to handle the problem as the “Sacrosanct Corporate Inquisition” by the grace of the great dragon. As head cases are deviants who threaten the control and integrity of the system that is S-K (head cases don’t know how to function properly, and a cog that starts making its own decisions endangers the whole machine), they need to be dealt with. Nonetheless the appearance of CFD forced S-K to shut down its whole nanofabrication branch.
All of those events combined were too much, even for a giant like Saeder-Krupp. The overall S-K empire is still intact and ubiquitous, but factories, or even whole subsidiaries, were closed, and others were merged. Combined with the shutdown of nanofabrication, S-K suffered a significant drop of productivity. And so, what nobody ever thought could happen, happened —the giant fell. I mean, not like NeoNET is falling right now, or Fuchi did in the past, but enough to lose the title of biggest megacorp in the world and be passed by Mitsuhama. I guess that was a shock for everybody working for S-K, and I can imagine the only thing everybody is thinking about is getting back on top of the corporate food chain.
Like Aztechnology, Saeder-Krupp likes to play the misdirection game. Most S-K Johnsons don’t advertise themselves as such. What’s worse, S-K missions tend to be rather odd. They don’t go for the same kind of jobs you’ll pull with other corps. S-K Johnsons are pretty good as disguising themselves. They’ll present themselves as mob guys, other corps, or even amateur scientists. Whatever it takes to get you off the trail. Saeder-Krupp Johnsons are usually picked from people who have field experience and can take care of themselves. You’ll get adepts, mages, and people with discreet, lethal, and top- of-the-line cyber. Of all the corporations, Saeder-Krupp Johnsons get left by themselves a lot, both in terms of security and just what the hell is going on. S-K Johnsons quickly learn to stop trying to figure any reason behind the missions they are tasked to resolve.
The exception to the above is of course the bogeyman of the shadows, Hans Brackhaus. A sort of legendary figure, Mr. Brackhaus has most likely been played by many actors. The commonality between all of them is that if Hans Brackhaus is looking to hire you, your life is about to get complicated. All I can say is “good luck.”
S-K Johnsons are very demanding. Success brings rich rewards and the occasional offer to become company suits. It’s a good gig if you can get it, but failure for servants of Lofwyr always comes with a heavy price.