Hennes & Mauritz, the fashion retailer controlled by the Persson family, posted strong quarterly results this week, while three other European family businesses saw their annual profits drop.
Sales at H&M were up 13.6% to SEK27.83 billion (€3.14 billion) in the three months to the end of February 2012, from SEK24.5 billion during the same period last year, the company said on 29 March.
Operating profit at the Swedish group also increased by 3.5% during the quarter to SEK3.53 billion, from SEK3.41 billion during the first quarter last year.
“Our collections have been well received, which has resulted in increased market share in a very challenging fashion retail market, and we have strengthened our position even further,” family member and chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said in a statement, adding that this "positive development" continued to be seen during the opening weeks of the second quarter.
However, in the Netherlands, trading group SHV Holding, which is controlled by the Fentener van Vlissingen family, said on 28 March that operating profit fell by 6.8% in 2011 to €911 million, from €977 million in 2010.
Revenues at the Utrecht-based company, which was established in 1896 and has operation spanning energy to engineering and retail, rose to €17.36 billion during the same period, from €16.01 billion the previous year – an 8.4% increase.
In a statement, the company blamed “ongoing economic fears” and “volatility in commodity prices and weather conditions” for the weak results.
In Germany, Bertelsmann, the media group controlled by the Mohn family, said on 28 March that operating EBITDA dropped by 5.5% in 2011 to €2.23 million.
Revenues at the family business, which controls a number of companies such as European broadcasting giant RTL and publisher Random House, grew by 1.2% to €15.25 billion in 2011, from €15.07 billion in 2010.
Similarly, Italian construction group Italcementi said revenues grew by 1.3% in 2011 to €4.72 billion, from €4.66 billion in 2010. But EBITDA at the firm, which is controlled by the Pesenti family, was €738 million, down 12% from €839 million in 2011.