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Family business roundup: Stormy results for Loews and ArcelorMittal; better at News Corp and Douglas

Bad weather and austerity have taken their toll on Loews and ArcelorMittal, with the family businesses reporting losses in the last quarter. But family-controlled News Corp and Douglas Holdings are faring better.

Bad weather and austerity have taken their toll on Loews and ArcelorMittal, with the family businesses reporting losses in the last quarter. But family-controlled News Corp and Douglas Holdings are faring better.

Loews Corp
Loews, the US conglomerate controlled by Tisch family, reported a multi-million loss in its fourth quarter on 11 February, linked to catastrophe losses at CNA Financial, its insurance division, due to Hurricane Sandy.

New York-based Loews posted a loss of $32 million (€23.84 million) for the quarter, down from a profit of $271 million a year earlier. However, total revenue at the company, which also has interests in hotels and energy, rose 6% to $3.70 billion.

Overall, net income for the full year was $568 million, compared to $1.6 billion the year earlier, while total revenues were $14.55 – up from $14.1 billion.

ArcelorMittal
Across the Atlantic, the Mittal family’s ArcelorMittal also had a tough fourth quarter, with the Luxemburg-based steel company reporting a $4 billion net loss. It also posted a $3.7 billion net loss for the full year, compared to a net income of $2.26 billion in 2011.

Revenues for the 12 months were $84 billion, down from $94 billion a year earlier.

Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, said 2012 had been a “very difficult year for the steel industry, particularly in Europe”.

“Although we expect the challenges to continue in 2013, largely due to the fragility of the European economy, we have recently seen some more positive indicators, which combined with the measures we have implemented to strengthen the business, are expected to support an improvement in the profitability of our steel business this year,” he added.

Douglas Holding
Douglas Holding, the German retailer that was recently taken private by the Kreke family and a private equity company, had a slightly better quarter. Revenues increased 1.5% to €1.2 billion for its first quarter, which ended 31 December.

“All in all, this trend in sales during the first quarter gives us a solid foundation for the rest of the fiscal year,“ said family member Henning Kreke.

News Corporation
At media conglomerate News Corp, revenues were up 5% to $9.4 billion for its second quarter to 31 December. The company put its strong performance down to good growth at its cable network programming segment.

Chief executive and chairman Rupert Murdoch, whose family controls the company through voting rights, said the business’s “fiscal second quarter performance reflects [its] strong momentum”.

The company will be split into two later this year – but Murdoch said he was “confident in the future prospects for both businesses”.  

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