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Family business roundup: Strong demand boosts European firms

By Rashmi Kumar

Much of Europe might be experiencing austerity, but some family businesses are reporting strong growth.

A German family-owned pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, said on 24 April that revenues for 2011 rose by 6.2% to €13.2 billion.

Much of this growth was due to the sale of prescription medicines, which accounted for 77% of total turnover, said the Ingelheim-based group.

French company Remy Cointreau, which is behind brands such as Remy Martin cognac, also saw sales rise by 13% for the year ending March 2012 to €1.03 billion.

According to the Paris-based business, controlled by the Heriard Dubreuil and Cointreau families, this was thanks to rising demand in the US and Asia, which saw double-digit organic growth over the period.

UK counterpart Associated British Foods, managed by the Weston family, also saw growth in revenue for the first half of fiscal 2012. The company, which is behind fashion retailer Primark, said today that interim sales for the six months ending 3 March rose by 11% to £5.7 billion (€6.7 billion).

“We expect substantial growth in both adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the group for the full year,” said George Weston, family member and chief executive of the London-based group.