Leica 17th Best Mid-sized German Company

Over on the German site Die Welt is an article called "These are the best medium-sized company in Germany" (in German). While Leica didn't make the top ten - they did place at number 17. Of the six consumer goods companies listed, they also ranked at the top. We already knew, but the article confirms that the M Monochrom has far outstripped its initial sales forecast - and that it sells primarily to professional photographers and the medical industry. An interesting read.

Translated into English (via Google):

These are the best medium-sized company in Germany

Arri about Leica to KTG Agrar - from 3300 SMEs consultants have the 100 most successful determined. The winner comes from an industry with which no one would have expected.

Stephan Schenk and likes to go to the movies. At least every two weeks sitting of Industrial Engineering and front of the screen - albeit with a different view than his seat neighbors. Schenk respects, for example, the camera work in the movies, but mainly on image quality. The story he get of course with insured the manager. In good movies anyway.

If it bores the demonstration against Schenk quickly loses in search of image noise, blur and color variations. Because ultimately, it also could be responsible. Schenk is in fact one of the directors of the Munich family business Arri, short Arri, considered the world's leading manufacturer of camera systems for film and television.

That Schenk actually discovered quality defects in his cinema aisles, is extremely rare, according to the manager. And, although the change from analog to digital technology and thus to a whole new range just five years ago is. "This was a major effort," says Schenk, looking back. "But we were successful."

Some Arri camera systems cost more than 100,000 euros

At the last Academy Awards, for example, have films that were shot with the part about 100,000 euro expensive camera systems from Arri, cleared away several times, including in the major categories for Best Film and Best Cinematography. Still to this is the almost 100 year old tradition company from Munich's Schwabing now behind four out of five of the most successful US TV series such as "CSI" or "Game of Thrones". Klassiker der Filmgeschichte: die Arriflex 435 mit Star-Kameramann Michael Ballhaus Photo: picture alliance / dpa classic films: the Arriflex 435 Star cinematographer Michael Ballhaus

Little wonder, then, that Arri one of the 100 best medium-sized companies in Germany. At any rate, says the ranking "Top 100" by the consulting firm Munich Strategy Group (MSG) present the "world" exclusive. "The company is a premium supplier of competence and with a clear positioning and high value-added depth," says MSG CEO Sebastian Theopold.

For the past eight years, he analyzed the German middle class, which begins for him with a sales volume of 15 million euros and ends at around 400 million euros. Arri is with revenues of approximately 300 million euros last is clearly above the average of the winning companies. But this is at best a marginal criterion for inclusion in the list of the 100 best SMEs.

Three-class society in the German SME

The decisive factors are especially growth rates and rates of return - over a period of five years. "We ensure that only awarded to companies who have demonstrated excellence over a longer period of time," says Theopold.

And at the moment such excellence are not easy. "The economic weather situation currently poses some risks hardly to be calculated due to the many trouble spots around the world," says Theopold. Nor is there sufficient funding, but that could change very quickly. So he was worried about a majority of the domestic middle class. "For the Wackelkandidaten the next few years will be dangerous," says the expert.

He sees a three-class society in the German SME: At the bottom are the so-called low performers, so those very shaky candidates. These companies have neither growth nor Theopold According profitability and are therefore interchangeable. Include the middle represents the "compact" with solid established companies, but which regularly run out of air before the crucial growth hurdle.

KTG grows with soy, electricity and food

At the top are finally the "beacons". These are outstanding company with a leading market position, the hertreiben thanks to an entrenched culture of growth and innovation competition over and in many cases can even change the rules of a branch in their favor.

One of these companies is KTG Agrar. A "impressive business model" certified Theopold the still relatively young company from Hamburg. KTG produces both agricultural commodities such as corn, soy or rapeseed and renewable energy and food. In supermarkets, the company is currently represented with the three brands Frenzel, Organic Center and Farmers.

The value chain lies almost entirely in the company manual. Cultivation, harvesting, processing, distribution - all steps are done in-house and thus without depending on cooperatives, service providers and retail chains. "From field to plate, our vision," says CEO Siegfried Hofreiter.

Completed multi-million investment in farmland

And into the tank. 53 megawatts of energy produced KTG currently in. That's enough for 300,000 people. "We use it the remains of agricultural production, thus, for example, the leaves of the sugar beet or the straw of the corn plant," says Hofreiter.

In the top 100 ranking it has KTG Agrar managed to square one. Although sales of 2013 at just 165 million euros. The average growth rate from 2009 to 2013 but is 50.9 percent. And that has made no other of the companies studied. Similarly strong is 23.8 percent and the rate of return of Hamburg, who went in 2007 as the first agricultural production enterprises in Germany to go public.

By comparison, the average of the top 100 is 13.3 percent, and the German Mittelstand five percent are most common. That are still in the balance sheet liabilities of stately 325 million euros, Hofreiter justified by high initial investment in arable land and structures. "Meanwhile, the time investment but over, and we can benefit from economies of scale." By 2016 he wants to double sales again, then to 300 million euros.

Technology industry include engineering and construction

That it has done with KTG Agrar a food provider in the Top 100, is unusual. The meat producer Ponnath is only one other company in the highly competitive and usually low-margin industry succeeded. Dominated the rankings for MSG around 3,300 companies analyzed, as in the previous technology providers.

Only 33 technicians can be found in the ranking, even including three in the top four places. Behind the mechanical and plant engineering and construction follow, each with 23 companies. The runner-consumer and durable goods industry is only six nominations in the top 100th

One of the best companies in the consumer segment of the camera manufacturer Leica heard in 17th place of the ranking. And that is quite unusual. Finally, the iconic brand was a few years ago, shortly before the bankruptcy - because digitalization has taken too long and the capital was chronically weak. "For us, the past and long ago," CEO Alfred Schopf says now.

With the Leica M Monocron has "hit the zeitgeist"

Already in 2009 there was the initial impetus for the recent success story - with a number of new cameras, including a SLR, the full frame M9 and a little later the black-and-white camera M monochrome . Initially, there was still scolding from the industry. "For the idea of ​​the black-and-white camera have declared insane us a lot," said Schopf remembers. "Obviously we did hit the zeitgeist."

1500 Pieces Leica, which is now part of the Austrian investors Kaufmann family and the financial investor Blackstone had set a sales target. Meanwhile, however, are the sales figures of niche product already five-figure - although the M monochrome costs stately 6800 euro, without lens.

Buyers are primarily photographer. The Guild swears finally has always been to Leica devices . Among the customers but also includes hospitals. Because in America, for example, the M Monochrome, which can distinguish 512 shades of gray used for digitizing X-ray films.

Strategy pivotal to the mass market is out of the question

The unusual way fits the image of Leica. Worldwide, the cameras from Solms in central Hesse apply as a fine mechanical marvels of precision, processing and technical expertise. A strategic pivot towards mainstream like their Japanese competitors never came into question for Schopf therefore.

"We do not include any customers. However, our positioning limits brings with it," says Schopf. Of course, the company wants to sell more. "We want to but our typical values ​​to maintain, so a good appearance, good sensors, a small case and ease of use."

Sales of Leica has now stabilized at around 300 million euros, the profit rate is an average of ten per cent, calculated over the past five years. For consultants Theopold the company is now a successful example of success. "Leadership and ideas are crucial." And there is no grace birth. "It does not matter what the origin of the product and where the company is based."

Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are as locations ahead

At least in theory. In practice, namely regional differences are well recognized. So there is found to have a pronounced north-south and east-west divide. Only 48 companies - almost half of the top 100 - have their headquarters in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

From the northern states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, however, come only ten companies. And in the five eastern countries, it takes only six companies: two in Berlin, two and two in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt. Thuringia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg even go from completely empty in the distribution.