Maritime History: Bureau Veritas (BV) 28 May 1829


( Bureau Veritas was founded in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1828. Originally called the Bureau de renseignements pour les assurances maritimes (Information Office for Maritime Insurance), its mission was to "establish the truth and expose without apprehension or favoritism". Bureau Veritas provided insurers with information that enabled them to assess the reliability of ships and equipment, and to ensure the protection of people and property. A year after its founding, the company adopted the name "Bureau Veritas" on 28 May 1829. In July 1833, the headquarters moved to Paris.

  • 1828: The birth of Bureau Veritas. In the winter of 1821, violent storms raged across Europe causing some 2,000 shipwrecks and 20,000 deaths. The situation was disastrous for insurance companies. Most of them went bankrupt, and for those that survived the competition in coming years from newcomers in the market was particularly fierce. It was during this critical period that two underwriters, Alexandre Delehaye and Louis van den Broek, and an insurance broker, Auguste Morel, established the Bureau de Renseignements pour les Assurances Maritimes (Information Office for Maritime Insurance).Founded in Antwerp (Belgium) in June 1828, the company had a simple mission: to keep underwriters up to date with the various premiums in use at different commercial centers and to provide all the necessary information for determining the level of confidence in ships and equipment.
  • 1829: The company was renamed Bureau Veritas, the first Register was published - which included 10,000 ships - and an emblem for Truth was adopted as the company insignia.
  • 1830: A branch office was created in Paris.
  • 1833: Activity had expanded so much that the head office was transferred to the French capital.
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  • 1869-1875: The Bureau's presence did not go unnoticed in other fields. The company was quoted in three Jules Verne novels:
    - "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" (1869);
    - "The Mysterious Island" (1874);
    - "The Survivors of the Chancellor" (1875).
  • 1910: With the expansion of the Industrial Revolution, Bureau Veritas broadened its range of services. The introduction of iron and steel into ship building had made materials inspection at production sites crucial. In 1910 a new service was created, "Control of Materials". Its purpose was to examine all the materials used in everything from industrial equipment, to diesel motors, locomotives and the like, as well as the very factories themselves.
  • 1929: With the increasing number of accidents during the construction boom that followed the First World War, insurers realized they could no longer cover the risks unless there were pre-existing controls in place. Again Bureau Veritas responded to the market, and in 1929 it established the "Control Service for Buildings & Civil Engineering".
  • 1932: Bureau Veritas had established its own laboratories at Levallois-Perret near Paris for metallurgical and chemical analysis, and the testing of building materials.
  • 1980-1990: Expanding entrepreneurship, 1980-1990. Between 1980 and 1990 Bureau Veritas set up a number of new subsidiaries in response to specific needs.
    • Bivac - In 1984 the government of Nigeria approached Bureau Veritas to deliver pre-shipment inspection of imports. It was a brand new business venture for the company, and one that it would quickly master and take to other countries. A global network was soon established to work with governments across the globe.
    • BVQI - Now Bureau Veritas Certification - By 1988, quality imperatives and ISO certification had become key issues for many companies. With the growing need for independent third party systems certification, Bureau Veritas was in a strong position to respond.
    • Veritas Auto - 1990 saw the creation of a major subsidiary to handle the regular inspection of motor vehicles. This activity was ceded a few years later.

  • 1995: In 1995, two new corporate shareholders, CGIP (now Wendel) and Poincaré Investissement injected fresh impetus into Bureau Veritas activities. At the same time, the global economic environment was evolving ever faster.
  • 1996: Bureau Veritas acquired CEP and became the French leader in conformity assessment of building construction.
  • 1998: Bureau Veritas added a new core competence to its portfolio: Consumer Products Testing, by the acquisition of a well-established US firm with testing labs in Asia (ACTS) followed by MTL in 2001
  • 2007: On October 24, 2007, Bureau Veritas became listed on the Paris Stock Exchange.
  • 2008: Bureau Veritas became one of the largest providers of mineral testing services worldwide (acquisitions of Amdel in Australia and Cesmec in Chile and Peru)
  • 2010: The acquisition of Inspectorate in 2010 positioned Bureau Veritas among the top three global leaders within the commodities market.



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