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Family business roundup: Profits jump at Barbour’s and Samsung, fall at William Grant and Walkers

Family-controlled fashion house Barbour’s saw its profit jump by more than 50% in 2011, while a number of other British family businesses have reported yearly revenue increases.

Family-controlled fashion house Barbour’s saw its profit jump by more than 50% in 2011, while a number of other British family businesses have reported yearly revenue increases.

In the UK, Barbour's, the fashion house famous for its iconic waxed coats, said its pre-tax profits jumped by 51% to £17 million (€21 million) in 2011.

Revenues at the company, which is chaired by family member Margaret Barbour, also increased by 35% to £121.6 million, compared to £89.9 million in 2011. The good performance allowed the firm to pay £10 million in dividends to its shareholders, all members of the Barbour family.

Scottish distiller William Grant & Sons, famous for its Glenfiddich whisky, also posted a 9% increase in its 2011 revenues, with sales hitting the £1 billion mark for the first time in the family business’s history. The company is controlled by the descendents of William Grant, who established it in 1887.

However, the Speyside–based firm, which also owns drinks brands such as Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry rum and Tullamore Dew whiskey, said on 5 October that because of “tough global economic conditions” operating profit was down 4% to £126.3 million during the same period.

Also in the UK, family-owned Walkers Shortbread, which makes typical British biscuits such as shortbreads and oatcakes, saw revenues rise by 12% to £119 million in 2011, compared to £106.3 million one year earlier.

However, pre-tax profits at the Aberlour-based firm fell slightly by 1% to £8.6 million during the same period. The family business, which was founded by Joseph Walker in 1898 and is still 100% controlled by his descendents, said this was because of rising flour prices – a factor it expects to continue in 2012.

But these weren’t the only family businesses to report growth recently.

Family-controlled Samsung Electronics, which is the world's biggest technology company by revenues, said on 5 October that it expects sales of KRW52 trillion (€36.1 billion) in the third quarter of the year. If confirmed at the end of the month, this would be a 26% increase on the reported KRW41.3 trillion during the same quarter last year.

The firm, which is controlled by the Lee family, added profits should reach KRW8.1 trillion during the same period, up 91% from KRW4.25 trillion for the same quarter in 2011. 

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