TAG overview

We are Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a vibrant science and technology company. Science is at the heart of everything we do. It drives the discoveries we make and the technologies we create. We make a positive difference in the lives of millions of people every day. In Healthcare, we discover unique ways to treat some of the most challenging diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer. Our Life Science experts develop tools and solutions, which are aimed at enabling scientists achieve breakthroughs even faster. And in Performance Materials, we develop science that sits inside technologies and changes the way we access and display information.

Everything we do is fueled by our belief in science and technology as a force for good. A belief that has driven our work since 1668, and will continue to inspire us to find more joyful and sustainable ways to live. We are curious minds dedicated to human progress.

Who we are 

We hold the global rights to the "Merck" name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States. In these countries, we operate as EMD Serono in the biopharmaceutical business, as MilliporeSigma in the life science business, and as EMD Performance Materials in the high-tech materials business.

Apart from our three business sectors, our reporting presents the five regions: Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Latin America as well as Middle East and Africa (MEA). As of December 31, 2019, we had 57,071 employees worldwide, which compares with 51,749 on December 31, 2017.

In 2019, our 222 subsidiaries with employees in 66 countries generated sales of € 16.2 billion. Our 103 production sites are located across 21 countries.

Employees and sales by region – 2019

Employees and sales by region – 2019 (graphic)

Group structure

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany comprises three business sectors: Healthcare, Life Science, and Performance Materials. Our Healthcare business sector – the biggest among our three business sectors – comprises the two businesses Biopharma and Allergopharma.

Our Biopharma business discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative pharmaceutical and biological prescription drugs to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), infertility, growth disorders, and certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Biopharma is the larger of our Healthcare businesses and operates in four franchises: Oncology, Neurology & Immunology, Fertility and General Medicine & Endocrinology. Our R&D pipeline positions us with a clear focus on becoming a global specialty innovator in oncology, immuno-oncology, and immunology including MS. Our allergy business Allergopharma is a leading company in the field of allergy immunotherapy (AIT) in Europe. For high-precision, effective allergy therapy, we offer comprehensive diagnosis solutions as a basis for individual treatment concepts. Our AIT products concentrate on causal treatment of type 1 allergies such as allergic rhinitis (for example, hay fever) and allergic asthma to meet patients’ needs.

In Life Science, with our Research Solutions, Process Solutions, and Applied Solutions business units, we are a leading, worldwide supplier of tools, high-grade chemicals, and equipment for academic labs, biotech, and biopharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as the industrial sector. Research Solutions provides our academic customers with the chemicals and tools needed to make scientific discovery easier and faster. Process Solutions provides drug manufacturers with process development expertise and technologies, such as continuous bioprocessing.  Applied Solutions offers both testing kits and services to ensure that our food is safe to eat and water is clean to drink. Our portfolio comprises more than 300,000 products, ranging from lab water systems to genome-editing tools, antibodies, and cell lines, as well as end-to-end bioprocessing systems to support the manufacturing needs of both emerging biotech and large pharma companies. For example, our ZooMAb® recombinant antibodies bring the next generation of polyclonal and technology and production to the industry, specifically engineered for greater specificity, higher consistency, and maximum stability. Another example is our BioReliance® End-to-End Solutions, a service offering for process development and manufacturing for emerging biotech companies. Additionally, our Life Science business sector has built the expertise to further develop BrightLab™, our digital ecosystem for complete lab management.

Our Performance Materials business sector comprises the specialty chemicals business of our company. We offer innovative solutions especially for the electronics industry — for microchips and displays — and for surfaces of every kind. The business sector consists of three business units: Semiconductor Solutions, Display Solutions, and Surface Solutions. Comparing Performance Materials with a smartphone, Display Solutions represents the user interface, Semiconductor Solutions the intelligence, and Surface Solutions the aesthetics.

We are well on track in the execution of our five-year Bright Future transformation program announced in 2018, with which we are adapting to new market realities and customer requirements.

With the completion of the acquisition of Intermolecular on September 20, 2019, and Versum Materials on October 7, 2019, we reached two major milestones on our journey to transform Performance Materials into a strong solutions provider and leading player in the electronic materials market. Intermolecular has application-specific materials expertise and platforms for accelerated learning and experimentation with a powerful analytical infrastructure, all of which perfectly complement our portfolio. Together, we are well-positioned to deliver next-generation digital devices for a smarter, safer, and more connected world. Versum Materials is a leading global provider of innovative, high-purity process chemicals, gases, and equipment for semiconductor manufacturing. The merger should transform our company into a leading provider of electronic materials for the semiconductor and display industries. The Intermolecular and Versum Materials businesses are being integrated into the Semiconductor Solutions business unit.

With the acquisition of Versum Materials and Intermolecular, Semiconductor Solutions is now the largest business unit within Performance Materials. It consists of two dedicated units: Semiconductor Materials and Delivery Systems & Services. Our Semiconductor Materials unit supplies products for every major step in the wafer manufacturing process, including doping, lithography, patterning, deposition, planarization, etching, and cleaning. Specialty cleaners and conductive pastes for semiconductor packaging round off the portfolio. The Delivery Systems & Services (DS&S) business enables the safe and responsible handling of gases and liquid chemicals for electronic manufacturers. It focuses on the development and deployment of safe and reliable delivery equipment. This allows our materials to be handled with the highest quality and safety standards for our customers. Our Display Solutions business unit comprises the , OLED (organic light-emitting diodes), photoresists, and liquid crystal windows businesses. In the Surface Solutions business unit, we provide our customers with solutions that help them to create innovative surfaces of all kinds. Our materials enable more beautiful, more resistant, and more effective products.

Net sales by business sector – 2019

Net sales by business sector – 2019 (pie chart)


Based in Darmstadt, Germany, our company operates in the legal form of a corporation with general partners (Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien – KGaA). The general partner E. Merck KG, Darmstadt, Germany holds around 70% of the total capital of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (equity interest); the shareholders hold the remainder, which is divided into shares (share capital). Our shares have been included in the DAX® 30, the blue-chip index of the Deutsche Börse, since 2007. In September 2008, our company was added to the FTSE4Good Index, a sustainability index that assesses the social, ecological and ethical conduct of companies.

Group strategy

Throughout the past years, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has grown significantly through a series of strategic moves that have enabled us to develop into the vibrant science and technology company we are today. We have systematically and continuously strengthened and focused our portfolio of innovative science and technology throughout our business sectors. In Healthcare we divested our Generics business (2007) to focus on highly specialized products and acquired Serono (2007) to expand our pipeline and strengthen our business. This focused approach has continued until today with the divestments of the Biosimilars business (2017) and Consumer Health business (2018), so that we can increase our efforts on our Oncology, Immuno-oncology and Immunology franchises. Within Life Science, we have significantly transformed to become a diversified industry leader through the acquisition of Millipore (2010) and Sigma-Aldrich (2015). During the last years, Performance Materials has continued to deliver profitable growth and a significant cash contribution, and we evolved this business further into attractive science and technology areas such as semiconductor materials (Semiconductor Solutions) through the acquisition of AZ Electronic Materials (2014) as well as Intermolecular and Versum Materials (both in 2019), which also helped us further diversify our product portfolio that was strongly driven by liquid crystals. Our Group Strategy considers certain foundational elements such as, first and foremost, a risk diversification strategy that ensures that we are not over-exposed to any single customer, industry or geography. We want to be a forward-thinking company generating long- term sustainable value. We focus our efforts and activities on innovative areas to add maximum value to the future of science and technology.

You can find more information on our strategy in our Annual Report 2019.

Monoclonal antibodies
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that specifically recognize and bind to other unique proteins called antigens.
Liquid crystals (LC)
A hybrid of a crystalline and liquid state. In general, molecules are perfectly arranged only when in a solid crystal state, in contrast to the liquid state, when they move around chaotically. However, liquid crystals are a hybrid of the two states: Although they are liquid, they exhibit a certain crystalline arrangement. Their rod-shaped molecules align themselves like a shoal of fish. In addition, they respond to the electromagnetic waves of light like tiny antennae. Therefore, such swarms of molecules can either allow specially prepared “polarized” light to pass through, or they can block it. This takes place in the pixels of liquid crystal displays – as it does similarly in liquid crystal windows, which can provide shade against sunlight.

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