Scientific study by the University of Trier DFE Chemie is one of the Hidden Champions from NRW

Trier/Düsseldorf, February 2022

A recently published scientific study classifies DFE Chemie as a 'Hidden Champion'. The study 'Hidden Champions in North Rhine-Westphalia' was prepared by the Research Centre for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (FZM) at the University of Trier on behalf of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).

The objective of the study is to systematically identify hidden champions in NRW and to describe them on the basis of key structural characteristics. The authors of the study led by Prof. Dr. Jörn Block emphasise that such a comprehensive survey and descriptive analysis of North Rhine-Westphalia's hidden champions did not exist before.

"Hidden champions are among the most successful companies in their industry, but at the same time have a low level of public awareness," says Professor Block.

The commissioner of the study, Minister of Economics and Innovation, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, on hidden champions: "With their outstanding capabilities, they are the engine of economic and technological development. In order to reach the top of the world as a company and to survive there, a consistent focus on quality, extensive internationalisation, close proximity to customers and close employee relations are essential."

Hidden champions are generally defined as companies that are among the top 3 companies on the world market or are industry leaders on their home continent, generate a turnover of less than five billion euros and are hardly known to the public. The term was coined in the 1990s by Prof. Dr. Hermann Simon - at that time at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz - and is now used internationally.

Summary of the study results
Full study `Hidden Champions in Nordrhein-Westfalen´ (PDF, German)