Ludwig Merckle’s father – Adolf Merckle – incorporated Ratiopharm in 1973. Previous generations of the Merckle family had been expelled from their homeland by the Czech government, for their alleged part in WW2.

Adolf Merckle married Luise Merckle, and they had four children together – three sons and a daughter, three of whom were involved with the family business also.

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Ludwig Merckle's grandfather - Adolf Merckle
Ludwig Merckle’s grandfather – Adolf Merckle

In 2008, things began to unravel for Adolf Merckle, as he had to remove his son Phillip Merckle from the family business, in response to claims of impropriety.

As the company faltered, Adolf Merckle made a short sighted, risky gamble on the share price of Volkswagen, which spectacularly backfired, costing the company over $500 Million USD.

The company share price crashed, causing the banks to recall their loans (which were backed by the company shareholding) and ultimately led to the sale of Ratiopharm and 50% of the family’s holdings in Heidelberg Cement.

In 2008, Adolf Merckle tragically took his own life, only one day after agreeing to the sale of Ratiopharm, which he founded and built himself since 1973.

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News Report on Adolf Merckle’s Death in 2008.


Ludwig Merckle has three siblings – two brothers and a sister.

Ludwig Merckle’s brother – Philipp Merckle – is a qualified pharmacist,  from the University of Tubingen and was involved with the family business Ratiopharm until 2008 when he was fired for alleged impropriety. He founded the charitable organisation „World in Balance“.

Ludwig Merckle's Brother - Philipp Merckle
Ludwig Merckle’s Brother – Philipp Merckle

Ludwig Merckle’s other brother – Tobias Merckle – is the MD of Prisma. In addition, Tobias Merckle serves as a non executive director of Phoenix Pharmahandel, the Pharmaceutical company owned by his brother Ludwig.
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Tobias Merckle
Tobias Merckle – Ludwig Merckle’s Brother

Ludwig Merckle’s sister, Jutta, is a qualified economist, and is involved in the Merckle family business as such.

Wife and Children

Ludwig Merckle lives in Ulm, with his wife Ursula and their two children.
The city of Ulm has been the Merckle family’s home since they were expelled from Czechslovakia at the end of WW2.

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