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Family business winners of the credit crunch

The family business model has been vindicated by the recent events of the credit crunch thanks to an historic aversion to being highly leveraged and a long-term vision (and long term doesn't mean 3-5 years!). Below, Campden FB presents a selection of family business winners from the recent turmoil.

Banco Santander
While Lehman's, Bear Stearns and the rest have being falling like dominos, the Spanish banking giant has picked up some choice morsels thanks in part to its decision to shun sub prime assets. The Botín family has led the bank since 1857 and has been particularly active in the UK in the last few weeks where it has picked up mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley and building society Alliance & Leicester at knock-down prices.

ALDI
The discount food retailer owned by highly secretive German brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht has sales of approximately $45 billion. ALDI carries mostly private-label items and promises deeply discounted prices on other popular food items, which it sells in cheap-to-build warehouses that employ a tiny staff. Although its largest footprint is in Europe, the company's current expansion in the US could not have come at a better time as taxpayers, who are footing the bailout bill for Wall Street's largesse, search out bargains.

De Beers
Perhaps diamonds really are for ever. The Oppenheimer family-owned group of diamond companies is actually seeing an increase in demand for its rough diamonds. To demonstrate, a 42 carat oval-cut diamond will be sold by De Beers' Forevermark company in the first ever online fine jewels auction by India's largest art auction house. Less than 1% of the world's diamonds are eligible for Forevermark, which allows only a number of handpicked master craftsmen globally to cut and polish the stones.

Middle Eastern royal families
The region's royal families are filling the gap created by the liquidity crisis with their sovereign wealth funds. Qatar's ruling Al Thani family runs the Qatar Investment Authority. The QIA has an 8% stake in Barclay's bank which saw a £200 million profit in July. Abu Dhabi's ruling Al Nahyan family, meanwhile, controls the emirate's AIDA sovereign wealth fund that invested in Citigroup last November. Although in the short-term the familes' SWFs will be taking a hit, the stakes they have built up have good long-term potential.

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