Aesculap AG & Co. KG

Temporarily leaving Switzerland and entering Germany, I head due north about 50 miles to the town of Tuttlingen to visit Aesculap. When planning my route I get a map of a country and mark with red ink the city where each company I'll be visiting is located. Looking at my red dotted map of Germany, Tuttlingen sits all alone in the southwest corner of the country.

There's no missing Aesculap upon entering town because the large red brick four-story office/factory complex runs several blocks long and is a real beaut. The place must have been built over 100 years ago. A non-English speaking guard who points me to a nearby building mans the gated entry. My excitement to be here is quickly dashed as the receptionist makes a half-dozen calls only to come up empty. It seems CEO Dr. Ungethuem isn't in and won't be back until next week and according to what the receptionist is told, he's the only one allowed to answer questions. Jeez, that in itself seems strange to me but as I wait in the lobby I walk over and check out a scale model display of what looks to be a new building about to be built. What catches my eye though is the name 'B Braun" in the corner. Oh-oh, B Braun is a large medical supplies manufacturer headquartered in the Melsungen, Germany (a neat little town filled with half-timbered homes) which I visited three years ago. Does this mean Aesculap, which makes medical instruments, is only a subsidiary of B Braun? I ask the helpful receptionist, whose unfortunately new and doesn't know. Why am I so eager to find this out? I don't like visiting subsidiaries unless it's planned on my part and according to the various reference books-not a one mentioned Aesculap being a subsidiary. I ask for an annual report and get one only in German but a graph in the report says it all with Aesculap listed in a flow cart under B Braun.