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Family Business Roundup: Swatch, Dassault, and Maersk

By Michael Finnigan

Swatch first-half profit declines to lowest level in nearly a decade

Swiss watchmaker Swatch, owned by the Hayek family, reported its lowest first-half profit in seven years amid a challenging time for luxury goods.

According to a company statement, first-half operating profit declined 54% to CHF353 million ($359 million) but said it expects “clear growth” in the second half of the year. Swatch said July 15 that revenue fell about 12%.

The Biel, Switzerland-headquartered firm attributed its woes to weaker sales in key markets such as Hong Kong and Europe and falling demand across the luxury-goods sector.

Swatch anticipates clear growth in local currency in the second half of the year compared with the weaker second half of 2015, and thus an annual result closer or equivalent to last year.

Swatch was founded by Nicholas Hayek in 1983. It is now headed by his daughter, Nayla, who is chairwoman, and his son, Nick, who is chief executive.

Dassault Aviation profit down, deliveries cancelled

French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, owned by the eponymous family, posted lower than expected first-half revenues and reduced its Falcon business jet deliveries to 50 from 60 for 2016.

According to a company statement, first-half operating profit fell to €125 million ($137.66 million) from €144 million, while revenues slipped to €1.6 billion from €1.67 billion in 2015.

The 87-year-old firm, which is in the second generation, also said that it was waiting for the Indian government to sign a deal that will see the sale of 36 combat jets.

Dassault was founded in 1929 by Marcel Bloch as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch.

Maersk signs five-year carbon reduction scheme

Danish shipping company Maersk Line, owned by the McKinney-Moeller family, have signed a five-year carbon reduction pact with China's Huawei Technologies.

According to the shipping giant, the agreement will see both companies commitment to reduce Huawei's carbon emissions per container transported with Maersk Line by 18% from 2016 to 2020.

“For Maersk Line jointly signing a carbon pact is a milestone in our relationship with Huawei,” said head of Maersk Line Greater China Silvia Ding. “The partnership enables transparency related to container transportation, ultimately moving the sustainability agenda forward in China."

Ding added: "We are happy to contribute to Huawei's ambitions to reduce emissions in their value chain, as well as to take our business relationship to the next level by bringing sustainability elements into purchasing decisions.”

Controlled by the McKinney-Moeller family through a foundation, Maersk traces its roots to 1904 when it was set up by Arnold Peter Moeller. The firm had revenues of $40.3 billion in 2015.