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Germany's richest families benefit from retail recovery

The worldwide recovery in consumer spending helped to bolster the earnings of Metro AG, one of the world's biggest family-controlled retailers.
Metro reported earnings before interest and tax for the six months to the end of June rising to €369 million, from €302 million a year ago. Sales rose 2.4% to €31.2 billion. Non-family chief executive Eckhard Cordes said in a statement that Metro plans to rise capital spending to €2.1 billion in 2011, up from €1.9 billion this year.
The retailer, which has outlets throughout the world, is controlled by three of Germany's wealthiest families/individuals – founder Otto Beisheim, and the Haniel and Schmidt-Ruthenbeck families. Together, they control more than 60% of the shares in Metro.
Forbes estimated Beisheim's wealth at $3.6 billion and that of Michael and Rainer Schmidt-Ruthenbeck at $3.5 billion. Members of the Haniel family share ownership of Franz Haniel & Cie, a conglomerate whose businesses span pharmaceuticals, construction materials and environmental services. They control around 18% of Metro, and are estimated to be worth at least $10 billion.

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