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Family business roundup: German drugmaker and Canadian holding company see growth

The family behind Canada’s Empire Company has seen an increase in revenues for the first quarter of the fiscal year, while Germany’s Grunenthal has been buoyed by a huge rise in its half-yearly earnings.

The family behind Canada’s Empire Company has seen an increase in revenues for the first quarter of the fiscal year, while Germany’s Grunenthal has been buoyed by a huge rise in its half-yearly earnings.  
 
Empire, the holding company controlled by the Sobey family, said on 13 September that sales for the three months ending 4 August rose by 9.7% to $4.56 billion (€3.5 billion).
 
This was largely thanks to the strong performance of its food retail chain, the group said. Empire owns grocery chain Sobeys and also operates in the real estate sector.
 
“Our solid first-quarter results were driven by Sobeys’ operational performance which demonstrates that our food-focused strategy is resonating with more and more customers,” family member Paul Sobey, who is president and chief executive of Empire, said.  
 
Meanwhile, German family business Grunenthal saw a huge rise in its half-yearly earnings before interest, tax and amortisation. EBITA at the drugmaker rose to €41 million – up by 147% compared to the same period last year.
 
The Aachen-based firm attributed the growth to better performance of its core business and a fall in marketing and sales cost. But revenues at the company, founded in 1946, dropped marginally to €473 million from €483 million for the first six months last year.
 
Things are also looking good for the UK’s Associated British Foods, which said in a trading update this week that it’s expecting operating profits for the second half of 2012 to be more than last year’s.
 
Besides owning food brands, the Weston family-controlled group is also behind fashion retailer Primark – sales at Primark for the full year are expected to be 17% ahead of 2011, said ABF. The company will report its results on 6 November.

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