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18 October 2022 - Jann Raveling

14 hidden champions from Bremen

Investing in Bremen

Examples of market leading companies from Germany that are based in Bremen

Eurogate Hidden Champions
Strong companies within strong industries: many hidden champions are based in Bremen © Frank Pusch

Who are Bremen's hidden champions? Hidden champions are small and medium-sized businesses that are among the global market leaders in their niche industry; they are usually owner-managed and highly influential in shaping the market with their products – but few people have heard of them.

A number of these hidden champions can be found in Bremen. They come from all areas of business, including the maritime, aerospace and digital industries. They show that Bremen is regarded as one of the most innovative locations for industry in Germany – and rightly so. The city has the highest export quota of all Germany's federal states – products that are manufactured here are in demand all over the world.

Let's take a look at 14 hidden champions from Bremen:

1. SAACKE

SAACKE manufactures firing systems for the marine industry and for industrial processes. These include burners that are used in power stations and refineries or to generate steam on seagoing vessels. The company also produces exhaust gas cleaning systems that reduce emissions from ships at sea. SAACKE employs around 1,200 people worldwide and has been based in Bremen since the 1950s.

2. Fr. Lürssen Werft

The name Lürssen may well be familiar to local people, but the shipyard in Bremen-Nord is still a hidden champion on the international stage. As well as building naval vessels, the company is also a market leader in yacht construction. The rich and famous have their luxury yachts built in Bremen by a team of around 1,000 employees based at several locations.

3. DSI Aerospace

When Earth observation satellites in space store their data, it is very likely to be on a hard disk from DSI Aerospace Technologie GmbH. The company is one of only three in Europe that have mastered the technology for this. Accordingly, their services are in demand worldwide. The group of companies is also involved in other aerospace applications.

4. Saturn Petcare

This name should perhaps be more familiar to our four-legged friends, as Saturn Petcare is one of the largest pet food manufacturers in Europe. But don't be surprised if you have never heard of it, as the company, which employs around 500 people, makes pet food in Bremen on behalf of many reputable brands.

5. GTF Freese

When people say that the Northern Germans are down-to-earth, this is especially true for GTF Freese. The family business is the market leader in the field of ship deck coverings, surface technology and flooring technology. On cruise ships and ferries, for example, they install resistant floor coverings, coat outer hulls with corrosion protection and equip industrial buildings with floors.

6. Vector Foiltec

Light and airy architecture has been popular for many years now, and Vector Foiltec supplies the corresponding plastic foils for making roof systems and cladding systems. The exterior of the National Aquatics Center in Beiing is one of the company's landmark projects as well as "The Shed", a mobile event venue in New York. The Bremen-based business designs, plans and builds roofs from ETFE foil cushions and has become a global market leader in its field.

Getting ready for an expedition: Kloska lorries provisioning the Polarstern research vessel
Getting ready for an expedition: Kloska lorries provisioning the Polarstern research vessel © Kloska

7. Kloska

There is probably nothing that Kloska cannot deliver. With over 130,000 different items, the ship supplier is well placed for the global market. The company is a kind of supermarket, offering a delivery service for ships and the offshore wind sector. As well as provisions for the crew, Kloska also supplies equipment and spare parts – which includes repairing and replacing parts all over the world – and operates its own workshops. The group employs a total of around 800 people.

8. Actega DS

DS Foodstuffs and medical products require high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. Actega DS makes sealing compounds for the food and beverage industry as well as plastics in granulate form for medical and pharmaceutical applications. Its sealing compounds are used in crown corks and the closures of cola bottles – and have become the global standard for them. Almost everyone will have come into contact with products from Actega DS at one time or other.

9. Sikora

Sikora's business is all about precision – right down to the finest detail. The products from the Bremen firm are used to check the quality of tubes, pipes, strips, plates and sheets in production. Employing a team of 250 people, the company manufactures measuring instruments that are world-class, and was listed as a 'Global Market Leader Future Champion 2018' in the Global Market Leader Index.

10. ZARM Technik

Bremen is an international hotspot for space technology. It is therefore not surprising that several world market leaders come from the Hanseatic city. ZARM Technik AG is also in demand worldwide. It manufactures magnettorquers, highly complex devices that can make satellites rotate around their own axis in space without having any moving parts.

11. KAEFER Isoliertechnik

Employing almost 30,000 people worldwide, Kaefer is by no means a minor player but is nonetheless a hidden champion that few people know about. Kaefer is a leading company in insulation technology, in industry as well as in the maritime sector. In addition to insulation, the company also offers access solutions, surface protection, passive fire protection, refractory services and interior outfitting.

12. OHB

The satellite-production company OHB is a real Bremen success story, which began not so long ago. In 1981, OHB started its meteoric rise to becoming a leading manufacturer of satellites and space components. The first listed space and technology group in Germany, OHB plays a key part in Bremen's successful aerospace industry and its components now travel as far as Mars and the company is a central component of Bremen's strong aerospace industry.

13. HWH

Titanium is an important material in many industries because the metal is both light and resistant. HWH Hanseatische Waren Handelsgesellschaft is one of the world's leading traders for the rare metal. In addition, the company has commissioned its own melting plant for titanium alloys, which is unique in the world and enables them to develop new metal alloys for customers in a targeted manner.

14. microfab

Microsystems are in every smartphone - but hardly anyone knows about them. A microsystem is a machine or component that is about one micrometre in size, 40 times smaller than a hair. These can be special microphones, sensors, nozzles, voltage converters or other electronic components. The Bremen-based microfab is an important producer of miniature systems. In medical technology, for example, Bremer technology is used in 70 per cent of all respirators worldwide.

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