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Family business roundup: Strong first-quarter results for ABF and Hermes; profits drop at Pick n Pay and Heineken

ABS and Hermes reported strong first-quarter results, bolstered by demand for luxury and budget garments. But South African Pick n Pay and German Heineken fared less well, with growth in profits falling.

ABS and Hermes reported strong first-quarter results, bolstered by demand for luxury and budget garments. But South African Pick n Pay and German Heineken fared less well, with growth in profits falling.

Associated British Foods
Associated British Foods posted strong results for the first quarter of 2013, with revenue increasing 10% to £6.3 billion (€4.2 billion), compared with the same period last year, and operating profit rose 20% to £496 million.

Performance at the company's budget fashion label Primark was particularly strong – sales were up 24% compared with the first quarter of 2012, with 7% like-for-like growth.

Fourth-gen chief executive George Weston said in a statement: "We are committed to the long-term development of our businesses through investment. These results have been achieved through a focus on generating good returns from the investments we have made over recent years."

Hermes
In Paris, luxury group Hermes – controlled by the descendents of founder Thierry Hermes – continued its strong performance in 2012 into the first quarter of 2013, with revenues up 12.8% to €856.8 million compared to the same period last year. 

Hermes' Ready-to-wear and Accessories division grew the fastest, with revenue increasing by 18%.

Regionally, Asia was the fastest growing market for the maker of the iconic Birkin bag, with sales increasing by 17%, while sales in Japan grew 7%. The Americas had 11% growth, and even Europe grew 12% despite continued economic stagnation in the region. 

Revenues grew by 22.6% in 2012. 

Heineken
In Germany, Heineken reported 2013 first-quarter results that were weaker than expected. Revenue grew 8.1% to €4.1 billion, but this was mainly due to the added revenue from Asia Pacific Breweries, which Heineken acquired last year.

Revenues declined 2.7% organically, and the company blamed slow economic conditions and bad weather on the fall. But the brewer’s revenue numbers were helped by a 1.8% increase in revenue per litre.

Heineken, controlled by fourth-gen Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, said it still expected organic revenue growth for the full year.

Pick n Pay
In South Africa, Pick n Pay, controlled by the Ackerman family, had a tough 2012, according to its full-year results. Although turnover increased 7.1% to 59.3 billion rand (€5 billion), pre-tax profits fell by 30.9% to 808.9 million rand.

The company said in a statement: "We have invested heavily to build a better future for Pick n Pay. These investments have yet to generate sufficient value for our customers and shareholders."

But it said it would continue its programme of expansion, and plans to spend 1.8 billion rand on expansion this year, primarily through opening new stores. 

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