Merck attributes success to strong foundation

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 18, 2014 - 20:35
  • Updated : Aug 18, 2014 - 21:30
DARMSTADT, Germany ― After more than three centuries in business, Merck Group has retained its spot as one of the world’s leaders in the industries of pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

The secret to such sustainable growth lies in a founding family eager to provide full support for the professional staff that runs Merck, and the willingness to undergo the series of innovations that have made Merck stronger and more equipped than ever to compete as a quality industrial materials maker.

“(The key to our success) lies in our ability to change and to innovate continuously, coupled with persistence,” said Bernd Reckmann, head of Merck’s chemicals business sector in an interview with The Korea Herald.

“Being a family-owned business gives you persistence in approaching businesses. A lot of other competitors have left the field already because they don’t have the resources nor the right technology to win and succeed in this business.”
Merck’s chemicals business sector head Bernd Reckmann

About two-thirds of Merck Group is owned by the founding family, but the company is currently publicly traded and ranks among the top 30 listed firms in Germany.

In Korea, Merck has been striving to meet the demands of its clients that include top-notch IT companies such as Samsung and LG.

Asia has become increasingly important for Merck, as about one-third of its sales come from emerging countries such as Korea, China and Taiwan.

“Asia is a very dynamic division where we have all the top customers, and in terms of chemicals, Korea is a one of the most important,” Reckmann said.

The executive has personally close ties with Korea as last year he was named an investment consulting ambassador for Germany by the Seoul government.

The appointment was based on the excellent references Reckmann received during his term as managing director of Merck Korea in 2005-2007.

Outside of Asia, Merck has been actively engaging in merger and acquisitions to solidify its position.

In 2007 and 2010, it snapped up Serono and Millipore after selling its non-core logistics and generics units.

In May this year, it acquired AZ Electronic Materials, a specialty chemicals company that supplies materials for flat panel displays and integrated circuits.

“We are not restricted to organic growth, and we are willing to go into this entrepreneur activity to use M&As for our business,” Reckmann said.

The merger, according to the executive, reflects the company’s growing needs to strengthen biotechnology and to expand toward life sciences.

Merck is a leading company in the sectors of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, employing around 39,000 employees in 66 countries. It consists of Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore.

The group’s revenues in the second quarter of this year stood at $3.8 billion (2,863 million euros).

By Kim Ji-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent 

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