It may be a difficult period for the European economy, but three family businesses in the region have reported strong results – British conglomerate Bibby Line Group saw its annual profit rise by more than 50%, while rival fashion retailers Inditex and H&M posted strong quarterly results.
Liverpool-based Bibby Line Group, which spans shipping to financial services and retail, said on 19 June that operating profit jumped by 56% to £63.8 million (€79.2 million) in 2011, from £40.8 million in 2010.
This was mainly due to strong growth at the group’s financial services division and at the company’s offshore unit, which supplies vessels and services to oil and gas companies. The unit benefited from increased demand for vessels and oil services in the North Sea.
Revenues at the family business, which is controlled by the founding Bibby family, also increased by 12% to £1.3 billion during the year, from £1.16 billion in 2010.
Family member and managing director Sir Michael Bibby said 2011 was an “exceptional year” for the group but added that it would “be difficult to dramatically improve on this result in 2012”.
In Sweden, Hennes & Mauritz, the fashion retailer controlled by the Persson family, saw revenues grow by 15% to SEK31.66 billion (€4.18 billion) during the three months to 31 May.
Fellow fashion retailer Inditex, which is based in Spain, also said on 13 June that operating profit rose 34% to €577 million during the three-month period to 30 April, compared with €431 million during the same quarter last year.
The Ortega family-controlled group, which owns brands such as Zara, Bershka and Massimo Dutti, added that revenues increased by 15% to €3.42 billion during the quarter.