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Merck SWOT and PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52433753| May 2019| 15 pages


Business Sector :Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals

Operating Geography :Germany, Europe, Global

About Merck KGaA :

The Merck Group (commonly known as Merck KGaA) is one of the oldest multinational chemical and pharmaceutical company globally, founded in 1668 by Friedrich Jacob Merck. Entire business of the group can be broadly divided into three categories: Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials. Headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck operates in 66 countries with more than 50,000 employees as of 2018.

Merck KGaA Revenue :

€ 15,327 million – FY ended 31st December 2017 (year-on-year growth of 2%)
€ 15,024 million – FY ended 31st December 2016

Ownership / Major shareholders :

Merck family is the majority owner of the company and holds 70.3% of the shares as of 2018.

Competitive Analysis of Merck KGaA

The SWOT Analysis for Merck KGaA is presented below:
1. Strong financial performance
2. Risk diversified business portfolio
3. Leading the performance material market
4. Focus on R&D and innovation through investments and partnerships
5. Strong Investment grade rating
1. Weak player in Latin America, middle east and Africa
2. Few new drugs in the final R&D stage
1. Great potential to dominate future automotive and lighting display market
2. Patent approval for CRISPR technology
3. Use synergies from Sigma-Aldrich acquisition
1. Changes in political landscape of Europe: Brexit and growing protectionism
2. Changes in U.S. or foreign laws and regulations
3. Adverse changes in U.S., global, regional or local economic conditions
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of Merck KGaA


1. Consistently strong financial performance: Merck has shown strong year-on-year growth in the revenue and profit in all the periods. In year 2016, group’s net sales grew by 17.0% to €15 billion. In the same year EBIDTA grew by 23.7% and reached €4.5 billion with a high profit margin of 29.9%. Earnings per share rose by 27.5% to €6.21 and free cash flow increased by 20.0% to €3.3 billion. The sales grew by 2% in FY17 to €15.3 billion and the EBIDTA for Merck stood at €4.4 billion in 2017 with an EPS of €6.16. The company has reduced its net debt by around € 1.4 billion in 2017 and is on track to reduce its debt level to below 2 again by end of 2018.

2. Risk diversified business portfolio: Merck has diversified its business in 3 different sectors: healthcare, life sciences and performance materials. From Prescription medicines to over the counter drugs, lab materials to biotech and creating chemicals and OLED materials used in production of displays and ICs, Merck serves different uncorrelated markets, this reduces the overall business risk.

3. Leading the performance material market: Merck’s Performance Materials business is leading the market in liquid crystals and photoresist materials, as well as they are one of the leading suppliers of organic light emitting diodes (OLED) materials, and decorative and functional effect pigments. Merck has more than 2,500 patents for liquid crystals and 1,400 patents for OLED technologies, this shows their market dominance in the segment. The company also opened a new applications laboratory in China in July 2017 through which it will provide comprehensive, customized services for quality performance material products. Further the company also opened a production facility for liquid crystal window modules in Veldhoven, Holland in November 2017, investing around € 15 million.

4. Focus on R&D and innovation through investments and partnerships: Merck invested €2 billion and €2.14 billion in R&D in year 2016 and 2017 respectively which translated to 13.2% and 14% of their total sales in respective years. Each year Merck’s healthcare business invests roughly around 20% of total sales to R&D activities aimed at discovering and developing new therapies. The company has also entered into an agreement with Vertex Pharmaceuticals for four promising R&D DNA damage response (DDR) programs. The collaboration with big data analytics firm Palantir in 2017, will help the company rapidly develop and deliver medicines. The European patent office also granted Merck a patent for its CRISPR technology which can be used in disease modelling and genomic integration method for eukaryotic cells. Merck has a total of 6800 employees working in R&D with hubs located in countries such as UK, Taiwan, South Korea, USA, Japan, Israel and several others.

5. Strong Investment grade rating: Ratings given by external agencies are an important indicator of a company’s creditworthiness and financial stability. Merck has a Baa1 rating from Moody’s and an A rating from S&P, both with a stable outlook. Rating given by European agency Scope is A- with a stable outlook. The ratings have been given for the year 2017.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.


This section is available only in the 'Complete Report' on purchase.

Key Business Segments / Diversification :

Merck KGaA
Healthcare Life Science Performance Materials

Recent Acquisition / Mergers / Alliance / Joint Ventures / Divestitures :

Open Table Preview
Business Segment
Objective/Synergy Achieved
Merck Consumer Health SegmentConsumer Health2018DivestmentThe divestment will help Merck Group to strategically focus on innovation-driven businesses within Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials.
BioControlLife Science2017AcquisitionThe acquisition was aimed to complements Merck's existing products in food pathogen testing and offer its customers complete workflow solutions in the segment
Source: Company website and other reliable sources. The detailed table is available in the Complete Report.
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

References used in Merck KGaA Analysis Report

1. Merck KGaA Annual Report 2016:
2. Innovation and R&D at Merck
3. Sector and area wise financials of Merck
4. Top patent losses in recent years

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Merck SWOT and PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & PESTLE.COM

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Copyrights and Disclaimer

The Merck Group SWOT and PESTLE analysis has been conducted by Sachin Mishra and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.

Copyright of The Merck SWOT and PESTLE Analysis is the property of Barakaat Consulting. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer for usage guidelines.

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Merck SWOT and PESTLE Analysis
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