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Family business roundup: Profits down at Mediaset and Toyota, up at Henkel, Luxottica and Pao de Acucar

Three family businesses in Europe and Brazil have reported strong quarterly results this week, while Italian media conglomerate Mediaset and Japanese carmaker Toyota have seen their profits plummet.

Three family businesses in Europe and Brazil have reported strong quarterly results this week, while Italian media conglomerate Mediaset and Japanese carmaker Toyota have seen their profits plummet.

In Germany, Henkel, the consumer goods company controlled by the eponymous family, said on 9 May that net profit increased by 30.3% to €378 million during the first quarter of the year, from €290 million during the same period last year.

Revenues at the Dusseldorf-based family business also rose by 4.8% to €4.01 billion during the quarter and the company, which owns brands such as Persil, Schwarzkopf and Loctite, expects continued growth in 2012.

In Italy, eyewear group Luxottica, which is controlled by the Del Vecchio family, reported a 27.2% increase in its adjusted net profit, which rose to €146 million during the first quarter of 2012.

Sales increased by 14.9% to €1.79 billion, from €1.56 billion during the same quarter last year, the Milan–based company, which owns sunglass brands including Ray-Ban, Persol and Oakley, said on 7 May.

Growth at the family business, which is chaired by founder Leonardo Del Vecchio, was driven by emerging markets, with revenues jumping 40% in India, east Asia and Brazil, the country where Luxottica acquired eyewear firm Grupo Tecnol at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, Brazilian retailer Grupo Pao de Acucar, controlled by the Diniz family, posted a pre-tax profit of BRL758 million (€301.1 million) and revenues of BRL12.1 billion for the first quarter of the year – respectively a 30% and 11% increase on the same quarter last year.

In contrast with Henkel, Luxottica and Pao de Acucar’s strong results, Toyota, which is controlled by the founding Toyoda family, saw its net profit drop by 30.5% to 283.6 billion yen (€2.75 billion) during the year to 31 March, with revenues falling by 2% to 18.58 billion yen.

In a statement released on 9 May, family member and president Akio Toyoda said the past fiscal year was “extremely challenging” for Toyota, because of the “unprecedented strength of the yen”, and "losses in production" following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the floods in Thailand.

However, Toyota had strong growth in the final quarter of the year, with net profit increasing by 376% to 121 billion yen. The firm expects to recover in fiscal year 2012/2013 with net profit reaching approximately 760 billion yen.

Italy’s Mediaset also saw its net profit drop by 85% to €10.3 million during the first quarter of 2012, from €68.4 million during the same period last year.

Revenues at the Milan-based firm, which was founded by Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and is the country’s biggest private broadcaster, decreased by 12% to €977.8 million. In a statement released on 8 May, Mediaset blamed falling advertising sales due to the continued economic downturn in Italy and Spain for the drop in its profits.  

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