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Family Business Roundup: Illy Caffé, Cemex and Bharti Airtel

Illy Caffé sells €70 million bond to increase market share; Cemex completes $15 billion refinancing of bank debt; and Bharti Airtel beats Reliance Industries to 4G launch

Illy Caffé sells €70 million bond to increase market share

Italian coffee company Illy Caffé has sold a €70 million ($76 million) bond in order to increase market share in the premium hospitality sector.

The move will help Illy keep up with its larger Italian rival Lavazza, and comes amid a period of consolidation in the coffee industry, which is estimated to be worth $80 billion.

Andrea Illy, chairman and chief executive of Illy Caffé, said the money raised would be used develop a range of products and would help the firm achieve its plans of doubling revenue within a decade.

“We are a family business and we have two things to protect. One is the dream of the founder to offer the greatest coffee in the world and the other is our family name. This requires a long-term vision and cannot be achieved with quarterly results,” told the Financial Times.

The 82-year-old firm produces almost 7 million cups of coffee per day and is sold in more than 140 countries around the world, according to their website. In 2014, Illy had revenues of €390 million.

Cemex completes $15 billion refinancing of bank debt

Mexican cement company Cemex has paid off the remnants of a $15 billion debt refinancing agreement that came about as a result of a facilities agreement in 2012.

The outstanding $1.9 billion was paid off with new funds from 17 financial institutions and will provide Cemex with an additional four years to pay off its debt.

Jose Antonio González, Cemex’s chief financial officer, said: “We have now consolidated our syndicated bank debt in a single agreement under improved conditions. We are pleased with the interest shown by the bank market in this transaction and the continued support of our lenders.”

As a result, Cemex has no noteworthy debt maturities in 2016 and 2017.

Cemex was founded in Monterrey in 1906 and produces 162 million tonnes of cement each year. The firm had annual revenues of $15.7 billion in 2014.

Bharti Airtel beats Reliance Industries to 4G launch

Telecom giant Bharti Airtel, owned by Indian tycoon Sunil Mittal, has launched a nationwide fourth-generation mobile service five months ahead of family-run competitor Reliance Industries.

The 20-year-old conglomerate spent billions of dollars buying telecom airwaves in order to beat Reliance Industries to market, and will have until December to capture an early share of the market.

"This is a very competitive market and it keeps us on our toes," Sunil Vittal told reporters at a news conference near New Delhi. “The nationwide rollout today is another small step in our journey.”

The two family-owned companies have a history of fighting over India’s telecommunication sector, the second largest in the world after China, and often compete via aggressive price-cutting.

Bharti Airtel posted revenues of $14 billion in 2014 and is 52.7% owned by Bharti Enterprises.


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