|Type||Multinational financial and trading conglomerate combined with private military, security and governance services|
(see Branches of Operation)
Partly: Princely Exploration and Trading Company (Calbain branch)|
Coldwater Company (Fieldburg branch)
|Key people||Ludovic Verion, Stephen Lewis, Jacobo Castrigo Álvarez, Jana Al-Basani|
|Products||Banking, Insurance, Intermicronational trade, Military and Security Services, Government|
The Iron Company is a multinational business conglomerate, trading company, private military company and financial institution founded in 1638 AN by Ludovic Verion and Joachim Brunswick in Shireroth. The Iron Company is active in many different economic branches, from insurance and banking to security and private military enterprises. Throughout its history, the company has seen several incarnations, as it had since its conception been one of the most influential businesses on Micras.
Starting out as a banking and insurance company, the Iron Company got its name due to the iron vaults housing gold which was imported from Goldshire and used as collateral for various loans and investments. Subsequently, the Iron Company became intertwined with the government of Shireroth, Elwynn, especially in the North, Blackstone, Los Liberados, the free city of Chryste and the various Verionist states. The Iron Company from its outset was a political player, providing financial backing for the Oustfest Massacre which was the Kaiser of Shireroth replaced and led to the end of the Shirithian Benacian hegemony. The Company suffered setbacks during the 1670's and 1680's, following a political alliance with Verionist political forces. A conflict with the Florian government sparked the Verionian–Raspur War. Following these conflicts, the Iron Company's dominant economic role declined, having been banned in Elwynn and having lost Blackstone.
In the late 17th century, the Calbain assest of the Company were restructured into the Calbain Princely Exploration and Trading Company, as the Company suspended operations. Eki Verion and Stephen Lewis granted the Iron Company again an operational charter in 1698 in Free Elwynn following the Second Elwynnese Civil War. Subsequently, the Company has restarted operations and attempts to regain its once dominant position. The Verionist governemnt largely privatised the finance and security sector, allowing the Company to raise a steady force of mercenaries. A first step which saw the Company back on the Micras state was the Reconquest of Blackstone. Since 1705, the Company leadership also serves as the de facto government of Blackstone.
From its conception, the Iron Company has been closely intertwined with the Verion family of Shireroth. It was founded in 1638 by Ludovic Verion. Following his graduation from Lewis College in Cimmeria, Verion moved to Goldshire. Under the reign of Queen Noor bint Daniyal, Goldshire had experienced a period of economic growth. Especially the Golshire mines were more productive than ever. Verion seized the opportunity and started the Iron Company by selling insurance to miners and mine owners. This proved a popular and profitable investment, and the Iron Company became a household name.
Not long after, Joachim Brunswick, heir to the Brunswick family that had made a vast amount of money in industry in the Syrelwynn valley, contacted Verion. The Brunswick run JM Group had experienced economic difficulty. The two agreed that the banking and industry branches of the JM Group would become a subsidiary of the Iron Company. Brunswick subsequently became a governor in the Iron Company.
After the Verion family was forced into exile, the island of Blackstone became a safe haven for the noble family. One of the first acts of the Council of Ten, the governing body of Blackstone, was to grant the Iron Company a Charter which gave the company significant privileges, such as the right to mint currency, form a militia and set up colonies on behalf of the government of Blackstone.
1644 was a turbulent year for the Iron Company. After supporting a coup against incumbent Shirithian Kaiser Dominus, the company initially propered tremendeously and raked in vast amounts of money from dubious defence contracts. However, the tables turned after the Landsraad of Shireroth, and several leaders of Imperial States forced the new Kaiser Aurangzeb II Steffki to abdicate in favour of Kaiseress Noor, who quickly sought to prosecute those involved in the bloody coup. Ludovic Verion fled the country and lost his position as Governor-General of the Iron Company. Aside from that, Jingdao seized the moment to occupy both Blackstone and Calbion, two very important trading hubs for the Company. In the following years, the Company lost significant revenue, and began to restructure its operations.
Following corporate restructuring, the Iron Company quickly expanded and strengthened its business operations in key areas. A major boost for the company came with its involvement in the North Raynor Sea and the eventual independence of Los Liberados, a nation in which the Iron Company has a significant stake, and that provided a significant amount of new revenue. In late 1669 and early 1670, lucrative deals with the Shirithian government and several other multinational trading companies established the Iron Company as one of the largest Micrasian companies in terms of revenue.
In the aftermath of the combined reactor failure and biohazard incident at the Titus Morvayne Research Centre outside Zolt on 15.XII.1675, international opinion turned decisively against the Verionist movement and all its ancillary parts, including the Iron Company. In the subsequent year the Raspur Pact, taking advantage of the violent reaction to the Verionists in the Northern Commonwealth, oversaw the confiscation and dismantling of all Iron Company assets located in the territories of Pact members. Those Iron Company vessels which had not already completed the dash for sanctuary in a Verionist enclave in southern Keltia faced the prospect of interdiction by Pact navies wherein those merchant vessels not sunk out of hand would be towed to the port of Rothaven for the auction of their crews and cargo and the scrapping of the ships themselves. Its tight ties with the Batavian government led to thorough counter-offensive of cabinet Montrarde and the company's freezing of funds in Batavia. The
The Iron Company continued to maintain and protect their trade network, and saw themselves surrounded by increasingly hostile nations and competitors. The ascension of the Florian Republic, in which the Company had significant investments, to the Raspur Pact was unacceptable to the Board of Governance. A punitive expedition that followed led to the Verionian-Raspur War, which was fought from 1680 to 1683. Following the Treaty of Corcovado, the Iron Company's relationship with some of the Raspur countries improved significantly. In 1683, Jana Al-Basani, the former Governor of Chryste, was voted as Governor-General of the Iron Company.
The governing structure of the Iron Company saw a significant overhaul in the 1660's. Declining business, and some implications following close political involvement forced the Company to rethink its strategy. Many of the problems the Company suffered in markets such as Jingdao and Shireroth were directly related to actions by one or two strong characters that dominated the company. In order to avoid this, a clear governing structure was established.
The Iron Company continues to be lead by a board of Governance that is chaired by the Grand-Governor. The Governors decide the overall direction of the operations of the Company. But whereas before, only a small number of representatives had free reign in crucial areas of operation, the current Company has set out a clear division of the different parts of Micras in which the Company is involved. Rather than being beholden to a single Representative, the Company has created a sub layer of governance. In the past, although the governors officially have an equal position within the Company (the Grand-Governor being the primus inter pares), in practice there was a great difference of influence between the members of the Council. For instance, Villiam Al-Basani, as Governor-Representative of the Royal Iron Company, had control over all operatons in Goldshire in the 1640's, which was by then the most important field of operations for the Company and as such had an incredibly crucial position.
The current Company has its areas of operation divided into five regions.
- Region I (Shireroth)
- Region II (Mainland Batavia, Kasterburg)
- Region III (Nova Batavia, Trade around the Great Western Sea)
- Region IV (Cibola, Tapfer and Eura)
- Region V (Los Liberados, Apollonia and Keltia)
Current Board of Governance
- Jana Al-Basani, Governor-General
- Stephen Lewis (Governor-Regent; Governor Region I)
- John Brunswick (Governor-Representative, Fieldburg)
- Kock Lewis (Governor-Representative, Cimmeria)
- Regina Verion (Governor-Representative, Elsenar)
- Alexander Galon (Governor, Region II)
- Walter Rauschning (Governor-Representative, Kasterburg)
- Jonathan Vröml (Governor-Representative, Batavia)
- Sebastién de Montfort (Governor, Region III)
- Rodrigo Armante (Governor-Representative, Gran Verionia)
- James Sherrinford (Governor-Represenative, Nova Batavia)
- Peter Mikkelsen (Governor, Region IV)
- Hamid al-Rikabi (Governor-Representative, Eura)
- Umberto Vargas (Governor, Region V)
- Carlos Infante Llosa (Governor-Representative, Los Liberados)
- Julius Wallace (Governor-Representative, Florian Republic)
Areas of Operation
The Iron Company has business dealings all over Micras. It is active in many different countries, either directly or through subsidaries. In some countries, the Company provides services of governance, while in others, the main focus is on import and export of goods.
|Blackstone||1636 - 1648||The Lordship of Blackstone has been associated with the Iron Company from the start. An institutionally established connection between the government of Blackstone and the Company. One of the seats of the former government, the Council of Ten of the island was reserved for a representative of the Iron Company. The international headquarters of the company, as well as the Mint, the Stock Exchange and the shipyards were located on the island. The Iron Company also controlled the Blackstonian colony of Itteria. The island of Blackstone was the centre of the business operations of the Company until 1648, when the island was occupied by Jingdao and the Iron Company ceased its operations.|
|Shireroth||1636 - 1676||The Iron Company was first established in the Shirithian state of Goldshire, where the Iron Company received a royal warrant. Subsequently, the Goldshirithian branch of the Company became known as the Royal Iron Company. The Royal Iron Company was granted an exclusive right to mine iron, aluminium and nickel in the Counties of Elsenar, Suthergold, and Amity—Mirioth—So-Sara, as well as partial governance over the harbour cities of Chryse, New Harbor and Erudition. The Royal Iron Company established trading posts in those ities that served as the hubs of transit for the shipping of goods. These arrangements became controversial and were largely reversed in 1644, although the Company has always continued to have a strong presence in Goldshire.
In 1643, the Iron Company entered a co-operation agreement with the Emirate of Khaz-Modan. The Iron Company would assist the Local Service Regiments in their serious duty to protect the citizens of Amity. The Iron Company also provided the Regiments with Steel from the Erudition Steelworks, as well as 250 Heavy Machine Guns, 20 Armoured vehicles, 70 missile launcers, 4 tanks and one naval supply vessel. In return, the Emir of Khaz Modan would provide the Iron Company ships with protection against pirates in the Yardistani sea, and granted the Company the privilege of tax collecting on the island of Yardistan. This agreement saw a significant change in loyalty of the Iron Company in the Civil War in Goldshire.
The association with the Verionists saw the Iron Company expand greatly in the North of Shireroth (previously Elwynn), especially following the tenure of Eki Verion as Queen in the North. Following the Third Northern Rebellion, the Company was instrumental in orchestrating a peace settlement in the North, following which the Company gained the right of autonomous government of Cimmeria, Fieldburg and Elsenar. The Iron Company maintained its presence in Shireroth following the Kalirion Fracture, but most of its operations continued in the Vulture States. Presence ended with the Verionist Vespers of 1676.
|Calbion||1637 - 1648||The Principality of Calbion has granted the Iron Company the governorship of the island of Port Impregnable, which serves as the main trading hub of the Company for Eastern Micras. The Company also had major ports in the Calbain cities of Pentyre, Arryn, Caer Agra, Port Rivers and Port Arenas. After the Jingdaoese occupation, the ability of the Company to operate in Calbion were reduced dramatically.|
|Natopia||1638 - 1676||Through the Lord Regency of Alrodey, the Verion family had influence on the Natopian island. The ports of Ashington and Rostock are the main ports used by the Iron Company. The mining of precious metals and diamonds on Alrodey was exclusively granted to the Company. The Alrodean mines were to be one of the most profitable revenue streams of the Company. Presence ended with the Verionist Vespers of 1676.|
|Jingdao||1640 - 1647||The Iron Company was previously active on the Jingdaoese market through the port of Tiě Gǎng. After 1647, the Jingdaoes government closed its market and chose to trade exclusively with its USSO partners.|
|Flanders||1641 - 1650||Marcus Lucius, Flemish politician and twice President, awarded the Iron Company several lucrative contracts. The base of operations were mainly in the Flemish province of Libreterre, and the Southern Beneluccas.|
|Kasterburg||1658 - present||The Iron Company provides financial Services in Kasterburg. It is also the main operator of international trade, through the Iron Fleet. Main centre of operations in Kasterburg is the port city of Nieuw Ingelheim. The Iron Company also owns a majority share in Jodocus van Haltna International Airfield. Kasterburg is used by the company as an entrance port to the Kalgachian and Inner-Benacian markets. The Company also administers the research facilities in Zone 14.|
|Arcadia||1663 - present||The operations of the Iron Company in former Calbion were continued after the collapse of the Jingdaoese leadership on the island. Following the annexation by Arcadia, the operations in Pentyre were once again fully operational.|
|Batavia||1664 - 1681||Following the national Batavian renewal, the Iron Company opened headquarters in the Batavian city of Davignon. It expanded its operations following the Batavian Unification, and incorporated its existing operations in the Shirithian west with the new Batavian section of operations. In 1670, the Iron Militia was rewarded large Private Military Contracts, and is now responsible for the complete operation of the Eastern Border, as well as military security in some of the larger cities and ports. In 1672, the Batavian government awarded the Company the right to exploit the Gasconje Gas Field, one of the largest gasfields on Micras. The relative youth of the Batavian nation make for a thriving private industry, and the Iron Company has filled many of the nation's need with regards to trade operations and infrastructure projects. Especially since the ascension of Joachim Mackay as prime-minister, who remained close to the Iron Company, the influence of the Iron Company in Batavian society became high and often noticable. Critical voices casted doubt upon the close ties between business and politics. The news that the company had illegally received funds and contracts without Lagerhuis or royal approval to establish a mercenary fleet to replace the Royal Navy, led to a public outcry. With Mackay as popular figurehead gone (died earlier from natural causes), the company had no friendly face to defend its policies. A heavy backlash followed suit: the party Voorwaarts Batavië! became split on the issue during the 1680 elections and was defeated. The new prime minister and the government parties saw an opportunity to strike and weaken the company: mass arrests of employees, the seizing of all assets followed. The company was de facto banned from the Batavian State until further notice.|
|Kalgachia||1665 - present||The Iron Company presence in Kalgachia commenced with the construction of he Kasterburg-Transbatavia road project, which was shortlived due to political changes in the Eastern border of Kasterburg, which saw a crucial part of the railroad being corrupted by the indigenous tribes of central Benacia. The Iron Company and the Kalgachi Directorate of Public Works however did value their cooperation, and the Iron Company, through the Batavian Confederation, was established as the prefered way of transportation for the landlocked nation. Trade cooperation evolved and grew substantially in the late 1660s and early 1670s, resulting in a lucrative contract for the expansion of Gravelbottom Airport and the move of the Octavian Import-Export Corporation to Los Liberados. These years saw the Kalgachi export become more and more dependent upon the Iron Company's shipping network. The USSO-led Operation Hugo Grotius, which highlighted the potential downside of the Iron Company's close marriage with certain governments, made the Kalgachi elite weary of their dependence on one export partner. Kalgachi mercantile emissianaries attempted to broker deals with rival companies, specifically Kerularios & Company, a company which had seen rapid growth in just several years. Not wishing to lose their highly lucrative monopoly position in Kalgachi trade, the Iron Company used its influence in the Batavian Confederation and refused to allow any exports from Kalgachia to cross the border unless they continued to be operated by the Iron Company. The same year, inspired by the success of Gravelbottom Airport, the Iron Company was awarded a new contract to expand the rail network of southern Kalgachia.|
|Los Liberados||1668 - present||In 1668, the Iron Company opened its first trading post on the Liberadosan islands. Realising potential, mercantile governor Jacobo Castrigo Álvarez brought the islands under the governance of the Company, and opened its markets to international trade. Having previously been under the influence of Jingdao, this opening brought vast wealth and new hope to the Liberadosan people and is known in the country as the liberación. Following the independence of Los Liberados, the Iron Company continued to have close ties with the governing Junta de Liberación Nacional.|
|Palesmenia||1670 - 1675||The Iron Company expanded to Palesmenia in early 1670, when it signed an agreement with the Émprassi to establish a trading post and warehouse complex on the island of Rnârdár e-Kenzie. The main interest for the Company in Palesmenia is the significant rice production of the nation, which is shipped all across Micras, especially to Eura and Keltia, where there exist significant shortages of food. Palesmenia is also a market for steel, which the Company produces. However, in 1675, Palesmenia withdrew their membership after an economic boom, allowing to produce the nation's own steel. The ingratitude of this action angered the Iron Company Governor-Representative, and the Company merchant took several barges with rice with them upon departure.|
|Florian Republic||1670 - 1680||The Company was involved in the Florian Republic from 1667 to 1680 through its subsidiary, VolksCorp, which proved to not be particularly successful due to restrictions on Florian industry. In 1670, the Florians expanded and gained access to the North Raynor Sea. The Company partnered with the Florian government in building Port Farrar, which has become the main entrance of trade to and from the Republic. However, in 1680 the Florian government desired to nationalise its industries of mining, transportation and others which would effectively remove the organisation's trading operations in the country. The Iron Company retaliated and triggered the ongoing Verionian-Raspur War by attacking Florian Eura and Port Farrar activating the mutual defence clause of the Raspur Pact, an organisation which the Florian Republic is a member of. The Iron Company is now considered a terrorist organisation by the federal government. |
|Ralgon||1670 - 1675||An entrepot and trading station was opened in Ralgon in 1670. The Iron Compound, heavily protected to avoid attacks by indigenous predatory animals, is located in Glacier City. Upon Ralgon's decision to join the USSO, the Iron Company immediately announced it would leave the nation. Within a week, all Company personel had left, taking all stored trading goods in the Compound. Only two hours after the Iron Compound was deserted, its fuel depot mysteriously caught fire, resulting in the destruction of compound as well as parts of the Glacier City docklands closest to it. The Ralgonians didn't take it particularly well.|
|Beneluccas||1670 - present||In 1670, the Iron Company established its presence in the Beneluccas. The Company had a previous historic connection with the Southern Beneluccas, through Marcus Lucius, Flemish representative of the Company who led a revival movement on the Southern Beneluccas during the Flemish period. The Iron Company opened its headquarters in Ruhatyn, as well as an entrepot in the capital of Schaarlecht. The Company signed several agreements with Beneluccan pirates to work for the company as privateers, in order not to jeopardise any ventures in the Captive Sea.|
|Elwynn||1671 - 1676||Immediately following the independence of the Elwynnese Republic from Shireroth, the Iron Company reaffirmed its presence in the state. The Iron Company plays a crucial role in infrastructure in Elwynn, and has significant political leverage. Conducator Stephen Lewis, the head of government for the North of Elwynn, is a Governor-Representative within the Iron Company. The ports of Fieldburg, Cimmeria and Wintergleam were exploited by the Company exclusively. The Elwynnes Republic was one of the most profitable areas of operation for the Company. Presence ended with the Verionist Vespers of 1676.|
|Verionist Republic||1672 - present||The Verionist Republic comes closest to a state governed by the Company. Through the intertwined connections between the Company, the House of Verion and the Verionist political movement, it is unclear to what extent the Company influences policy directly. What is clear, however, is that the Iron Company is by far the most important financial factor in the nation, it possesses many assets and controlls trade and economic development to a large extent.|
Branches of operation
Banking and Insurance
The historical core business of the Iron Company was insurance. The Company acquired a lot of its wealth by selling insurance to miners and to owners of the various gold, and silver mines of Goldshire. Later, the insurance branch expanded to ship owners, who wanted to protect their investments by insuring the goods or ships that were engaged in the international trade. Pirates, storms and unidentified creatures of the sea were common dangers for those brave souls who dared to cross the ocean in order to get rich, so selling insurances was a lucrative business. Following from the selling of insurance, the Iron Company also began to give loans and started selling mortgages.
The Iron Militia, the Company's private security arm, is the largest private military on Micras. The militia is under the command of the Grand-Governor of the Iron Company. The Militia was originally established to protect the warehouses and shipyards of the Iron Company, but has expanded greatly since. The Iron Company has provided the national security of provinces and nations, such as Blackstone and Los Liberados.
A core interest continues to be safeguarding the interests of the Iron Company and it does this in several different ways. In the oversees territories controlled by the Iron Company, such as trade posts, the Militia serves as a defense army. At sea, the Militia provides protection for the vulnerable ships that sail all over the globe, and is an important actor in the protection of international shipping lanes. The Iron Fleet, the naval arm of the militia, currently has a fleet of over a hundred military vessels.
Analysis and Assessment
The Office of Shadows, that serves as an intelligence gathering service for the Company, was established in 1650 in order to provide crucial risk assessment for the company and its investors.
Goldshire's gold, and silver mines were not only a source of income to the Iron Company with regard to selling insurance, but the Company also started to exploit its own mines. Engineers of the Company invented ways to extract the precious metalsfrom the earth in a more cost-efficient manner than the methods used by other mines, so the Iron Company was able to gain a competitive advantage, and used this to buy out many of the other miners in the Golshirithian heartland. The Iron Company set up protected roads to transport the gold and silver to the port cities of Elsenar. The Elsenari mines remain one of the most profitable enterprises of the Company.
The Company has three main industrial hubs where products, mostly steel and iron, are produced: Fieldburg, Elsenar and Kasterburg. Most of the industry used by the Company is relegated to subsidaries or partners.
A partnership with the Imperial State of Constancia greatly expanded the potential for the Iron Company to be involved in industry.
Food and spices
Following the expansion of the colonial network of the Company, food and spices became an important product of trade.
The Iron Company trades, among others, Fruit (Los Liberados, Alrodey), grain and agricultural products (Kasterburg, Natopia, Elsenar, Palesmenia) and alcoholic beaverages (Cimmeria, Los Liberados).
Infrastructure and travel
The Iron Company has built a high-end network of roads in various countries where it has running operations. Aside from this, the Iron Company operates the international airports in Kasterburg, Puerto Arcadio, and Corcovado. It owns both the Nakalma and Liberair airlines.
A slightly less profitable venture was the creation of Iron Airships. After Count Ryker Everstone entered a career in the Shirithian capital of Shirekeep, he neglected his Airship company, Ryker Airships. The Iron Company saw this as an opportunity to start out in the airship business as well. Some older ships of the R.A.S. were bought and updated. Unfortunately, the I.A.S. was not as popular as the larger R.A.S. and did not manage to gain the largest share of the market. Rumours that the Iron Company sought to reverse this situation by publishing negative reports on Ryker Airships in the Iron Gazette are not substantiated.
The Iron Company has three main subsidiaries: the JM Group, a financial service provider based in Fieldburg, Shireroth; the Liberadosan Banana Company, which runs plantations in Los Liberados, and VolksCorp, an industrial conglomerate in the Florian Republic.