An interview with Maximilian Breidenstein, Managing Partner, TIMBERFARM GmbH.
IRSG: What directions has TIMBERFARM taken since the 1960’s?
Maximilian Breidenstein: TIMBERFARM is an international commodity and investment management group focusing on natural rubber and rubber wood founded and based in Düsseldorf. The entrepreneurial family Breidenstein was the founder of the tire trade and the rubber industry business and has been operating for almost 50 years.
We grew to a Group which now operates and manages rubber plantations in Panama. Our objective is to produce sustainable and good quality natural rubber as a basic raw material for the American and European automotive, tire and rubber industries and to obtain rubber wood as a construction material for the regional wood industry.
IRSG: In recent years TIMBERFARM has recorded an extraordinary growth, could you explain us how this has been achieved and what the strategy for the future?
Maximilian Breidenstein: While TIMBERFARM GmbH, headquartered in Germany and headed by Maximilian Breidenstein, is responsible for the management of the entire group, the management of the individual projects included all rubber plantations and rubber trees is under direct responsibility of the local units. In Panama TIMBERFARM S. A. is responsible for the creation, management and harvesting of the rubber plantations as well as the processing of natural rubber and the rubber wood yields.
Since 2012, TIMBERFARM has begun to offer rubber tree stands or complete rubber plantations as an investment opportunity in tangible assets, thus taking over the role of management and processing of raw materials. In 2016, TIMBERFARM adapted its investment management strategy to the requirements of the amended Investment Act with the new concept of the PANARUBBER asset investments.
In 2019, the TIMBERFARM rubber processing factory, the first and only rubber processing factory in Panama will start operations. We started the tapping of our first vintage in 2017.
As we are planting every year new plantation, we have every year new plantations on which we can start with the tapping. That means that year by year increases the latex volume which comes from our own plantations and from the plantations which are under our management.
As we understand the natural rubber business as a circle, it was from the beginning clear for us, that we do not only need our own nursery and plantations, we would also have our own rubber processing plant. Having this processing plant allows us to specify our products in the way as they would be best for the market. The setup of the factory which we are going to have is abler to handle a yearly rubber volume of 30.000 tons.
IRSG: What do you think are your strengths in terms of products and market focus?
Maximilian Breidenstein: TIMBERFARM is doing every single step on its own with its own employees. To ensure high level quality rubber latex and end products we manage the rubber trees in our nursery, planting the trees on our own plantations ensures stability of crops.
In addition we maintain-and tap the trees ourselves and we process the latex in our own processing factory.
Tapping and processing gives our clients the assurance of good quality latex meant for their products.
IRSG: In relation to CSR how does TIMBERFARM ensure suppliers and partners comply with basic human rights standards?
Maximilian Breidenstein: Panama already has high human rights standards. TIMBERFARM ensures best practice of the minimum salary and adheres to contributing to staff social benefits. In addition, TIMBERFARM rewards our tappers with an extra bonus for productivity. All these gives a sense belongingness and helps to build a family like bonding.
IRSG: Share some examples how TIMBERFARM educates partners and suppliers about the value of sustained production and processing in the supply chain.
Maximilian Breidenstein: We inculcate the mentality of sustainability in our daily work by preaching and practicing it every day. Giving examples of how efficiency brings about a trust in business and sharing the fruits with our staff, partners and suppliers eventually through good management and high quality products.
IRSG: What is TIMBERFARM looking forward to in this market environment in relations to exports?
Maximilian Breidenstein: As we are based in Panama, the key market now will be USA. The market in USA is fairly vibrant even though with the levy of import taxes.
IRSG: TIMBERFARM has been a Panel Associate Member of the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) since 2012. What is the main benefit for TIMBERFARM being an IRSG industry member?
Maximilian Breidenstein: An important benefit of being an IRSG member is to have access to the main decision makers in the rubber industry and to profit from the market information provided by the IRSG and its members.
For more dialogue with TIMBERFARM, please contact or call
Maximilian Breidenstein +49 (0)211 / 64 958 100