The Weston family-controlled company Wittington Investments has paid out a £73 million (€82.7 million) dividend, with the majority expected to go to good causes.
A spokesman for Wittington, which is 79% owned by the family's Garfield Weston Foundation and 21% owned by members of the Weston family, confirmed that the company saw its revenues rise by 9.9 per cent to £10.3 billion in the year to September 2010.
Wittington Investments owns London department store Fortnum & Mason and Heal's, as well as 54.5% of Associated British Foods, the parent company of high street retailer Primark. Third-generation George Weston is currently chief executive of ABF.
Through the foundation, the majority of the Wittington dividend will go to good causes, the spokesman said. The trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation, which was set up in the 1950s by Canadian Willard Garfield Weston, are all lineal descendants of the founder.
“Charitable giving is very important to the Weston family,” the spokesman added.
The foundation gave £1 million to the Royal Opera House in 2009, while the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sadler’s Wells and Rambert Dance Company also received substantial grants. It also gave away almost £12 million to education projects in 2009, including a donation of £3 million to the British Museum towards the new Research Institute for Science and Conservation.