Haniel – the family-owned diversified German group – has announced a new strategy that is to focus on trading and services. The group is currently active across a wide range of industries from Europe's leading drugs wholesaler to the recycling of raw materials for the steel industry. However, the group's production sector looks set to be jettisoned.
"This strategy represents a new challenge," said Franz M Haniel (pictured), family member and chairman of the supervisory board. "There have been many phases of change in Haniel's history, out of which we have always emerged stronger and even more successful. Now we will again break new ground."
In the company's annual report, published today, Dr Eckhard Cordes, chairman of the Haniel managing board, explains that the realignment is so that growth rates "significantly above" market level can be achieved.
Senior management are currently discussing the best way to keep this realignment in line with the diversification of the group, but it seems clear that for this to happen, the production businesses are now surplus to requirements.
"We are now considering whether to retain Xella, the building materials producer," said Cordes. "This does not mean we question the viability of the company. However, in view of our strategic course, Xella should be given the opportunity to expand its present success elsewhere."
To read more of Franz M Haniel's comments on leading one of Europe's largest, privately owned family businesses, click here.