Germany’s three biggest export companies are iconic automobile manufacturers. A trio of mammoth German firms competing in the diversified chemicals industry also rank among Deutschland’s top 10 product exporters.
From a global trade perspective, the overall value of Germany’s exports increased in value by 12.3% from US$1.324 trillion in 2015 to $1.486 trillion during 2019. From 2018 to 2019, Germany’s exported goods depreciated by -4.5%.
In the analysis below, we compare 10 of Germany’s top exports-dependent companies based on asset values, sales and profitability as of December 2019. Also specified is the German city where each business has its headquarters.
Germany’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are Germany’s biggest exports-related companies organized by asset value. Shown within parentheses is the primary industry in which each company operates. Also shown is the change in asset value as of December 2019 compared to one year earlier.
- Volkswagen Group (car/truck maker): US$538.9 billion, up 1.4% from 2018
- Daimler (car/truck maker): $326.6 billion, up 1.1%
- BMW Group (car/truck maker): $271.3 billion, up 12.4%
- Siemens (industrial conglomerate): $171 billion, up 4.7%
- Bayer (diversified chemicals): $137.7 billion, up 48.5%
- BASF (diversified chemicals): $101.3 billion, up 2.4%
- Linde (diversified chemicals): $86.6 billion, up 112.3%
- Merck (pharmaceuticals): $84.4 billion, up 94.6%
- Fresenius (medical equipment, supplies): $75.2 billion, up 14.3%
- ThyssenKrupp Group (industrial conglomerate): $40.4 billion, down -0.7%
Nine of these German businesses grew their asset values from 2018 to 2019, led by diversified chemicals firm Linde via its 112.3% expansion. Asset growth was 94.9% for pharmaceuticals competitor Merck trailed by a 48.5% gain for diversified chemicals producer Bayer, a 14.3% improvement for medical equipment supplier Fresenius and a 12.4% increase for automotive industry BMW.
The lone decline in assets year over year belongs to industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Group via its -0.7% retreat.
Sales is the life blood for most businesses, and particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Seven of Germany’s largest export companies increased their year-over-year sales from 2018 to 2019.
- Volkswagen Group: US$275.2 billion, up 1.2% from 2018
- Daimler: $189.2 billion, down -2.1%
- BMW Group: $116.6 billion, up 1.9%
- Siemens: $97.4 billion, up 3.1%
- BASF: $66.5 billion, down -11.5%
- Bayer: $49.9 billion, up 12.4%
- Merck: $47.9 billion, up 176.2%
- ThyssenKrupp Group: $44.7 billion, down -9.9%
- Fresenius: $39.6 billion, up 0.8%
- Linde: $28.2 billion, up 43.9%
Pharmaceuticals leader Merck recorded the most robust increase in sales from 2018 to 2019, up 176.2%. In second place was diversified chemicals provider Linde via its 43.9% increase, trailed by another diversified chemicals firm Bayer which posted a 12.4% improvement.
There were 3 decliners year over year: diversified chemicals competitor BASF (down -11.5%), industrial conglomerate (down -9.9%) and automobile maker Daimler (down -2.1%).
Three of Germany’s major export companies increased their profitability from 2018 to 2019.
- Volkswagen Group: US$12 billion, down -8.4% from 2018
- Merck: $10.1 billion, up 248.3%
- BASF: $8.8 billion, up 23.9%
- Siemens: $5.9 billion, down -16.9%
- BMW Group: $5.5 billion, down -46.1%
- Bayer: $4.8 billion, down -42.9%
- Linde: $2.3 billion, up 27.8%
- Fresenius: $2.1 billion, no change
- Daimler: $417.7 million, down -96.5%
- ThyssenKrupp Group: -$740.9 million, down -21.3%
The three major German companies posting increases are pharmaceuticals supplier (up 248.3%) and two diversified chemicals competitors Linde (up 27.8%) and BASF (up 23.9%).
Experiencing red ink in 2019 was industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Group, albeit a smaller loss than one year earlier.
Collectively, Germany’s top 10 major export companies have headquarters located in seven different cities.
- BASF: Ludwigshafen am Rhein
- Bayer: Leverkusen
- BMW Group: Munich
- Daimler: Stuttgart
- Fresenius: Bad Homburg
- Linde: Munich
- Merck: Darmstadt
- Siemens: Munich
- ThyssenKrupp Group: Essen
- Volkswagen Group: Wolfsburg
Note: Some of the above company offerings may include products other than the principal category shown within parenthesis under the Assets tab.
For example, Siemens is an industrial conglomerate that distributes systems for medical diagnosis, power generation and transmission including wind turbines.
Similarly, Merck manufactures pharmaceutical, medical and chemical products for applications such as consumer electronics, lighting, coatings, printing plastics and cosmetics.
See also Germany’s Top 10 Exports, Germany’s Top 10 Imports and Top German Trade Balances
Data.World Forbes Global 2000 2016 , Spreadsheet for 2016 Global 2000 rankings. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top German company compiled for this study: Volkswagen Group. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 27, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Wikipedia, Category: Companies of Germany. Accessed on August 27, 2020
Wikipedia, List of companies of Germany. Accessed on August 27, 2020