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Family business roundup: L'Oreal and Exor make big share moves

Two European family empires are making alterations to their share conditions this week. The Agnelli family’s Exor plans to switch preference and saving shares to ordinary ones, and L'Oreal is to spend €500 million buying back shares following a rise in net sales.

Two European family business empires are making alterations to their share conditions this week. The Agnelli family’s Exor plans to switch preference and saving shares to ordinary ones, and L'Oreal is to spend €500 million buying back shares following a rise in net sales.

Exor
Exor, the Italian holding company that controls Fiat, said on 11 February that it had decided to convert its preference and saving shares into ordinary shares.

At a Turin meeting chaired by Agnelli family member John Elkann, the board of directors said the decision would streamline and simplify the structures of governance and capital currently in use within the company. The board also reckoned the share conversion would increase transparency.

The conversion rate will be one to one for both categories of shares, the investment company said in a statement.

Exor, whose investments portfolio also includes interests in Fiat Industrial, Juventus Football Club and Economist Group, said the share exchange needs to be approved at a shareholders’ meetings on 19 March and 20 March.

The Agnelli family has a stake of just under 60% in Exor.

L'Oreal
Family-controlled L'Oreal, the world’s biggest cosmetics group by sales, is to spend around €500 million buying back shares in 2013’s first half, it announced on 11 February.

The Paris-based group – which the Bettencourt family owns about 30% of – made the decision on the back of strong annual results. Fourth quarter like-for-like sales accelerated by 5.3%, while full-year 2012 revenues amounted to €22.463 billion, an increase of 10.4% on 2011.

The luxury firm also said it planned to renew the board membership of Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, prominent writer on western theology and the daughter of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. 

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