Strategy & management

Company profile

For nearly 350 years, curious people have been bringing ideas to life at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. A passion for research and discovery is our most valuable resource.

We are a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Our 50,414 employees work to further develop technologies that enrich lives – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer and multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, our 215 subsidiaries with employees in 66 countries generated sales of € 15.0 billion. Our 91 production sites are located across 22 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the "Merck" name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where we operate as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

Employees and sales by region


Group structure

In line with our strategic direction, our company comprises three business sectors: Healthcare, Life Science, and Performance Materials, which encompass the Group’s six businesses.

Our Healthcare business sector consists of four businesses, namely Biopharma, Consumer Health, , and Allergopharma. Our Biopharma business discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative pharmaceutical and biological prescription drugs to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), infertility, and growth disorders, as well as certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In our Consumer Health business, we focus on consumer-centric innovation under the umbrellas of several strategic brands such as Neurobion®, Bion®, Seven Seas®, Nasivin®, Femibion®, and Dolo-Neurobion®, as well as Vivera®/Floratil®, Sangobion®, Vigantoletten®, Apaisyl®, and Kytta®. Our Biosimilars business is committed to increasing access to top-quality biologics for patients across the globe. We are in the advanced stages of negotiations to divest the Biosimilars business, with the transaction expected to close in fiscal 2017. Our allergy business Allergopharma is one of the leading companies in the field of allergy immunotherapy (AIT).

Within Life Science, we conduct research for researchers, providing scientists with laboratory materials, technologies and services to make research and biomanufacturing simpler, faster and more successful. Life Science is organized into three business areas that reflect our customer segments. Research Solutions focuses on academia and pharmaceutical research institutions; Process Solutions markets products and services for the entire pharmaceutical production value chain, and Applied Solutions serves clinical and diagnostic testing laboratories, as well as the food and environmental industries.

Our entire specialty chemicals business is combined in our Performance Materials business sector. The portfolio includes high-tech chemicals for applications in fields such as consumer electronics, lighting, coatings, printing technology, paints, plastics, and cosmetics. Performance Materials comprises four business units: Display Materials, Integrated Circuit Materials, Pigments & Functional Materials, and Advanced Technologies.

Net sales by business sector – 2016 

Group management

Based in Darmstadt, Germany, our company operates in the legal form of a corporation with general partners (Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien – KGaA). The general partner E. Merck KG, Darmstadt, Germany holds around 70% of the total capital of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (equity interest); the shareholders hold the remainder, which is divided into shares (share capital). Our shares have been included in the DAX® 30, the blue chip index of the Deutsche Börse, since 2007. In September 2008, our company was added to the FTSE4Good Index, a sustainability index that assesses the social, ecological and ethical conduct of companies.

Group strategy

We are a leading science and technology company. Our goal is to enrich lives and make our customers and partners more successful. Embodied by values-based, economically sustainable corporate governance, this aspiration has been an integral pillar of our new brand promise since 2015, guiding the strategic development of the Group.

Over the past decade, we have transformed ourselves from a conventional supplier of chemicals and pharmaceuticals into a global science and technology company. The main driver was the realignment of our business portfolio, particularly through the divestment of our Generics business (2007) and the acquisitions of Serono (2007), Millipore (2010), AZ Electronic Materials (2014), and Sigma-Aldrich (2015). Furthermore, we focused our businesses on innovation-driven and highly specialized products, extensively revamped our internal structures and processes, and expanded our presence in global growth markets.

Liquid crystals (LC)
Liquid crystals are a hybrid of a crystalline and liquid state. In general, molecules are perfectly arranged only when in a solid crystal state, in contrast to the liquid state, when they move around chaotically. However, liquid crystals are a hybrid of the two states: Although they are liquid, they exhibit a certain crystalline arrangement. Their rod-shaped molecules align themselves like a shoal of fish. In addition, they respond to the electromagnetic waves of light like tiny antennae. Therefore, such swarms of molecules can either allow specially prepared “polarized” light to pass through, or they can block it. This takes place in the pixels of liquid crystal displays – as it does similarly in liquid crystal windows, which can provide shade against sunlight.
Officially approved subsequent versions of innovator biopharmaceutical products made by a different sponsor after the original product's patent or exclusivity expires. Based on guidance from the EMA (European Medicines Agency), biosimilars must demonstrate comparability, or biosimilarity, to an existing approved product.