Stephan Gemkow

Chairman of the Management Board

The issue of succession remains unclear for around 100,000 family businesses in Germany in 2019. Haniel could be a good new owner for some of these companies. We want to understand: how do young family-owned companies see Haniel? What is important to them? And how do they see the future? Changing one’s perspective is important, which is why I was pleased to meet with Sarna Röser, National Chairperson of The Young Entrepreneurs. Exchanges at Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex also offer a change in perspective. Schacht One is the focal point for innovation and digital transformation in the Group. I am pleased to see the energy with which all involved are driving forward digitalisation and new business models.

Our goal is to establish a portfolio of companies that likewise create value for the coming generations. The diversity of our networks, which we are in the process of shaping – through our shareholders and our equity investments, but also our contacts in the venture-capital scene –, is very helpful. Portfolio development also means: “Better is the enemy of good”. Coming in at more than EUR 800 million, the integration of Initial’s activities at CWS-boco represented one of the largest investments in recent years. The team, led by Thomas Schmidt, has successfully bolstered CWS-boco’s position as an internationally leading provider of services for hygiene solutions and workwear offerings. As investors in the field of mechanical engineering, we stepped into uncharted territory with our investments in ROVEMA and Optimar. Continue reading to find out what we are looking for, how we find it, and what distinguishes us as an investor.

This publication shows you what networks we are building and how the entire Group is benefiting from them. We learn constantly from one another – and that is how it must be!

Stephan Gemkow

Chairman of the Management Board




As a family-equity company, Haniel is building a portfolio with market leading companies. The rule is: We combine the professionalism of a private equity investor with the understanding of values of a family business.

Haniel has set a goal of increasing the portfolio to up to ten equity investments. Only those investments that fit with the Company and its values are considered. An investment filter serves to assess the potential business models as to the extent to which they make a contribution to the diversification of the Haniel portfolio, are sustainable and viable for the future, and generate a reasonable value contribution. Our goal is to find companies that can develop into market leaders with our help.

We support the growth of our portfolio companies. There is no blueprint for this; rather, we find an individual path for each division. We analyse precisely the current stage of the company’s growth and identify the core strategic themes. For example, portfolio companies on a dynamic growth path receive support through investment capital and know-how in financing, corporate governance, or HR. We can also offer mature companies targeted added value such as with respect to the digital transformation.




As a family-equity company Haniel is building a portfolio with market-leading companies. The rule is: We combine the professionalism of a private equity investor with the understanding of the values of a family business. (Date of publication: 31 December 2018)





BekaertDeslee is a globally leading specialist for the development and manufacturing of woven and knitted mattress textiles and ready-made mattress covers.





CWS-boco is one of the leading international service providers of hygiene and workwear solutions.





ELG is a global leader in the trading, processing and recycling of raw materials for the stainless steel industry as well as high performance materials such as superalloys, titanium and carbon fibres.





Optimar is a global leader for automated fish handling systems for use on ships, on land and in aquacultures.





ROVEMA is a global leader in the manufacturing of packaging machines and equipment for a wide variety of products and applications.





TAKKT bundles a portfolio of B2B direct marketing specialists for business equipment in Europe and North America in a single company.





CECONOMY is Europe’s leading platform for companies, concepts and brands in the sector of consumer electronics.





METRO is one of the leading international companies in the wholesale and food service sector.

Building networks

Sarna Röser and
Stephan Gemkow

exchange Views

Sarna Röser is the designated successor of a family business led by the third generation, and a start-up founder. As national chairperson of the “The Young Entrepreneurs” association, she represents the interests of young business leaders and successors in Germany. She knows what this is all about. A Position Matching.

On the family background in companies

Sarna Röser: The interaction within the family has changed: For the most part it used to be that there was a patriarch at the top, with women playing a subordinate role. Things have changed now: Fathers now trust their daughters to take over family businesses. The line of succession is becoming increasingly female. What’s more, many hierarchies have become flatter: There is a more open and transparent dialogue within the family, as well as with the employees. That gives successors like me a 360-degree view of the company, which from my perspective makes doing business so much more efficient than the traditional top-down method.

Stephan Gemkow: Family businesses enjoy very high esteem in Germany and are responsible for a major share of the economic added value. This also applies in particular to Haniel. Founded in 1756, Haniel has a long history – the DNA for how we do business today. Ultimately, the family background is also expressed in the fact that we see ourselves as a family-equity company. In other words we bring together the professionalism of a private equity company with the sustainability, long-term thinking, and value system of a family business.

entrepreneur Sarna Röser

Sarna Röser is an entrepreneur and national chairperson of the business association DIE JUNGE UNTERNEHMER (The Young Entrepreneurs).
She is the designated successor at her family business, Karl Röser & Sohn GmbH, a cement pipe and concrete factory in Mundelsheim founded in 1923, and is member of the Managing Board of Röser FAM GmbH &  Co. KG, a company belonging to the family network. She is also the founder of start-up Beamcoo, a digital corporate platform for instant peer-to-peer exchange of expertise, as well as an initiator of healthcare innovations.

About Tradition and Future

Sarna Röser: These days it is no longer enough to just focus on the product or service. Family businesses need a broad vision for their own industry because digitalisation and globalisation are changing the environment at a rapid pace. That is exactly why the dialogue between the generations is vitally important. Younger people can learn from an enormous wealth of experience and knowledge. And the older generation can learn how digitalisation works. That being the case, I advise young people from my generation to talk to the older generation, exchange ideas and learn from one another!

Stephan Gemkow: Because we think very long term, it is important for us to invest in business models underpinned by megatrends. These are the only models that ensure we have the opportunity to develop them successfully over many years. In order to keep the risk as low as possible, we look for a portfolio of up to ten companies that operate in different cycles, sectors, and regions. We want to use diverse means – be it through management training, digitalisation, or access to the capital market – to turn these companies into competitors to rival even significantly larger companies in their respective segments.

About values and tradition

Sarna Röser: Values are the heartbeat of a family business. From my perspective, it is particularly important to properly appreciate tried and tested methods. We also need the courage to plunge into the deep end now and again. Family businesses must assume responsibility and have an eye on the social environment. These values are incredibly important for us as a family business.

Stephan Gemkow: Haniel’s objective is to be “enkelfähig”. That means maintaining and building on values, not for the next generation but for the generation after that. And from that starting point, we need to pay particular attention to the long-term outlook with which we operate. From the beginning, Haniel’s hallmark has been the definition of the honourable businessman. For Haniel, that means honesty, authenticity, and entrepreneurial as well as social responsibility.

Sarna Röser: My vision and wish for the future is that we master the challenge of corporate succession in Germany. To do that, we need a digital infrastructure. We require modern education and well-trained specialists for our companies. And bureaucracy must be reduced in Germany to streamline the process of founding a business that can turn visions into reality.

Stephan Gemkow: Haniel should be “enkelfähig”, in other words financially stable, successful and growing over the long term. That includes a healthy and secure position in relation to the different business segments. But it also means that we use the opportunities presented by digitalisation and modern technology. We must also continue to invest in educating and training our employees. Because only top people will continue to secure the Company’s success in the future.

Successors urgently sought for companies!

A current study by the KfW development bank group shows that by the end of 2019 alone, around 236,000 owners of small and medium-size enterprises (SME) plan to relinquish control of their companies. For around 100,000 of these companies it is still unclear who will succeed them – for a wide variety of reasons.

Read the study of KfW Bankengruppe ▸

Investment strategy

What we are looking for

and how we find it

Haniel has EUR 1.4 billion for the further expansion of the portfolio. Clear criteria determine which companies are considered for selection: The contribution to further diversification of the portfolio plays just as much a role as does future capability and an orientation towards sustainability. Ulrich Dickel, member of executive management and responsible for corporate development, explains which companies Haniel is on the lookout for, what the path to a new investment looks like, and what role family background plays at Haniel as well as at potential acquisition targets. Clarity about investment criteria such as growth prospects is essential to this process.

Ulrich Dickel

Member of the Executive Board, Corporate Development

As investors, we are something special: we seek to promote long-term development and added value by making targeted offers for our equity investments – from financing expertise in M&A, through our own digital unit Schacht One all the way to Haniel Academy for continuing education. This development perspective is attractive, especially for family owners who want to know their life’s work is in good hands. It is important to us that a clear majority shareholding is possible – either immediately or over the horizon.“

Successful integration

A Mammoth project


In addition to its day-to-day operations, since 2017 CWS-boco has focused on integrating the activities acquired from Rentokil Initial. In 2018, Haniel’s largest division successfully drove forward the consolidation and reached important milestones. This included the reorganisation into two divisions: Hygiene Solutions offering washroom hygiene solutions and dust control mats, and Textile Solutions with a service portfolio covering workwear, protective clothing and cleanroom products. What exactly has changed, how the employees received the mammoth Initial integration project, and how it continues in 2019:

Adriana Nuneva

Chief Digital Officer,

I have been with CWS-boco since December 2018 and thus did not personally experience the first milestones of Initial’s integration process. But what I see from my still relatively external perspective is a strengthened company with a lot of potential to focus on implementing the coming digital transformation. Not as an end unto itself, but in order to accelerate and strengthen CWS-boco’s profitable growth. I see us as supporters and drivers of the Hygiene and Textile Solutions divisions. To do that, we will work closely with Schacht One.

My goal is to develop additional independent digital competencies within the organisation that are more closely aligned with CWS- boco’s business model.

With such a modernised infrastructure and expanded skillset, CWS-boco can focus more closely on its objective of remaining a leading provider of sustainable, innovative and digital service offerings for customers in the hygiene, workwear and facilities management areas going forward.

Digital partnerships and learning from start-ups form part of the CWS-boco strategy. One example of this is its strategic investment in the digital laundry “Jonny Fresh”.

Al Ghelani

Head of Continuous Improvement

In our team, we are responsible for setting quality, environmental, safety and health standards across the business. We aim to develop an operating system based on a foundation of continuous improvement and then deploy this across the entire organisation. The system, which we call the “CWS Operating Way”, is a collection of performance-based processes and philosophies which puts customers and people in focus. Our first priority in 2018 was to establish a set of Key Performance Indicators focused on the health of our business and covering six key areas: Safety, Customer Experience, Employee Experience, Growth, Cost and Cash flow.

Aside from that, we have also established a standard problem-solving method focused on identifying root causes and corrective actions for KPIs if we miss our monthly targets. I am pleased to say we have also established a small team that consists of senior, very experienced Continuous Improvement professionals. We have also worked with other functions to develop a Leadership Training programme that covers Strategy, Execution and Talent. The first 40 participants have already completed this programme and we plan to take another 500 through this in 2019, establishing a common business language and focus on the entire company. Continuous Improvement has contributed significantly to the launch of our customer net promoter score survey, a signal of our new culture: demand active feedback, align processes with the customer, act transparently and actively.

I believe in Continuous Improvement. I have experienced its impact on a company’s culture and performance. If we really adopt this, it won’t be the function but the processes, focus and leadership that will contribute to the continued success of our business.

Daily Performance Management: Team meeting at the laundry in Amstetten

I have been responsible for three areas in the Textile Solutions division since June 2018: Trade Sales, Health Care and Cleanrooms. In the latter area, I already have a lot of experience as a former founder of a cleanroom laundry. It is all the more fitting that CWS-boco is focusing strategically on cleanrooms. It is a niche market, but it is growing annually by 3 to 4 per cent. That is a wave that we want to and have to ride with. In 2018, we grew in this segment through the integration of Initial and integrated two cleanroom locations in Ireland and Belgium.

The corporate cultures of CWS and Initial are an outstanding fit in the textile segment. A lot of energy was felt during the integration.

The employees have an earnest desire to help shape new processes and strategies and to be a part of them. For us, 2019 will be about putting the basic principles that were developed largely into operation and becoming the leading provider of full-service solutions in the cleanroom segment. We have the expertise, but still have to expand our capacities. That is why we are planning additional branches in Germany, for example, and expanding the consulting segment in order to bring us even closer to customers.

The strictest standards for highly sensitive cleanrooms

Markus Schad

Lead Business Development Textile Care, Textile Solutions CWS-boco

Johannes Winterhager

Managing Director Complete Washroom Concepts, Hygiene Solutions CWS-boco

2018 was characterised by comprehensive strategy work. The breakdown into two divisions allowed us to focus more closely on relevant topics. This enabled us to quickly reach our first milestones:

We opened our “Hygiene Experience Lab” as part of the Haniel Leadership Lab. Behind it is a fully networked washroom, almost a toilet of the future.

When developing our holistic washroom concepts, the focus was on one significant topic: the greatest possible hygiene. CWS-boco no longer regards itself as a rental service for individual pieces of equipment such as hand towel dispensers; we have set our goal as making hygiene tangible. Our Hygiene Experience modules are a reaction to society’s increasing awareness of hygiene – a megatrend that our business model confirms. An additional trend is, of course, digitalisation. That does not stop at the washroom door.
CWS is digitalising the process of handwashing: The innovative water tap in the Hygiene Experience Lab measures key figures such as the handwashing rate of toilet visitors.

Successful integration

Highest Standards

for more health!

The Haniel Academy has had the “washroom of the future” since September 2018. Behind it is a holistic concept for a washroom with the highest hygiene standards. The goal? A contribution to better health. The “Hygiene Experience Lab” is a networked test environment that CWS-boco uses to test and further improve new technologies in current operation.

  • The display gives you information about available toilets and what their cleaning status is. It also provides information on soap levels and the availability of toilet paper and hand towels.

recent acquisitions

Bespoke approaches

for mechanical engineering

Optimar and ROVEMA were added to the portfolio at the end of 2017. Haniel’s most recent acquisitions are similar in fundamental ways: both manufacture machinery and equipment, and both are substantially smaller than Haniel’s other divisions. ROVEMA’s and Optimar’s employees have accomplished a lot – below, they discuss their thoughts on the acquisition.


Pole position for ROVEMA, leading manufacturer of packaging machinery and equipment

ROVEMA is a global leader in the manufacturing of packaging machines and equipment for a wide variety of products and applications.

Nadja Richter

Marketing and Communications ROVEMA

Thanks to Haniel I now have many new colleagues in Marketing and Communications – this will be a great asset in my day-to-day work. As an SME with approximately 650 employees around the world, I could previously only dream of the many opportunities now offered to me through Haniel’s network.

Ralf Buch


The construction of our new hangar will provide us with not only more space to complete the final assembly of our machinery, but also a variety of manufacturing options in the area of materials flow. ROVEMA has experienced rapid and strong growth over many years and now its processes need to be reassessed and adapted. I am pleased to push forward with this development with Haniel at my side as an experienced partner so that we can make our company fit for the future over the long term.

Roland Kuhn

Vice President Sales ROVEMA

Our packaging machines have useful lives of up to 30 years. Our comprehensive service and replacement parts concept enable us to ensure optimum production efficiency and availability of machines over their entire useful lives. This long-term approach is a perfect fit with Haniel’s sustainable family equity approach. I am pleased to see our service concept continue to grow in the future – with a passion for our customers.


A world leader, used onboard, on land and in aquacultures – Optimar’s automated fish handling systems.

Optimar is a global leader for automated fish handling systems for use on ships, on land and in aquacultures.

Roy Uggedal

Union representative Optimar

Being a part of Haniel provides me with greater security if there were temporary downturns or financial problems in the company. In addition, in such cases, Optimar can more easily make expensive and necessary adjustments if we have support from Haniel. I also see the possibility that Haniel can help Optimar to develop further and perhaps to other business areas with the help of Haniel’s experience and contact network. I also see now that Haniel as owners supports changes and improvements that we have had a great need for in the departments in Norway that might not have been possible to such an extent without Haniel. There is great potential and a lot of expertise in Optimar which I believe will be better exploited with Haniel as owners.

Bjørnar Vik

R&D Design Manager Optimar

I expect 2019 to be as busy as we’re used to, with lots of exciting development both on the product side and for the business as a whole. Optimar has been growing quite massively over the previous years, but maybe now we get to take a look around us and work for consolidating the quality of this growth. I think this will help us ensure top-notch customer experiences and at the same time prove profitable. Based on my understanding of Haniel, I think they have similar goals, and that they have some plans and experience on how we can get there. They will work side by side with us to structure new methods and tools and they will see them through.

Vebjørn Erstad

Finance Manager Optimar

I believe that in Haniel we have an owner who is dedicated to building a strong company and organisation, ready for further expansion. There is certainly a lot of expertise within Haniel that we already benefit from in various areas, and that advantage will only grow stronger as we learn to know each other better.

Tore Valderhaug

Active Chairman Optimar

Haniel and Optimar share many of the same values: integrity, honesty, transparency and a good cooperation. And we both want to develop Optimar in the future. Find out more about the work of Tore Valderhaug, Chairman Optimar in the video interview!


Update on the

digital trans-

For three years now, Schacht One has been assisting the Haniel divisions in their digitalisation: small teams work closely with colleagues at the divisions to implement projects which are as varied as the divisions themselves. Some projects might not make it to launch, while others turn out to be very promising. Take for instance “büromöbelonline”, “Remetal” and “SKIN+”.

Optimar’s digital platform Commander

Digitaleinheit Schacht One at Zeche Zollverein

A British success story goes international


How long does it take to internationalise a digital business model? In just three months, a team comprising Equip4Work (TAKKT Group) and Schacht One managed to bring the British online office furniture retailer, OfficefurnitureOnline, to the German market under the new brand büromöbelonline. To take such a step in such a short amount of time requires interdisciplinary, cross-divisional collaboration. TAKKT supported the project alongside colleagues from newport, KAISER+KRAFT Europa, Certeo Business Equipment and Haniel, as well as external service providers. But why Germany as a potential target country? “The decision was made after considering many criteria and carrying out a competitor screening”, said Laszlo Juhasz, Digital Transformation Leader at Schacht One. “Particularly the strong purchasing power and high level of affinity for all things online argued for Germany. But also the prospects for rolling out the product in other countries from there proved compelling”, said Julian Nöll, Digital Project Manager at Schacht One. The webshop with roughly 1,100 products on offer is aimed at small and medium-sized companies, but also delivers to private customers.

Scrap recycling goes digital


What do you do with old pots and pans, saws, or the remains of your garden shed after the storm? In days gone by, one of those “scrappies” would come clattering down the road with a pickup truck piled high with all sorts. You didn’t get any money for your old steel but at least you could get rid of your pots quickly and without charge.

There are fewer and fewer mobile scrap dealers in Germany since the introduction of a new law in 2012. And rather than going to the trouble to take used metal to the next recycling centre – and possibly even pay to be rid of it! – some people just put it in the household waste bin. This makes recycling very difficult, as well as expensive for consumers. ELG and Schacht One have come up with a better solution, with Remetal: This online platform for scrap metal recycling is aimed primarily at handymen, small enterprises and private households.

They can use the platform to arrange for their scrap metal to be picked up. Remetal’s colleagues weigh the scrap metal then and there and analyse its composition. This makes it possible for customers to be paid just the right price for their valuable raw materials and Remetal takes care of recycling them.

Thus, the company creates the highest level of transparency for the customer and makes the recycling process fair for all involved – not to mention sustainable for the environment.

Beauty Sleep 2.0


“Sleeping Beauty”: Together with its partners ProDigest, a spin-off from the University of Ghent, and Devan, an innovation leader in the textile industry, the BekaertDeslee division has developed a technology that makes this dream come true: SKIN+.

The secret is probiotics, which produce carotenoids. These are usually found in certain types of fruit and vegetables and are otherwise known to help human skin regenerate and heal damage caused by ageing. BekaertDeslee has now developed a new technology that produces carotenoids inside textiles: SKIN+. First, the probiotics are washed into pillowcases. They are activated by coming into contact with the skin, when they begin to produce carotenoids. Once they have become active, carotenoids help to slow skin ageing. They also improve complexion and skin tone. BekaertDeslee has teamed up with Schacht One to bring SKIN+ to the market. “In order to make a product a success, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your market and target group, as well as the ability to iterate the product quickly and market it via the right channels”, explained Malte Mertes, Digital Project Manager at Schacht One. “We are pleased to lend our expertise to our colleagues at BekaertDeslee.” The response from several market tests has been highly positive.

For instance, the product has made it to the final stage of the Douglas #Forwardbeautychallenge, a competition in which the retailer rewards promising ideas in the cosmetics industry. The company plans to work with Douglas to market the premium pillowcases in 2019.

Networks & Networking