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Family-controlled car businesses report strong profits

By Attracta Mooney

BMW and Porsche, two of Europe’s most recognisable family-controlled luxury car manufacturers, have reported strong profits for the first six months of the year, following difficult trading in 2010.

Porsche, which is majority owned by the Porsche and Piech families, saw pre-tax profits of €149 million for the first half of 2011, compared to a loss of €1.62 billion in the same period last year.

In February, it was announced the luxury carmaker's automotive arm would be merged with Volkswagen, helping to reduce the €9 billion debt burden Porsche built up while trying to take over its rival.

However, in its latest profit statement, Porsche warned uncertainties remain with regards to the tax framework for the merger.

Meanwhile, BMW, which is more than 45% owned by the Quandt family, showed record pre-tax profits at group level.

The company said the first six months of this year was its best ever half year, reporting a pre-tax profit at group level of €3 billion.

Johanna Quandt, the third wife of the late Herbert Quandt, currently owns 17% of the company and, with a fortune of $9.8 billion according to Forbes, is the seventh richest person in Germany. Herbert Quandt’s children, Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klaten, own 17.4% and 12.6% of the carmaker respectively.