Annual report 2014

Diversified business models

Haniel’s divisions – the 100-per cent holdings CWS-boco and ELG, the majority shareholding TAKKT (50.25%) as well as Metro minority interest (30.01%) – act independently of one another in their respective markets. The business models differ significantly from one another:

CWS-boco offers end-to-end solutions in the fields of washroom hygiene, dust control mats, workwear and textile solutions. The division is one of the international leaders in this field with activities in 18 European countries as well as China.

CWS-boco focuses on the rental business. The offerings range from customised collections of employee clothing, to protective and safety clothing as well as modern hygiene products such as towel, soap and fragrance dispensers. The textiles are properly prepared in the division’s own laundries and the dispensers are regularly serviced, both under long-term service contracts. The rental business is supplemented by the sale of consumables such as soap, disinfectants and paper as well as washroom hygiene products and workwear. In recent years, CWS-boco has also expanded its offering in the cleanroom business. The company offers customers in this segment professional preparation of cleanroom apparel, while satisfying the highest certification standards, particularly with respect to the absence of particulates. CWS-boco’s customers – companies of various sizes and industries – benefit from a comprehensive service network as well as sustainable products and processes.

Since the Focus Future repositioning project was initiated in 2010, CWS-boco has seen a significant increase in customer satisfaction as well as significant cost savings. In future, the sales initiative launched in 2014 will shift to a strategic focus – in the wake of which the number of sales staff will first be increased significantly. To that end new employees will be prepared for their sales work in the Sales Excellence programme in theoretical and practical training units. The division expects significant growth momentum from these measures. And beyond that, CWS-boco achieves additional growth potential by taking over local companies that supplement the existing service network. The specialist for washroom hygiene products and textile solutions also plans to introduce a new IT system during the course of a multi-year project.

The ELG division is the global leader in the trading and recycling of commodities, in particular for the stainless steel industry. With more than 40 locations in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa, the division has one of the industry’s largest global networks. The product line essentially comprises stainless steel scrap and superalloys. Superalloys are high-alloy, nickel-containing scrap and titanium scrap. ELG’s customers, primarily global stainless steel producers and companies from the aviation industry, receive the material in exactly the composition that they need for further processing – just in time and pursuant to the highest quality standards. Scrap recycling companies in the superalloys business are also certified by their customers in order to ensure high product quality.

In order to be able to meet customer requirements in the future as well, the company is continually increasing its international presence. For example, additional procurement sources for stainless steel scrap and superalloys are developed, and new customers are gained in growth markets. Accordingly, in the previous year ELG used acquisitions to further expand the superalloys business, thus laying the foundation for additional growth.

In addition to trading in stainless steel scrap and superalloys, ELG is active in the nascent business of recycling carbon fibres.

The TAKKT division is a B2B direct marketing specialist for business equipment with a comprehensive service offering and business activities primarily in Europe and North America. The product range comprises operating and warehouse equipment, office furniture and accessories, transport packaging, display products as well as equipment for the retail sales and the restaurant and hotel markets. The offerings of hundreds of suppliers are bundled and clearly presented.

In its sales approach TAKKT follows a multi-brand strategy that comprises multi-channel and web-focused brands. Multi-channel brands combine the classic catalogue business, which is aimed more at medium-sized and larger companies, with an online offering, telephone sales and field representatives in an integrated approach. TAKKT’s web-focused brands are concentrated on customers who cannot be reached efficiently using the traditional catalogue business and the related online offerings. When a customer has ordered the desired product via one of these channels, TAKKT offers its customers fast delivery using sophisticated logistics systems that are individually tailored to the target countries.

TAKKT intends to increase its profitability by several paths. This includes extending e-commerce, which encompasses the further development of web-focused brands, as well as the expansion of multi-channel activities. TAKKT strives for a balanced combination of the catalogue business, e-commerce activities and direct sales using telephone sales and field representatives. Additional initiatives include the continual expansion of the product line and increased use of private labels in the product line. In addition, the portfolio company is fostering the international expansion of existing successful business models and acquiring promising companies to supplement previous business activities.

Another division of the Haniel Group, the METRO GROUP is among the most important international retail groups. The METRO GROUP includes the four autonomous sales lines: METRO Cash & Carry, Media-Saturn, Real and Galeria Kaufhof. METRO Cash & Carry is in the self-service wholesale business and focuses on commercial customers, in particular hotels, restaurants and catering companies. The electronics retailer Media-Saturn sells household devices and consumer electronics under the Media-Markt and Saturn brands. Real offers an extensive and wide-ranging product line in the self-service hypermarkets business. Galeria Kaufhof is a leading operator of department stores. The METRO GROUP’s sales lines distribute their products and services in sales outlets and online to customers in 30 countries across Europe and Asia.

The METRO GROUP’s strategic objective is to create added value for the customer. In order to achieve this objective the METRO GROUP intends to orient its business even more strongly on the needs of the customer and to promote innovation. In addition, profitable growth will be pursued in all sales lines and expansion will be driven forward selectively. To take into account changing buying habits among customers, Metro Cash & Carry’s delivery service and multi-channel sales function are being further expanded. As part of their multi-channel activities, the sales lines are increasingly dovetailing their retail business with online sales. At Media-Saturn and Galeria Kaufhof, customers can have the merchandise they order online shipped to them, but they can also pick it up at the nearest location or use services there.