The Société Marchand auf Aktien Comercial is the largest interstellar mercantile trade and transshipment syndicate in the Sovereignty and the Ascendancy. It was founded as a colonial enterprise owned jointly by several planetary governments in the first decade of the 31st century in order to ensure supply lines to far-flung colonies, though it soon developed into a prototypical megacorporation with a mind and political agenda of its own. SOMAC was at its zenith of power and influence in the early 3200s, when it held a de-facto monopoly over almost all bulk shipment in the entire subsector. Its Directors were unimaginably wealthy and the company wielded immense political influence, having the power to cut off the flow of trade goods to entire worlds, and in fact fielding squadrons of warships to protect its bulk freighters from piracy or unwarranted government regulation.
The relative decline of the company's influence began even before the First Bragulan War. With the steady development of the subsector and the rise of progressively more powerful planetary and systemary governments SOMAC's ability to dictate terms was progressively reduced, and though it continued to hold monopolies on several trade routes well into the 33rd century it was forced to permit competition on spacelanes where previously it could remorselessly run any rivals into the ground.
The First Bragulan War significantly sped up the erosion of the company's power base. Several of its fleet squadrons were annihilated in orbit over Eta Bootis and Formalhaut during the opening stages of the war; its holdings came under Bragulan attack; the massive increase in warship construction and later the founding of the sectors-spanning Sovereignty further diminished SOMAC's ability for 'hostile negotiations'.
After the war the syndicate was a shadow of its former self. Its fleets had been decimated, its operations on many planets had been bombed to rubble and rival megacorporations had claimed many of its former concessions. In order to rebuild its fleet SOMAC had been forced to borrow heavily from the Sovereignty, and these war debts would take nearly a century to pay off. The subsequent rise of megacorporations with their own dedicated fleets of transports even further curtailed the influence that the company was able to exert. Deprived of its concessions and trade monopolies the syndicate was forced to seek new sources of income elsewhere.
Today the Société Marchand auf Aktien Comercial is still the largest transshipment and trade syndicate in the subsector, but it is a far cry from the economic powerhouse it once was. With shipment inside the Sovereignty mostly usurped by its many megacorporations SOMAC instead focuses most of its activities on interstellar trade: possession of some of the most complete star and hyperlane maps in the Koprulu Sector allow it to remain comfortably ahead of its competition in that field to this day. SOMAC is especially dominant in the trade with the Sassanid Empire and the Cevaucian Ascendancy, but is also very active in the Imperium, the Holy Empire and the former Outback, where it competes heavily with the Anglian Spinward Outback Trading Company.
Structure and Holdings
SOMAC is governed by the Board of Regent-Directors. There are thirteen directors; all of them control vast amounts of shares in the company and most can trace their lineage back to the syndicate's early days as a colonial enterprise. From amongst themselves these thirteen elect the Comptroller General, the de-facto CEO of the company. SOMAC is headquartered on Falvacion, a core world of the Cevaucian Ascendancy.