In May, Haniel successfully implemented an accelerated bookbuilding process and reduced its investment in METRO AG by 16.25 million shares from 30.01 per cent to 25.00 per cent. In addition, an exchangeable bond linked to Metro shares was placed. Haniel remains METRO AG’s largest shareholder. At the same time, the Company thus took an important step in improving the balance of its portfolio.

In June, Haniel acquired Bekaert Textiles from Gamma Holding. The multinational company has a production network in eight countries and is headquartered in Waregem, Belgium; it supplies fabrics for ten thousand mattresses every day – from New York to Sydney to Helsinki to Cape Town. Bekaert Textiles is the global leader for mattress cover materials, and generated more than EUR 200 million in revenue in 2014 and plays a key role in the diversification of Haniel’s portfolio.

The Group Conference in September tackled the issue of “Digital Transformation”. For two days, Haniel executives discussed the opportunities and challenges arising from the new technologies and changing consumer behaviour. But they did not just stick to the theoretical: all divisions presented concrete approaches to digitalising their business models.

In December, Haniel was recognised as a particularly family-friendly company by the Duisburg Family Alliance (Duisburger Bündnis für Familie). Flexible working hours, voluntary social benefits, collaboration with Familienservice, health benefits and family planning advice convinced the jury: “Haniel really offers everything which sets a modern employer apart.”