Do you know in which federal state the largest German companies are located?


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Lower Saxony has Volkswagen, Baden-Württemberg has Daimler – of course. But do you also know in which federal state the largest German companies (where none of the DAX giants) are located? 

Below is an overview of where the corporate headquarters of the largest German companies are located.

1. Lower Saxony

largest German companies

Volkswagen (2018 sales: 235.8 billion euros) is the largest German group and, of course, number one in its home country Lower Saxony. The state is a major shareholder, which always pays off in investments in the Lower Saxony locations.

2. Baden-Württemberg

largest German companies

Daimler (2018 sales: 167.4 billion euros) stands out in the southwest, but is not as alone as Volkswagen in Lower Saxony. The Schwarz trading group (Lidl) and the automotive supplier Bosch are also among the top ten in Germany. The software company SAP, in terms of market value, is at the forefront, with sales of 24.7 billion euros, on the other hand, only in 32nd place.


3. Bavaria

largest German companies

BMW completes the triad of car companies (2018 sales: 97.5 billion euros). Not far behind is Siemens with 83 billion euros. Seven Dax companies are located in the city and district of Munich alone, with Linde (under an Irish holding company) there are even eight.

4. North Rhine-Westphalia

largest German companies

The Essen power plant operator Uniper (2018 turnover: 78.2 billion euros) has pushed past Deutsche Telekom, which, like Deutsche Post, is still located in the old federal capital of Bonn. However, Uniper is only just barely regarded as an independent group headquarters: The Finnish state company Fortum owns 49.9 percent of the shares. Majority interests in other companies do not count towards our list. If you add up Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord, the discounter would be at the top of North Rhine-Westphalia with 83.9 billion euros.

5. Rhineland-Palatinate

largest German companies

The chemical giant BASF (2018 sales: 62.7 billion euros) clearly dominates – not only in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, but also in the entire state, which is otherwise rather medium-sized and rural.

6. Hamburg

largest German companies

The cooperative trading group Edeka (turnover 2018: 53.6 billion euros) is actually organized on a decentralized basis, but there is a head office, and it happens to be in Hamburg. The Hamburg Dax group Beiersdorf ranks well behind with 7.2 billion euros.

7. Berlin

largest German companies

The state-owned company Deutsche Bahn leads by far in the capital (2018 turnover: 44 billion euros). Zalando, the top-selling figurehead in the start-up metropolis, is still much smaller at 5.4 billion euros.

8. Hessen

To include Lufthansa (2018 turnover: 35.8 billion euros) in Hessen is a matter of doubt. The operational headquarters are at Frankfurt Airport, but Cologne is still the official headquarters, even if only a small part of the administration works there – the former Cologne Lufthansa high-rise now serves the chemical company Lanxess. The health concern Fresenius from Bad Homburg is barely number two in Hesse with a turnover of 33.5 billion euros. In the other federal states there are hardly any real large corporations to be found.

9. Saarland

The wholesale and DIY store operator Globus Handelshof (2018 turnover: 7.6 billion euros) from St. Wendel just made it into the German Top 100.

10. Schleswig-Holstein

The Kiel family company Bartels-Langness (2018 turnover: 4.8 billion euros) is primarily a wholesaler and enjoys a low level of awareness.

11. Bremen

Kurt Zech’s conglomerate Zech Group (2018 turnover: 2.8 billion euros) has grown strongly in recent years with construction, real estate, hotels and ships, among other things. That that is enough for the top spot in Bremen speaks for the long-term economic loss of importance of the Hanseatic city – as the bottom of the range in the west. The five eastern countries without Berlin, however, all rank behind in terms of independent corporate headquarters.

12. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

The wind turbine manufacturer Nordex (2018 turnover: 2.5 billion euros) provides an industrial core in Rostock. However, the administration is at home in Hamburg, and the actual control has been with the Spanish (minority) shareholder Acciona since 2016. If you apply strict standards, it will be difficult to even find a notable corporate headquarters in the northeast.

13. Brandenburg

The Berlin family Krieger has registered the headquarters of their Höffner furniture stores just outside the capital in Schönefeld. The company is keeping a low profile with current figures. The Verdi union recently estimated the Krieger Group at two billion euros – on par with well-known large Brandenburg companies such as the electricity supplier Edis, Lausitz Energie or the Schwedt refinery PCK (which, however, are mostly owned by foreign companies and therefore do not count for our ranking).

14. Saxony

There are still a number of larger companies in the Free State, starting with the Leipzig gas trader VNG. However, they all have the status of subsidiaries or municipal companies until you end up with the telecommunications wholesaler Komsa from Hartmannsdorf near Chemnitz (2018 turnover: 1.2 billion euros).

15. Saxony-Anhalt

The situation is similar here. Rotkäppchen-Mumm (2018 turnover: 1.09 billion euros) can be considered a real success story in the East, albeit with West German capital. Today’s largest sparkling wine group in Germany from Freyburg an der Unstrut came as a management buy-out from the trust. The Rhine-Hessian beverage dynasty Eckes-Chantré operates as the owner, so Rotkäppchen has a second mainstay in Eltville.

16. Thuringia

Jenoptik is still operating below the billion mark (2018 sales: 835 million euros). In addition to the medical technician Carl Zeiss Meditec – the majority of which is owned by Carl Zeiss AG from Baden-Württemberg – the listed company still has an impact on the Jena location, where the GDR combine Carl Zeiss was based with around 70,000 jobs in the optical industry. Jenoptik boss Stefan Traeger is actually a native of Jenens.

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