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Family businesses present mixed full-year results

The release of full year financial statements by some of the world's largest family companies reveal a diverse range of fortunes for both the businesses and their founding families.

Ford, the family-controlled automaker, today posted better-then-expected full year results, recording a pre-tax operating profit of $454 million – its first for four years. This figure represented a $7.3 billion improvement on last year's losses which totalled nearly $15 billion. 

The result is a triumph for Ford, the only US carmaker not to receive state aid to stave off bankruptcy, as it only re-entered profit in the third-quarter of 2009. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

"While we still face significant business environment challenges ahead, 2009 was a pivotal year for Ford and the strongest proof yet that our One Ford plan is working and that we are forging a path toward profitable growth by working together as one team, leveraging our global scale," said Ford's non-family president and CEO Alan Mulally.

In India, Reliance Industries, the energy conglomerate owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, announced a 17.2% increase in turnover when it released its nine-month results. However, the company saw overall profit decrease marginally by 1.3%.

In response to the results Mukesh said: "Reliance is well poised to benefit from the improving global economic environment and domestic markets opportunities." 

Ambani is still in the middle of a court case with his brother Anil over an ongoing dispute about the price at which Mukesh's company supplies gas to Anil's. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

Family-controlled Bosch Group had a more difficult 2009, recording sales 16% below those of the previous year. And the forecast for 2010 is not much improved, with non-family chairman Franz Fehrenbach stating: "Our aim in 2010 is to break even."

In a statement released today, Bosch stated it aimed to counter the dramatic drop in sales it had experienced with rigorous cost-cutting measures at all levels.

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