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German entrepreneur transfers shares to keep business in the family

The founder and chief executive of Fielmann will transfer almost a quarter of his shares in the German eyeware firm to a family foundation, in a bid to ensure the business remains in the hands of his descendants.

The founder and chief executive of Fielmann will transfer almost a quarter of his shares in the German eyeware firm to a family foundation, in a bid to ensure the business remains in the hands of his descendants.

In a statement released this week, Gunther Fielmann said the move to transfer 24.52% of his shares to the Fielmann Family Foundation formed part of his succession plan.

“This measure will permanently secure decisive influence and management responsibility over Fielmann for the Fielmann family,” said the statement.

The foundation will also become the main shareholder in a family holding company in order to “future-proof” the plans.

The entrepreneur’s children, Marc and Sophie Luise, who have received shares in Fielmann and the Fielmann Family Foundation, will have stakes in the holding company.

Fielmann went public in 1994, but the family still owns more than 70% of the business. It reported consolidated sales of €1.05 billion in 2011.

Marc is expected to take on a more active role in the Hamburg-based company in the coming years, although the statement said Gunther will continue in his CEO role despite the transfer of shares. 

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