Italian family businesses Exor and Ferragamo both saw dramatic increases in profit in the third quarter of 2013, while revenue at Italian refinery business Saras was badly hit by the falling price of oil.
French telecommunication and construction company Bouygues, controlled by the eponymous family, reported third-quarter sales of €9,048 billion – level with the same period last year, but revenues for the first nine months of 2013 dipped 1% to €24,255.
Net profit for the quarter was up 25.9% to €360 million, although net profit for the nine months fell 2.8% to €548 million compared to the same period last year.
The company described its performance as "robust", despite unfavourable exchange rates impacting growth, and said it expected profitability to improve in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Net profit at the Agnelli family's holding company Exor was up 703% to €1.7 billion for the first nine months of 2013, while net profit for the quarter was up 45.5% to 71.6 million.
Exor said the dramatic increase for the nine months was primarily due to the sale of its stake in Swiss safety and quality testing company SGS for €2 billion in January,netting a capital gain on €1.53 billion.
It added lower financial expenses had saved a further €19.9 million for the first nine months of the year, with €11.4 million of this sum saved in the third quarter, which significantly boosted profit.
The Ferragamo family's fashion house saw revenues rise by 10% to €915 million for the fist nine months. Net profit was up 41% to €120 million and revenue for the third quarter, and revenues grew 8.5% to €290 million.
Asia, excluding Japan, was the group's strongest region by sales for the nine-month period, with sales growing 12%, and it saw double-digit growth in all regions except Japan, which grew only 2%.
In Germany, pharmaceuticals business Merck, which is 70% owned by the eponymous founding family, saw sales dip 4% to $11 billion compared to the third quarter of 2012.
It said 2% of this drop was down to unfavourable exchange rates. Net income fell 34% to €1.1 billion.
Despite this, the company was optimistic, saying the results were solid, and that it had strong contributions from its vaccine, immunology and HIV businesses.
French food services and facilities management conglomerate Sodexo reported revenue rises of 0.9% to €18.4 billion for fiscal 2013, and operating income rose 5.2% to €530 million.
Sodexo, controlled by the Bellon family, said the growth was driven by greater demand for its facilities management services, and also growing interest in its "benefits and rewards," which is a system whereby employers or other organisations can offer rewards to their employees through gift card or meal card schemes.
Italian oil refinery and energy family business Saras had a tough quarter – revenues for the third quarter fell by 8.5% to €2.9 billion compared to 2012, while revenues for the nine months were down 6.8% to €8.3 billion.
Overall, the company made a net loss for the nine months of €237.6 million, compared to a loss of €7.7 million at the same time last year.
Second-gen chairman Gian Marco Moratti said: "The third quarter was extremely difficult for the European refining sector, because the refining margins dropped to an all-time low."
In April, the family sold a 21.5% stake in the business to Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft, and Moratti said Saras was still developing the business model for this new partnership.