CEO Helmut Graf reports that his firm, VNR Verlag für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG, enjoyed growth of 4.5 percent in 2007, reaching a new high of annual revenue of 103 million euros (approx. $ 160 million)…

Paul Swift, The Newsletter on Newsletters, 9. Juli 2008

CEO Helmut Graf reports that his firm, VNR Verlag für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG, enjoyed growth of 4.5 percent in 2007, reaching a new high of annual revenue of 103 million euros (approx. $ 160 million).

Graf attributes the Bonn-based firm’s continuing success to “filling niches, staying in close touch with customers and their interests, providing advanced training for qualified personnel, and taking advantage of the benefits of Germany as a business location.”

“Over 95 percent of our expenditures go to external partners such as managing editors, authors, printing firms and numerous service providers in Germany.” The record shows, Graf says, the potential for success for family-owned businesses in Germany. During the past year total staff increased from 245 to 276.

Top performers during the past year included areas of job security, taxes, data protection, health, and investment. They provide loose-leafs, print newsletters and online products. Sixty new titles were tested during the year with increasing emphasis on forums and seminars.

In addition to Germany, the company does business in Austria, France, Great Britain, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland and South Africa – to a total of 17.3 million euros (almost $27 million). And VNR plans further growth in Europe.

Professional Training

Norman Rentrop, the self-described Jesuit-educated founder of VNR and now its publisher and chairman, puts great stock in training his employees to rise to the next level of professionalism. He imported U.S. newsletter experts in editorial, management and marketing to wander VNR’s Bonn offices and give workshops.

Helmut Graf has continued Norman Rentrop’s practice of bringing a record number of employees to the association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. – usually around three dozen young, eager and smart people flown in from Bonn.

Plus, Helmut has found time to volunteer for SIPA here and in Europe. He was just elected to the association’s board of directors.