Recent empirical work shows evidence for higher valuation of firms in countries with a better legal environment. We investigate whether differences in the quality of firm-level corporate governance also help to explain firm performance in a cross-section of companies within a single jurisdiction. Constructing a broad corporate governance rating (CGR) for German public firms, we document a positive relationship between governance practices and firm valuation. There is also evidence that expected stock returns are negatively correlated with firm-level corporate governance, if dividend yields are used as proxies for the cost of capital. An investment strategy that bought high-CGR firms and shorted low-CGR firms earned abnormal returns of around 12% on an annual basis during the sample period.