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FB roundup: Monarch, trust, and BMW

By Alexandra Newlove

Monarch collapse causes chaos

A brief “sorry” message on a bland website spells the end for an airline which has flown millions of Britons to exotic locations.

The UK's fifth biggest airline was placed into administration on 2 October, stranding more than 100,000 holiday makers and forcing UK authorities to carry out the largest peacetime repatriation in history. Another 750,000 passengers had their bookings cancelled.

Monarch Airlines has been in family ownership since it was founded in 1967 by the family of Swiss businessman Sergio Mantegazza. Greybull Capital, a Knightsbridge-headquartered private office run by brothers Nathaniel and Marc Meyohas, bought the budget carrier in 2014 for £125 million ($163 million), briefly returning it to profit in 2015.

But the airline's 2016 results were gloomy after tourist access was closed to two of its biggest markets, Egypt and Tunisia, following terror attacks. Unrest in Turkey also affected the airline, while a falling pound saw it paying more for fuel.

Greybull released a statement this week saying it was “deeply saddened” by the closure.

“We are very sorry that we have not been able to turn around The Monarch Group, and for all the inconvenience and distress that this Administration will cause customers, employees, and the many people who are associated with Monarch,” a spokesperson said.

Family business trust on 'foundation of sand'

People tend to trust family businesses more than non-family companies, but this advantage may be squandered by the fact customers cannot identify which companies are family run.

This fact was among the findings of Edelman's 2017 Trust Barometer—Special Report: Family Business, a 15,000-respondent study across 12 global markets.

Three-quarters said they trusted family businesses more, and 66% were willing to pay more for their products and services, yet only half knew which companies they buy from are family businesses.

Richard Edelman, chief executive of communications giant Edelman, said the family trust advantage was sitting on a “foundation of sand”.

Family businesses were not viewed as job creators, despite creating up to 80% of all jobs, Edelman said. They were also less likely to be considered long-term thinkers, innovators, and drivers of financial success.

“Inherited wealth is also viewed with suspicion,” Edelman said. “…these views cast a dark shadow on the next generation of family business leaders, who are starkly distrusted.”

Edelman said it was important for family businesses to preserve trust by taking a stand on issues affecting customers and employees, including pay equality and creating jobs in their key markets.

BMW told to refund bogus fee

In a decision likely to have wide-reaching implications for South Africa's auto industry, BMW's financial services arm has been ordered to refund customers a bogus “on the road” fee of up to 6000 rand ($450).

BMW was unable to satisfy SA's National Credit Regulator that the fee is legitimate, as it was unclear what it was for.

Such fees are routinely added to credit agreements at dealerships in SA. The regulator said it was unclear how many customers would need to be refunded.

The Timesreported that when pressed, dealerships gave a variety of reasons for the fee including “valet, fuel and even gifts”.

BMW is controlled by Germany's Quandt family, with 2016 global revenue of more than $110 billion.

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