Desmarais and the creation of the Compagnie Française de Raffinage (Book Desmarais Frères 1861-1961 - extracts)
At the beginning of 1928, Desmarais Frères took the initiative of a general consultation among the various distributors, shareholders of the Compagnie Française des Pétroles. The idea consisted in creating a cooperative association between the refining organization and the distributing companies operating in France, to ensure outlets for finished products from the crude oil which the PSC would dispose of. Robert Cayrol made himself the spokesperson for his policies with his colleagues, whom he considered capable of meeting the objectives of a national industry. He believed that the first duty of the independent distributors, shareholders of the PSC, should be to help its development to make it a kind of third force between the two blocks Standard and Royal Dutch. the PSC, in order to maintain the balance between the two French and foreign groups, could be of a different nature. Exclusive, it meant unrestricted association, in which the producer renounces distribution and the distributor for production: it was the position adopted by Desmarais Frères which abandoned its activity as a refiner. The Compagnie Française de Raffinage was formed at the start of 1929. The majority of the capital was held by the PSC (55%) and the State (10%); the remainder being shared between the six distributing companies which had agreed to give up their own refining. Among the latter, Desmarais Frères made the largest subscription (18.70%). During the year, the CFR signed agreements with each of these 6 companies, known as "members", which ensured the reciprocal exclusivity of activities as well as equal treatment. Coupled with these agreements with distributors and agreements between the State and the CFP, the creation of the CFR respected the interests of independent French companies and safeguarded the public interest through the participation of the State.