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Top 100 Family Businesses in Europe

Welcome to the first definitive list of the top 100 family businesses in Europe, compiled by CampdenFB. The role of family businesses in the European economy is paramount to the success of the countries that comprise the biggest economic region in the world.

Just how important they are to the wellbeing of Europe is underlined by the combined revenues of the top 100 that amounted to €1.1 trillion in 2009 – nearly equivalent to the GDP of Spain. At the apex of this list in terms of total revenue is the carmaker Volkswagen, the second-largest automaker in the world of which the Piëch clan control 32.2%, with revenues of more than €105 billion last year.

The Mittal family controlled steel conglomerate ArcelorMittal is ranked second, with revenues of €50.7 billion last year. But that’s nearly half of what the company generated the year before, showing how much some family businesses were hit by the economic downturn.

Other big revenue losers on the list are the Spanish construction company Acciona and Italian energy company ERG, which saw their revenues halve last year. But there are also some businesses on the list that saw revenues rise, including the Swiss health group Roche, supermarket group Aldi, health specialist Novartis Group, Associated British Foods and precious metals trader Heraeus Holdings. Altogether, French and German family businesses are the best represented with 19 and 18 companies respectively on the list.

Indeed, German companies dominate the top of the table, with four in the top 10 – VW, BMW, Aldi, and Bosch. Italy has 16 companies and the UK 15; fifth place goes to Spain with eight companies. Around a third of the companies on the list are 100% owned by the founding family, families, or foundations controlled by the family/families. There are a wide variety of industries represented within the list, suggesting family businesses aren’t concentrated in just a few sectors. But retailing in its broadest sense is the most prevalent sector, with around 20% of the firms linked to the sector.

The table lists the company, the family/families controlling the 25% or above of capital, country where the company is based, revenues for 2009 and 2008, and how much of the company is owned by the family/families/family-controlled foundations. There are many difficulties in compiling a list like this, not least that families often channel ownership through diverse vehicles and might have multiple shareholding structures, but through our detailed research, including direct contact with many of the businesses, CampdenFB was able to compile the list.

To be included in the list, businesses must have met all the criteria listed below:
1. At least one representative of the family or kin is formally involved in the governance of the firm;
2. Listed companies meet the definition of family enterprise if the person who established or acquired the firm or their families or descendants possess 25% of the decision-making rights mandated by their share capital; and
3. The share capital controlled by the family is at least in the second generation or beyond.

Top 100 Family Businesses in Europe

Rank Company Family Country Sector Revenue 2009 (bn) Revenue 2008 (bn) Family ownership
1     Volkswagen Piëch Germany Automobiles € 105.18 € 113.80 32.20%
2 ArcelorMittal Mittal Luxembourg  Steel € 50.70 € 97.20 42%
3  BMW   Quandt Germany Automobiles € 50.70 € 53.20 46.70%
4 Fiat     Agnelli Italy Automobiles € 50.10 € 59.60 30.50%
5 PSA Peugeot Citroen   Peugeot France Autombiles € 48.42 € 54.30 30.30%
6 Aldi     Albrecht Germany Supermarkets € 45.00† € 38.00† 100%
7 Auchan Group    Mulliez France Retailing € 39.67 € 39.48 87.40%
8 Robert Bosch      Bosch Germany Consumer goods/auto parts € 38.17 € 45.13 92% - 7%1
9 AP Moller Maersk     Mc-Kinney Moller Denmark Industrial transportation € 38.16 € 41.70 54.52%
10 Roche Group  Oeri/Hoffman Switzerland Pharmaceuticals € 38.13 € 35.47 50%
11 Novartis Group  Landolt Switzerland Health and personal care €37.75 € 32.50 46.25%
12 Bouygues      Bouygues France Industrial € 31.30 € 32.40 27.30%2
13 ABInBev     Stichting Foundation Belgium Brewing € 28.90 € 30.70 45%
14 Haniel   Haniel Germany Industry, mining, trade and shipping € 24.52 € 26.37 100%
15 Ikea  Kamprad Sweden Furniture € 21.50 € 21.20 88.67%
16 Koc Group    Koc Turkey Conglomerate € 20.85 € 29.30 69.51%
17 LVMH    Arnault France Luxury goods and retailing € 17.05 € 17.19 47.40%
18 L’Oreal     Bettencourt France Cosmetics € 17.47 € 17.54 31%
19 Heraeus Holding     Heraeus Germany Precious metals € 16.10 € 15.80 25%
20 PPR   Pinault France Luxury goods and retailing € 16.53 € 17.20 40.80%
21 El Corte Ingles   Alvarez Spain Retailing € 16.30* € 17.80* 57%
22 Bertelsmann      Bertelsmann Germany Publishing, Media € 15.36 € 16.24 77.4% - 23%3
23 Michelin    Michelin France Tires, travel € 14.81 € 16.40 27%
24 Heineken     Heineken Netherlands Brewing € 14.70 € 14.30 50%
25 Sodexo     Bellon France Food services € 14.68 € 13.60 37.70%
26 Mercadona      Roig Spain Supermarkets € 15.50 € 15.10 100%
27 BCD Holdings  Van Vlissingen Netherlands Travel, financial services € 14.80 € 15.60 100%
28 Boehringer Ingelheim      Boehringer Germany Pharmaceuticals € 12.70 € 11.50 100%
29 Fomento de Construcciones      Koplowitz Spain Construction € 12.70 € 14.00 54%
30 Hennes and Mauritz   Persson Sweden Clothing retailer € 12.65 € 11.30 36.84%
31 Grupo Ferrovial    Del Pino Spain Construction € 12.10 € 14.10 44.61%
32 SHV Holdings      Fentener Van Vlissingen Netherlands Retail/distribution € 11.90 € 11.30 100%
33 Sonepar  Coisne/Lambert France Electrical equipment € 11.90 € 12.80 100%
34 Tengelmann     Haub Germany Holding company € 11.34 € 12.30 100%
35 Associated British Foods  Weston UK Food, household products € 11.15 € 9.80 55%
36 Inditex  Ortega Spain Clothing € 11.08 € 10.40   59.29%
37 Otto Group     Otto Germany Catalogues, retailing € 10.13 € 9.90 100%
38 Haci Omer Sabanci Holdings  Sabanci Turkey Conglomerate € 9.57 € 10.10    60.60%
39 Tchibo Holding     Herz Germany Coffee, tobacco € 8.91 € 9.10 82.50%
40 Lactalis      Besnier France Dairy products € 8.50 € 9.35 100%
41 Oetker Group    Oetker Germany Conglomerate € 7.96 € 9.24 100%
42 Porsche   Porsche/Piech Germany Automobiles € 6.60* € 7.46* 53.7% - 46.3%4
43 Jeronimo Martins    Soares dos Santos Portugal Food retailing € 7.32 € 6.80 56.10%
44 Schaeffler Group     Schaeffler Germany Automobiles & parts € 7.30 € 8.90 100%
45 Liebherr Group   Liebherr Germany Construction machinery € 6.96 € 8.40 100%
46 Colruyt     Colruyt Belgium Supermarkets € 6.70* € 6.20* 47%
47 Acciona Entrecanales Spain Construction   € 6.50   € 12.60 59%
48 Ferrero  Ferrero Italy Confectionary € 6.35* € 6.20*   100%
49 C&A Brenninkmeijer Netherlands Retailing € 6.30* € 5.20*    100%
50  Bolloré Bolloré France Holding company € 6.01 € 7.20 67.10%
51 ERG Garrone Italy Oil, Energy € 5.98 € 11.40 55.94%
52 Italmobiliare Pesenti Italy Financial holding company € 5.36 € 6.15 47.27%
53 Richemont Rupert Switzerland Luxury goods € 5.17 € 5.41 50%5
54 Luxxottica Del Vecchio Italy Eyewear € 5.09   € 5.20 70%
55 Italcementi Pesenti Italy Cement producer € 5.01 € 5.70 60.26%
56 Wendel Wendel France Investment € 4.87 € 5.00 36%
57 Pirelli Pirelli Italy Auto parts € 4.46 € 4.60 46.20%
58 Stemcor Oppenheimer UK Steel   € 4.31 € 6.30 71%
59 Cofide De Benedetti Italy Holding company € 4.20 € 4.70 45%
60 Barilla Group Barilla Italy Food € 4.17 € 4.50   85%
61 Dogus Group   Sahenk Turkey Holding company € 4.00   € 3.50 100%
62 Swire Group     Swire UK Commercial € 3.94 € 4.50 66%
63 Swatch Group    Hayek Switzerland Watches € 3.93 € 4.50 51%
64 Mediaset         Berlusconi Italy Media € 3.88 € 4.10 38.62%
65 European Metal Recycling Sheppard UK Recycling € 3.77 € 3.50 98%
66 Danfoss Group        Clausen Denmark Industrial    € 3.44 € 3.69 97%
67 Dassault Group Dassault France Conglomerate € 3.20 € 3.75 100%
68 Bonnier       Bonnier Sweden Media € 3.29 € 3.10 100%
69 EFG Group Latsis Luxembourg Finance € 3.20 € 3.40 100%
70 Prisa Polanco Spain Media € 3.16 € 3.64   30%
71 Espirito Santo Financial    Espirito Santo Portugal Finance € 2.90 € 2.60 41%
72 Miele Zinkann/Miele Germany Manufacturer € 2.83 € 2.70 51% - 49%6
73 SCH Group Rigby UK Engineering € 2.83 € 2.38 100%
74 Arnold Clark Automobiles Clark UK Automobiles € 2.69 € 2.63   100%
75 Indesit Merloni Italy Alliance components € 2.61 € 3.15 55.07%
76 Daily Mail and General Trust Harmsworth UK Media € 2.58 € 2.75   27%
77 Georg von Holtzbrinck  Holtzbrinck Germany Publishing/media € 2.50 € 2.58 100%
78 JCB Bamford UK Construction machinery € 2.45 € 2.38 100%
79 Bekaert Group     Bekaert Belgium Metal technologies € 2.44 € 2.66 39.01%
80 Bestway Pervez UK Retail € 2.31 € 2.26   66%
81 Groupe Bel Bel France Cheese € 2.22 € 2.21 71.24%
82 Bauer Verlags Gruppe   
     
84      
Bauer Germany Publishing house € 2.06 € 2.08 96%
83 Benetton Group Benetton Italy Retail € 2.05 € 2.12 67.08%
84 JC Decaux Decaux France Advertising € 1.92 € 2.16 70%
85 Hermes     Hermes France Personal goods € 1.91 € 1.76   71%
86 Sir Robert McAlpine McAlpine UK Construction € 1.89 € 2.00 100%
87 Prada Prada/Bertelli Italy Luxury retailing € 1.80 € 1.65 95%
88 Wilkinson Wilkinson UK Retail € 1.72 € 1.62 100%
89 Lego Christiansen Denmark Toys € 1.57 € 1.30 100%
90 Bic Bich France Household goods & home construction   € 1.56 € 1.42 43.30%
91 Arnoldo Mondadori Editore  Berlusconi Italy Publishing € 1.54 € 1.89 50.41%
92 Roca Roca Spain Bathroom products € 1.40 € 1.62 100%
93 Clarks Clark UK Retail € 1.43 € 1.46 81%
94 Bibby Line Group Bibby UK Conglomerate € 1.33 € 1.32 88%
95 Matalan Hargreaves UK Retail € 1.24 € 1.13 100%
96 Biomerieux Mérieux France Health care equipment & services € 1.22 € 1.11 58.90%
97 Willmont Dixon Willmont Dixon UK Construction € 1.19 € 0.68 60-20%8
98 Senoble Senoble France Dairy € 1.10 € 1.10   100%
99 Lavazza Lavazza Italy Coffee € 1.09 € 1.12 100%
100 Campari Garavoglia Italy Drinks € 1.00 € 0.94 51%

 

1 The Robert Bosch Stiftung foundation holds a 92% stake, the Bosch family holds 7%
2 Voting rights
3 Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation holds 77.4% - Mohn family owns 23%
4 53.7% by Porsche family. 46.3% by Piëch family
5 Voting rights
6 51% Miele family, 49% Zinkanns
7 Voting rights
8 60% Willmont family 20% Dixon family
† Estimates
* Fiscal year

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