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Family ownership drives growth at Heineken

Family-owned Dutch brewer Heineken has reported strong results for the first half of 2011, with family ownership of the company boosting the world’s third-largest brewer.
Family-owned Heineken is the world's third-largest brewer

Family-owned Dutch brewer Heineken has reported strong results for the first half of 2011, with family ownership of the company boosting the world’s third-largest brewer.

The company’s revenues rose to €8.35 billion for the first six months of the year, up from around €7.5 billion for the same period in 2010.

The company’s good results were influenced by rising demand from emerging economies, as well as the Heineken family ownership of the business, said a company spokesman.

“As a family-owned business we can take a longer view on company operations. We make investments for the long haul – not for the next quarter or decade, but for the next 100 years or so. The family aspect gives us a better stance in managing the business,” he told CampdenFB.

The Heineken family owns around 50% of the business through the family’s holding company, L'Arche Green, which holds a little more than half of the group.

But the brewing giant reported a drop in its net profit to €605 million for the first half year, from €700 million in 2010.

The family has been on an acquisition spree, purchasing Mexican beer company Femsa in April last year. It also took control of five breweries in Nigeria and two in Ethiopia earlier in 2011, as part of its attempt to expand in emerging markets.

Although its acquisitions have been limited over the last two months – at a time when the brewing industry has seen a large number of consolidations taking place – the company is still keeping its eyes open.

“We have done our fair share of acquisitions but we continue to look for new opportunities as and when they come,” the Heineken spokesman said.

The family behind the brewing giant remain actively involved in company operations, he added. Fourth-generation Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken sits on the board of directors, while her husband Michel de Carvalho is part of the group’s supervisory board.

Heineken was founded in 1864 in Amsterdam by Gerard Adriaan Heineken. Today it has operations in more than 70 countries and sells around 170 different brands of beer.

The company had 2010 annual revenues of €16.13 billion.

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