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Family business roundup: Profits fall at VW and Santander, rise slightly at Heineken

Tough trading conditions are continuing to take their toll on family businesses in Europe, with profits falling at Volkswagen and Santander.

Tough trading conditions are continuing to take their toll on family businesses in Europe, with profits falling at Volkswagen and Santander.

Carmaker Volkswagen, which is controlled by the Porsche and Piech families, had a particularly tough third quarter, with operating profits falling to €2.3 billion – down 19% on the same period last year. It came on the back of a 26.8% rise in revenues during the quarter.

However, its bad third-quarter results were slight offset by a good start to the year. Overall, sales for the first nine months were €144.2 billion, up 24%, while operating profits fell by a less dramatic 1.6% to €8.8 billion during the period.

“We have always said that the second half of the year would be more difficult, so our performance is in line with expectations. We have achieved a robust result,” said chief financial officer Hans Dieter Poetsch in a statement on 24 October.

The company said it is on target to match its 2011 operating profits.

Meanwhile, banking giant Santander reported a 94% fall in net profits for its third quarter after earnings slowed in its Latin American and British divisions, and the company was forced to put aside funds to cover possible losses linked to the Spanish property market.

Net income for the bank, run by members of the Botin family, was €100 million for the third quarter. The Botins have been involved in running the bank since it was founded in 1857, although they currently own just 2%.

Beer company Heineken’s third quarter was slightly better, with the group reporting a 7.1% rise in revenues to €4.97 billion. Net profits at the company, controlled by fourth-gen Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, were €577 million compared with €525 million last year.  

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