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Family business roundup: Antofagasta, Empire and Wacker see growth

By Rashmi Kumar

Be it in North America, South America or Europe, a number of family businesses have cemented their positions this week by reporting positive results for fiscal 2011.

Chilean mining company Antofagasta, controlled by the Luksic family, said on 13 March that preliminary sales for full-year 2011 rose to $6.07 billion (€4.64 billion), up from $4.57 billion the year before.

The growth in revenues was largely thanks to the setting up of a new copper plant last year, which helped boost the overall production of the metal, said the company in a statement.

Although listed on the London Stock Exchange, Antofagasta is 65% owned by the Luksic family. The results follow the unexpected resignation of chief executive Marcelo Awad last week, which led to family member and chairman Jean-Paul Luksic being named as the interim replacement.

Meanwhile, Empire Company, a Canadian holding firm controlled by the Sobey family, said it saw a 2.8% increase in sales for the third quarter of 2011.

Revenues at the business, which operates in the retail and real estate sectors, rose to $3.98 billion, compared to $3.88 billion for the same period in 2010.

Although sales rose marginally at the group, which was one of CampdenFB’s top 100 family businesses in North America last year, operating income fell to $123.2 million for the quarter ending 4 February 2012, from $140.1 million the year before.

But the drop wasn’t due to poor performance, said the company, but because operating income in the third quarter last year included a one-off gain of $28.5 million – this was due to a reduction in pre-tax expense.

Across the Atlantic, German family business Wacker said sales rose by 3% for fiscal 2011. Controlled by the eponymous family, the chemical company had revenues of €4.91 billion in 2011, up from €4.75 billion in 2010.

The Munich-based business is targeting €5 billion in revenues for fiscal 2012, according to a statement on 14 March.

Chaired by Peter-Alexander Wacker, the group also said it planned to invest around €1 billion this year for expanding its production capacity.

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