The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg not only has Germany’s largest seaport but is also the metropolis par excellence in the north of our country. It functions as a trade, transport and service centre and is one of the most important German industrial locations. These three hidden champions are also based here: The presented companies belong to the largest companies in Hamburg.
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1. Muehlhan AG: 260 million euros in sales
Johannes Cornelius Amadeus Marckmann founded a company for steam boiler cleaning in Hamburg in 1881. It was taken over by Georg Heinrich Mühlhan in 1911. The latter further developed the business model in the direction of ship cleaning, insulation work and trading in ship supplies, thus laying the foundation for today’s Muehlhan activities. The Group offers surface protection for industrial facilities, scaffolding for various purposes – including shipbuilding – steel structures, passive fire protection solutions and special access technology. Muehlhan AG is the Group’s holding company. Muehlhan’s shares have been listed on the stock exchange since 2006. The company employs nearly 3,000 people.
2. Helm AG: EUR 4.1 billion in sales
Hamburg-based Helm AG is one of the 30 largest family-owned companies in Germany. It all began in 1900 with the founding of Karl O. Helm as an import and export trading company. This became a chemical trading company in the course of a takeover in 1950. Today Helm AG is still mainly active in trading – apart from chemicals with pesticides, pharmaceutical products and fertilizers. The main sales market, accounting for over 50 percent of sales, is Europe, followed by America (approx. 30 percent) and Asia (approx. 17 percent). The Helm Group has about 100 branches or subsidiaries in around 30 countries and employs about 1,600 people.
3. Gebr. Heinemann SE & Co. KG: 3.6 billion euros turnover
The history of Gebr. Heinemann SE & Co. KG is closely linked to Hamburg’s free port tradition, which came to an end in 2013. The company started in 1879 with duty- and tax-exempt wholesale trade in tobacco products and spirits. Its preferred customers were shipping companies and ship chandlers. In a modified form, the company has remained true to this business model. Today, Gebr. Heinemann operates as a wholesaler and retailer in the duty-free sector. It operates around 340 duty-free shops at airports, as well as further “duty-free” shops on cruise and ferry ships and at border crossings. In total, it has around 600 shops and sells in around 100 countries. The company has almost 10,000 employees.
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