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Family business roundup: Hermes, Liebherr up, Kuehne+Nagel posts fall

It has been a week of ups and downs for family businesses around the world, with some seeing a significant growth in revenues and others witnessing a decline.

It has been a week of ups and downs for family businesses around the world, with some seeing a significant growth in revenues and others witnessing a decline.

Luxury goods-maker Hermes, famous for its silk scarves and Birkin bags, said on 19 July that sales for the quarter ending June 2012 increased by around 22% to €814.5 million.

The group, controlled by descendants of founder Thierry Hermes, saw growth across all regions with Asia being the biggest driver – excluding Japan, sales in Asia grew by 25%.

Similarly, French spirits group Remy Cointreau, owned by the Heriard Dubreuil and Cointreau families, saw first quarter sales rise by 24.4%, thanks to high demand for its cognac in Asia and the US.

German construction giant Liebherr Group also posted positive results. Fully owned by the eponymous family, the company saw turnover for the year ending December 2011 rise by about 10% to €8.33 billion.

Much of the growth was due to strong performance of its construction machinery and mining equipment divisions, which “recorded an above-average increase” in sales, said the company.

Liebherr added it had a positive outlook for fiscal 2012, with rise in revenues across all segments expected.

Fellow German group Tengelmann, a 145-year-old family business that owns grocery stores, supermarket chains and home improvement stores, said revenues for full-year 2011 rose by 2.4% to €10.78 billion.

“Our equity ratio of nearly 37% gives us a solid financial basis and shields our family-run enterprise from most of the vagaries of debt,” said family member Karl-Erivan Haub in a statement on 12 July.

Meanwhile, high-end British jeweller Boodles, owned by the Wainwright family, saw a rise in profits and sales. While turnover increased to £48.1 million (€61.7 million) from £41.9 million, profits also rose to £6.2 million from £4.7 million for the year ending February 2012.

But for Swiss logistics company Kuehne+Nagel, the first half of 2012 ending June hasn’t gone well. Majority owned by a family foundation, the business said this week that earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation fell by 9.6% to CHF454 million (€378 million).

Turnover rose marginally by 2.8% to CHF10.06 billion. “Muted consumption in all parts of the world and increased market volatility influenced the global logistics business,” said Reinhard Lange, chief executive of the group.

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