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Family business roundup: Canadian and European groups remain buoyant

By Rashmi Kumar

Family businesses such as Power Corporation of Canada, Hennes & Mauritz and Zodiac have not just had a good 2011 but also a positive beginning to 2012.

Montreal-based Power Corporation of Canada, the financial services and communication company controlled by the Desmarais family, said revenues for fiscal 2011 rose to CAD$32.9 billion (€25.3 billion), up from CAD$32.8 billion the year before.

Despite just a marginal increase, the company, chaired by family member Paul Desmarais, saw operating earnings attributable to shareholders rise to CAD$1.15 billion, compared to CAD$957 million in 2010.

This was thanks to strong performance at one of its financial subsidiaries, the company said in a statement on 14 March.

Meanwhile, two family businesses in Europe, operating in varied sectors, have had a good start to fiscal 2012.

Swedish fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz, controlled by the Persson family, said sales including VAT for the first quarter increased by 13%.

For the three months ending 29 February, revenues rose to SEK32.5 billion (€3.64 billion), up from SEK28.7 billion during the same period last year.

Headed by third-generation Karl-Johan Persson, the family-controlled group also said the number of H&M stores increased to 2,491 at the end of February 2012, up from 2,212 during the same time in 2011.

French counterpart Zodiac Aerospace, which produces aerospace equipment such as safety systems and cabin interiors, said sales for the first half of 2011/2012 increased by 19.6%.

In a statement on 14 March, the Domange family-controlled business reported revenues of €1.56 billion for the six months ending February 29, compared to €1.3 billion for the same period the previous year.

Thanks to this boost, the company, chaired by family member Didier Domange, said it was positive about growth for the rest of the year.