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  • Values

    What sets us apart

    Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH has been successful for 260 years and is owned by the Haniel family. Started in 1756 as a Ruhrort colonial goods dealer, we developed into the leading mining company in the Ruhr area in the 19th century and today manage a diversified portfolio from our Duisburg location. The prerequisite for this success was and is a high degree of creative will and willingness to change. Despite all this dynamism, firmly anchored principles ensure that we remain in balance: the Haniel values.

    “Enhancing value – living out values. That is our motto. We are committed to this at all corporate levels.”

    Stephan Gemkow, CEO

    We think in generations

    Our history as a family-owned company that has been successful for centuries shapes our long-term thoughts and actions.

    The example of virtues such as solidarity and cohesion set by the owner family has been with us right through to the present day. We not only respect the achievements of previous generations but also assume responsibility for those to come.

    Example: Pioneer Aletta Haniel

    • At the end of the 18th century, takes over the Duisburg haulage and trading company founded by her husband, Jacob Wilhelm Haniel.
    • Secures the continued economic existence of the family through bold entrepreneurial decisions.
    • Ensures the good education of her sons.
    • Displays assertiveness and diplomatic skill, for instance when she writes a letter to the Prussian king to secure warehouse space on the banks of the Ruhr.

    We create value

    Our sustained value-enhancing corporate management ensures our economic success – which both obliges and enables us to create social value.

    It is our common goal to increase the value of the Group – through value-oriented management, the active shaping of our Portfolios and concentrating on global growth markets. Here, long-term business success always takes precedence over short-term profit.

    Our aim is to achieve leading positions in the relevant markets. In order to enhance the value of our portfolio, we regularly review investment opportunities. If an acquisition project proves to be strategically constructive and financially rewarding then we implement it diligently. We professionalise and internationalise new business models with the expertise of the Holding Company. Constant value enhancement of the portfolio also means forgoing business in which we see no development opportunities for the Haniel Group. In this process, we ensure a responsible transition by taking the time to find a new owner offering growth perspectives. We thereby act in a responsible manner.

    The corporate management at Haniel aims to enhance the corporate value and ensure attractive returns for the growing Haniel family in the long term. This in turn leaves a long-term average of 75% of the annual profits in the company – thereby laying a solid foundation for value maintenance and enhancement. Our high equity interest forms the basis of our financial stability. Access to the capital market should ensure us a good rating in the long term and hence the necessary room for manoeuvre for corporate decisions.

    Example: Little gems

    In 1985, Haniel acquires the office furniture mail order company KAISER + KRAFT in Stuttgart via the pharmaceutical wholesaler GEHE AG. The business is expanded systematically. In 1999, KAISER + KRAFT is split off from GEHE. The new TAKKT division is created that simultaneously goes public. The international rollout is pursued further. In 2000, TAKKT enters the US market. Today, the company operates in more than 25 countries and is the market leader in Europe and North America.

    We assume responsibility

    We consider it our duty to bring economic, environmental and social objectives into harmony.

    We feel a strong sense of obligation towards the society in which we live and work. We therefore take public welfare into account in all our corporate decisions. The challenge is to maintain a balance between social, environmental and economic goals: ?people, planet, profit“. We also require this from our divisions and holdings as well as our business partners and service providers.

    In the countries in which we are active, we engage in fair competition and respect laws, traditions and social values. We contribute towards environmental protection and treat natural resources responsibly. We also support social issues – and encourage our staff to do so by supporting their commitment. As corporate citizens we are committed to the further development of the location where we operate. This includes speeding up open dialogue – such as among representatives from science, politics and culture – in order to bring about positive changes for society as a whole.

    We make responsible use of our capital. When making investments, we ensure that these correspond with the Haniel values. In addition, planned returns must be based on realistic assumptions and in line with the business risk. We do not engage in speculative transactions.

    Example: Fair business partner

    In 1938, Haniel takes over shares in the shipping and haulage company Rhenania from the Jewish brothers Hermann and Jakob Hecht, who have been instructed to sell their shares to an “Aryan company”. They select Haniel from numerous interested parties because they have known and valued each other for years. In a letter to Haniel, the Hechts confirm “that you did not attempt to exploit […] our unfavourable and unfortunate situation in terms of the price.”

    We act in an entrepreneurial manner

    We stand out at all corporate levels by acting in a forward-looking manner with a pronounced desire to create.

    At Haniel, we act according to the principle that corporate interests come before those of individuals. For this reason, the family decided as long ago as the beginning of the 20th century to place corporate management in the hands of managers from outside the company. This enables corporate decisions to be taken independently of internal relationships, thereby making Haniel a pioneer of modern corporate management.

    To ensure that corporate activities are possible at all levels of the Haniel Group, there is a clear specification of responsibility, with the Holding Company supporting the sustained value enhancement of the Group. This takes place through management, coordination, consulting and monitoring. We thereby define the scope of action for the divisions and holdings, which act freely and independently of each other. Our critical distance from the business activities enables us to review the corporate alignment on an ongoing basis and concentrate on the industries and markets in which we see potential for the future. In doing so, we ensure that our Portfolio remains diversified. Individual events or trends should not exert a simultaneous impact on all business activities. This broad positioning means that we are better able to diversify risks and cushion economic influences.

    Every employee at Haniel is required to act with corporate concerns in mind – irrespective of his or her position. This entails the opportunity and obligation to contribute his or her own thoughts and offer constructive criticism. It is equally important to initiate projects confidently and contribute to their implementation. We are convinced that if everyone in the company sees themselves as members of a corporate family, this will result in well-thought-out and responsible decisions at all levels – and hence our joint success.

    Example: Growth needs targets

    In 2010, Haniel introduces a new remuneration system. Bonuses are based on the extent to which the Group and employees achieve their targets. Employees derive their targets from the overriding company objectives. They receive as much room for manoeuvre as possible to achieve their goals independently. The variable part of the remuneration, and hence the bonus to be achieved, increases depending on an employee’s ability to contribute to the success of the company in his or her respective position.

    We shape change

    We see change as an opportunity for sustained growth – but instead of allowing ourselves to be led by events, we actively shape markets. Constant change has always been the basis of our success.

    We therefore are undergoing an ongoing improvement and learning process. We support this with effective knowledge management by creating platforms for dialogue among the managers and staff of the Holding Company, the divisions and the holdings. This gives rise to networks transcending divisional boundaries and ensures that expertise is shared and increased within the Haniel Group. In this way, we promote the emergence of innovative strategies, processes and conduct.

    Our managers and staff think in a future-orientated manner, are open to new things and identify developments and trends at an early stage. We invest in the growth and business sectors of the future, embark on new paths with confidence and, if necessary, take more unconventional approaches. Following detailed discussions with all concerned, we implement solutions quickly, systematically and with perseverance. In doing so, we adjust our processes and structures flexibly to changing conditions.

    We do not see innovation as an end in itself: change is always guided by our long-term corporate goals. We therefore constantly reflect on the consequences of our decisions and weigh up the benefits of innovation against the cost – including the social cost – before bravely venturing into new territory.

    Example: The road to China

    Haniel makes use of the opportunities offered by the Chinese growth market:

    • Since 2001, ELG has had a presence in the metropolis of Shanghai
    • TAKKT begins operations in Shanghai in 2005
    • CWS-boco opens its first high-tech laundry in 2008.

    Beforehand, everyone involved focuses on aspects specific to the country in question and aligns their strategies accordingly.

    We support our staff

    To enable our staff to contribute their creativity and skills to corporate success in the best possible manner, we both challenge and encourage them by means of trusting dialogue.

    It is people who advance our company – through their motivation, creativity and expertise. To enable them to contribute their abilities as effectively as possible for the benefit of the company, we give them a lot of room for manoeuvre and create a working environment that enables individual performance and team work to develop optimally. We provide each other with mutual support and maintain open, trustful dialogue. This includes acknowledging the good performance of others. We see mistakes as opportunities to learn and admit to them openly. We resolve conflicts internally and in a professional manner. We also integrate all parties involved in work and decision-making processes at an early stage – including across hierarchical levels. This helps us motivate our staff to achieve first-class performance, which we reward appropriately.

    We draw up the requirements for our employees in a clear and consistent manner and support them in exploiting their potential. This includes making suitable development and further training offers and improving these on a continuous basis. We also help our staff to achieve the optimum work/life balance .

    We value and promote the wide range of perspectives, talents and experience in the company and see it as a constant source of new impetus. We fight discrimination vehemently: every one of our employees has equal opportunities irrespective of ethnic background and culture, skin colour, gender, age, marital status, any disabilities, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or social background.

    Example: Glasshouse for free thinking

    In 1991, the Haniel Academy, the company’s own training and management centre, is founded. Today, the Academy helps employees and managers from the entire Group to prepare for future challenges. The Academy also serves as a place of dialogue – such as during the annual Haniel Leadership Lab. In 2009, the Academy revamped its development programme for managers and adapted it to the needs of the Group with the three-stage Haniel Leadership Curriculum.

    Ownership entails obligations

    Historically, the Haniel values are rooted in Christian ethics – they were translated into secular terms on the principle of the “honourable businessman”. This is based on the firm conviction that with ownership comes responsibility and an obligation to serve the people. The challenge and objective for the honourable businessman is therefore to deploy his talents not just for his own benefit but also for that of the company and everyone associated with it. This calls for virtues on the part of the honourable businessman such as foresight, diligence, discipline and modesty. As he also assumes personal responsibility for his actions, he is seen as reliable and truthful – which makes him a trustworthy business partner.

    Lasting role model

    Franz Haniel (1779-1868), grandson of the company founder, embodied the honourable businessman as a lasting role model. He invested with foresight in promising business fields and was able to combine a sense of business with a sense of community. In the same spirit, we consider ourselves committed to virtues such as responsibility, solidarity and respect. These apply irrespective of the period of time in question or the business field and make a decisive contribution to the sustained success of our company. They require each employee to make the Haniel values the compass of his or her actions – with management assuming a special role model function. This fosters a thriving corporate culture.