The World's Largest Family Businesses

Spotlighting 116 billion-dollar family firms around the globe.

See the website: http://www.familybusinessmagazine.com/ 

When Family Business first sought to identify the largest family firms outside the U.S. last year, we came up with no fewer than 95 companies generating annual business of more than $1 billion (Winter 2001). “They may well represent just the tip of the iceberg,” we added. We were right. Even after eliminating several firms whose family credentials have been re-evaluated, this year we find at least 116 family firms at or above the $1 billion threshold.

These 116 firms are spread over 24 countries and a broad range of products and company types: public, private, group, holding company—and once again, we’ve probably missed a great many. Between shifting disclosure regulations and shifting currency exchange rates, pinning down precise numbers and owners is far more challenging for foreign companies than for those in the U.S., where we most recently found 138 billion-dollar firms (Autumn 2001).

Many foreign companies operate behind intricate holding-company structures that make ownership and even management difficult to define. For purposes of this global list, any company in which a family seems to exercise a significant presence—whether through ownership or management, but not necessarily both—has been included.

As we’ve done with our lists in the past, we invite readers to advise us of companies we’ve missed. In the meantime, the listed companies and their websites may provide you with useful insights, and perhaps even possible contacts as you ponder globalizing your own operation.

Two lessons spring to mind right off the bat:

First, outside the U.S., family companies are often the most potent institutions in society—more effective even than their national governments.

Second, in family business as in everything else, great size isn’t necessarily synonymous with success. The No. 1 firm on our list is the Koo Cha-kyung family’s LG Group (formerly Lucky Goldstar). With South Korea’s largest chemical company as well as subsidiaries in telecommunications, consumer electronics and financial services, LG is one of South Korea’s five mammoth chaebols—that is, family-run industrial groups. But the chaebols are in trouble these days, and most of them, including LG, are being reorganized.

The apparent motto: Size, like everything else, can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you do with it.

Number in parentheses is last year’s ranking. NR = Not ranked last year.

Revenue figures are most recent available. * = Public company

 


1. LG Group (51)
Koo family
Conglomerate/Seoul, South Korea
Revenues: $81 billion
Employees: 130,000
www.lg.co.kr

2. Ifi Istituto Finanziario Industriale S.p.A.* (NR)
Agnelli family
Diversified holdings/Turin, Italy
Revenues: $63 billion
Employees: 244,385
www.gruppoifi.com

3. Carrefour Group* (3)
Defforey family
Retailing/Paris, France
Revenues: $61 billion
Employees: 330,247
www.carrefour.com

4. Fiat Group* (1)
Agnelli family
Automobiles/Turin, Italy
Revenues: $57.7 billion
Employees: 224,000
www.fiat.com/eng

5. PSA Peugeot\Citroën S.A.* (2)
Peugeot family
Automobiles/Paris, France
Revenues: $41.6 billion
Employees: 172,400
www.psa-peugeot-citroen.com

6. Novartis Group* (12)
Landolt family
Health & personal care/Basel, Switzerland
Revenues: $40.8 billion
Employees: 68,000
www.novartis.com

7. Santander Central Hispano S.A. (NR)
Botin family
Banking/Madrid, Spain
Revenues: $34.3 billion
Employees: 126,757
www.bsch.es

8. BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG)* (4)
Quandt family
Automobiles/Munich, Germany
Revenues: $33.3 billion
Employees: 93,624
www.bmw.com

9. Tengelmann Group (6)
Haub family
Retailing/Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany
Revenues: $30.8 billion
Employees: 200,000
www.tengelmann.de

10. Robert Bosch GmbH (7)
Bosch family
Auto parts/Gerlingen-Schillerhöhe, Germany
Revenues: $30 billion
Employees: 196,880
www.bosch.com

11. ALDI Group (9)
Albrecht family
Food retailing/Essen, Germany
Revenues: $27.5 billion
www.aldi.com

12. Samsung Electronics* (11)
Lee family
Electronics/Seoul, South Korea
Revenues: $27.1 billion
Employees: 55,000
www.samsungelectronics.com

13. Ito-Yokado* (5)
Ito family
Convenience stores/Tokyo, Japan
Revenues: $26.4 billion
Employees: 116,636
www.itoyokado.iyg.co.jp

14. J Sainsbury* (8)
Sainsbury family
Retail groceries/London, United Kingdom
Revenues: $24.9 billion
Employees: 185,200
www.j-sainsbury.co.uk

15. Pinault-Printemps Redoute* (13)
Pinault family
Retailing, etc./Paris, France
Revenues: $23.3 billion
Employees: 110,000
www.pprgroup.com

16. Auchan (10)
Mulliez family
Retailing/Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
Revenues: $22.1 billion
Employees: 135,000
www.auchan.com

17. Bouygues* (15)
Bouygues family
Construction/St. Quentin-en-Yvelines, France
Revenues: $17.9 billion
Employees: 118,645
www.bouygues.fr

18. Bertelsmann (19)
Mohn family
Publishing, media/Gütersloh, Germany
Revenues: $15.8 billion
Employees: 76,257
www.bertelsmann.de

19. Otto Group (14)
Otto family
Catalogs, retailing/Hamburg, Germany
Revenues: $15.6 billion
Employees: 75,962
www.otto.de

20. Michelin* (18)
Michelin family
Tires, travel
Clermont-Ferrand, France
Revenues: $14.9 billion
Employees: 128,122
www.michelin.com

21. Anglo-American* (24)
Oppenheimer family
Gold, diamonds/London, United Kingdom
Revenues: $14.8 billion
Employees: 249,000
www.angloamerican.co.uk

22. Hyundai Motor* (22)
Chung family
Automobiles/Seoul, South Korea
Revenues: $14.4 billion
Employees: 52,000
www.hyundai.net

23. Karstadt Quelle* (16)
Schickedanz, Riedel, Herl families
Retailing/Essen, Germany
Revenues: $14.3 billion
Employees: 88,163
www.karstadtquelle.com

24. Groupe Danone* (20)
Riboud family
Food products/Paris, France
Revenues: $13.4 billion
Employees: 86,657
www.danonegroup.com

25. Suntory Ltd. (23)
Saji/Torii family
Liquor/Osaka, Japan
Revenues: $12.23 billion
Employees: 4,873
www.suntory.co.jp/index.html

26. Lagardère* (21)
Lagardère family
Defense systems, magazines/Paris, France
Revenues: $12,17 billion
Employees: 43,902
www.lagardere.fr

27. Henkel Group* (25)
Henkel family
Chemicals/Düsseldorf, Germany
Revenues: $12.0 billion
Employees: 60,475
www.henkel.com

28. L'Oréal* (26)
Bettencourt family
Cosmetics/Clichy, France
Revenues: $11.9 billion
Employees: 48,222
www.loreal.com

29. Power Corporation of Canada (NR)
Desmarais family
Mutual funds, utilities/Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Revenues: $11.3 billion
Employees: 28,000
www.powercorp.ca

30. Cathay Life Insurance* (27)
Tsai family
Insurance/Taipei, Taiwan
Revenues: $11 billion
Employees: 31,000
www.cathlife.com.tw/index-en.htm

31. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton* (33)
Arnault family
Luxury goods/Paris, France
Revenues: $10.9 billion
Employees: 47,420
www.lvmh.com

32. Bombardier* (30)
Bombardier family
Aerospace, defense/Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Revenues: $10.7 billion
Employees: 58,000
www.bombardier.com

33. SHV Holdings N.V. (NR)
Fentener van Vlissingen family
Energy holdings/Utrecht, Netherlands
Revenues: $10.3 billion
Employees: 32,400
www.shv.nl

34. Gerling-Konzern Versicherungs-Beteiligungs AG (NR)
Gerling family
Insurance/Cologne, Germany
Revenues: $9.9 billion
Employees: 12,643
www.gerling.com

35. Grupo Carso* (52)
Slim family
Conglomerate/Mexico City, Mexico
Revenues: $9.68 billion
www.gcarso.com.mx

36. El Corte Inglés (35)
Alvarez family
Retailing/Madrid, Spain
Revenues: $9.66 billion
www.elcorteingles.es

37. Sodexho Alliance* (NR)
Bellon family
Food services/Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France
Revenues: $9.49 billion
Employees: 286,000
www.sodexho.com

38. Tchibo Holding (29)
Herz family
Coffee, tobacco/Hamburg, Germany
Revenues: $9.48 billion
Employees: 20,874
www.tchibo.de

39. Tetra Laval (32)
Rausing family
Packaging/Pully, Switzerland
Revenues: $8.9 billion
Employees: 37,000
www.tetrapak.com

40. Investor AB* (53)
Wallenberg family
Industrial holdings/Stockholm, Sweden
Revenues: $8.86 billion
Employees: 663
www.investorab.com

41. Holcim Ltd.* (NR)
Schmidheiny family
Cement/Glaris, Switzerland
Revenues: $8.7 billion
Employees: 44,316
www.holcim.com

42. Ikea (28)
Kamprad family
Furniture/Humlebaek, Denmark
Revenues: $8.5 billion
Employees: 58,000
www.ikea.com

43. Tata Enterprises (36)
Tata family
Textile, steel, autos/Mumbai, India
Revenues: $7.9 billion
Employees: 250,000
www.tata.com

44. Grupo Financiero BBVA-Bancomer* (39)
Garza family
Banking/Mexico City, Mexico
Revenues: $7.58 billion
Employees: 36,349
www.bancomer.com.mx

45. Kumagai Gumi Co. Ltd.* (NR)
Kumagai family
Contractor/Tokyo, Japan
Revenues: $7.57 billion
Employees: 6,573
www.kumagaigumi.co.jp

46. Empire Company Limited* (NR)
Sobey family
Supermarkets, real estate/Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Canada
Revenues: $7.48 billion
Employees: 34,500
www.empireco.ca

47. Hutchison Whampoa* (37)
Li family
Telecom, retail, energy/Hong Kong, China
Revenues: $7.3 billion
Employees: 50,000
www.hutchison-whampoa.com

48. Parmalat Finanziaria S.p.A.* (NR)
Tanzi family
Dairy products/Milan, Italy
Revenues: $6.9 billion
Employees: 38,303
www.parmalat.net

49. Koç Group* (44)
Koç family
Conglomerate/Istanbul, Turkey
Revenues: $6.58 billion
Employees: 45,626
www.koc.com.tr

50. Thomson Corp.* (41)
Thomson family
Media/Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Revenues: $6.51 billion
Employees: 39,330
www.thomcorp.com

51. Associated British Foods* (38)
Weston family
Food, household products/London, United Kingdom
Revenues: $6.4 billion
Employees: 34,372
www.abf.co.uk

52. SAP* (47)
Hopp family
Software/Walldorf, Germany
Revenues: $5.88 billion
Employees: 24,480
www.sap.com

53. Boehringer Ingelheim (45)
Boehringer family
Pharmaceuticals/Ingelheim Germany
Revenues: $5.83 billion
Employees: 27,325
www.boehringer-ingelheim.com

54. ERG S.p.A.* (NR)
Garrone family
Oil, energy/Genoa, Italy
Revenues: $5.722 billion
Employees: 1,395
www.erg.it

55. C&A (43)
Brenninkmeyer family
Retailing/Amsterdam, Netherlands
Revenues: $5.7 billion
Employees: 30,000
www.c-and-a.com

56. Haci Ömer Sabanci Holding* (46)
Sabanci family
Conglomerate/Istanbul, Turkey
Revenues: $5.626 billion
Employees: 30,150
www.sabanci.com.tr

57. Cemex* (49)
Zambrano family
Building, materials/Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Revenues: $5.624 billion
Employees: 20,000
www.cemex.com

58. McCain Foods Limited (NR)
McCain family
Food processing/Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada
Revenues: $5.6 billion
Employees: 16,000
www.mccain.com

59. Sonepar (NR)
Mulliez family
Electrical equipment
Paris, France
Revenues: $5.3 billion
Employees: 18,230
www.sonepar.com

60. Dogus Group (42)
Sahenk family
Banking, construction/Istanbul, Turkey
Revenues: $5.1 billion
Employees: 20,000
www.gbm.ru/garanti/holding.htm

61. Lazard LLC (48)
David-Weill family
Investment banking/Paris, France
Revenues: $5 billion
Employees: 2,750
www.lazard.com

62. Saudi Binladin Group (NR)
Bin Laden family
Conglomerate/Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Revenues: $5 billion
www.saudi-binladin-group.com

63. Fomento Económico Mexicano (FEMSA)* (55)
Garza family
Brewing/Monterrey, Mexico
Revenues: $4.7 billion
Employees: 41,367
www.femsa.com

64. Reliance Industries* (50)
Ambani family
Chemicals/Mumbai, India
Revenues: $4.5 billion
Employees: 15,912
www.ril.com

65. Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas* (56)
Koplowitz family
Construction/Barcelona, Spain
Revenues: $4.3 billion
Employees: 50,042
www.fcc.es

66. André & Cie S.A. (NR)
André family
Grain trading/Lausanne, Switzerland
Revenues: $4.2 billion
Employees: 1,430

67. Comp. Brasileira de Distribuic* (63)
Diniz family
Retailing/São Paulo, Brazil
Revenues: $4.19 billion
Employees: 50,106
www.grupopaodeacucar.com

68. Oetker Group (62)
Oetker family
Conglomerate/Hamburg, Germany
Revenues: $4.054 billion
Employees: 12,000

69. Bolloré* (59)
Bolloré family
Oil, transport/Puteaux, France
Revenues: $4.01 billion
Employees: 20,739
www.bollore.com

70. Espírito Santo Financial Group S.A.* (NR)
Espírito family
Insurance, banking/Luxembourg-Kirchberg, Luxembourg
Revenues: $3.803 billion
www.esfg.com

71. BCD Holdings (57)
van Vlissingen family
Travel, financial services/Netherlands
Revenues: $3.8 billion
Employees: 5,800
www.worldtravel.com

72. Otsuka Pharmaceutical (31)
Otsuka family
Pharmaceuticals, drinks/Tokyo, Japan
Revenues: $3.75 billion
www.otsuka.co.jp/menu-e.htm

73. Italmobiliare S.p.A.* (NR)
Pesenti family
Concrete, paper, services/Milan, Italy
Revenues: $3.73 billion
Employees: 20,519
www.italmobiliare.it

74. Porsche* (40)
Porsche-Piëch family
Automobiles/Stuttgart, Germany
Revenues: $3.44 billion
Employees: 9,064
www.porsche.com

75. Grupo Ferrovial* (67)
Del Pino family
Construction/Madrid, Spain
Revenues: $3.39 billion
Employees: 12,488
www.ferrovial.es/ingles/inicio.htm

76. Sun Hung Kai Properties* (64)
Kwok family
Real estate/Hong Kong, China
Revenues: $3.31 billion
Employees: 17,000
www.shkp.com.hk/eindex.html

77. Jerónimo Martins (60)
Soares dos Santos family
Food retailing/Lisbon, Portugal
Revenues: $3.3 billion

78. Dassault Aviation* (66)
Dassault family
Aviation/Paris, France
Revenues: $3.28 billion
Employees: 11,683
www.dassault-aviation.fr

79. Littlewoods Organisation (58)
Moores family
Retailing/Liverpool, United Kingdom
Revenues: $3.27 billion
Employees: 25,000
www.littlewoods.co.uk

80. Grupo Bimbo, S.A.* (NR)
Servitje family
Bread, tortillas/Mexico City, Mexico
Revenues: $3.261 billion
www.gibsa.com.mx

81. Metalúrgica Gerdau S.A.* (NR)
Gerdau family
Steel/Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Revenues: $3,16 billion
Employees: 12,340
www.gerdau.com.br

82. Grupo Modelo* (71)
Diez Fernandez family
Beer/Mexico City, Mexico
Revenues: $3.04 billion
Employees: 46,890
www.gmodelo.com.mx

83. H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB* (NR)
Persson family
Clothing retailer/Stockholm, Sweden
Revenues: $3 billion
Employees: 20,680
www.hm.com

84. Globo Group (68)
Marinho family
Media/São Paulo, Brazil
Revenues: $2.8 billion
Employees: 24,000
www.globocabo.com

85. Daily Mail and General Trust* (69)
Harmsworth family
Media/London, United Kingdom
Revenues: $2.72 billion
Employees: 18,000
www.dmgt.co.uk

86. Acciona* (72)
Entrecanales family
Construction/Madrid, Spain
Revenues: $2.70 billion
Employees: 16,921
www.acciona.es

87. Organización Soriana* (76)
Martin family
Supermarkets/Nuevo León, Mexico
Revenues: $2.63 billion
Employees: 23,730
www.soriana.com.mx

88. Mohammad Abdul-Mohsin Al-Kharafi & Sons (70)
Al-Kharafi family
Trading, contracting/Kuwait City, Kuwait
Revenues: $2.6 billion
www.kharafisteel.com

89. Labinal* (73)
Cler family
Engines/Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France
Revenues: $2.5 billion
Employees: 28,177
www.labinal.fr

90. Cheung Kong* (65)
Li family
Property developer/Hong Kong, China
Revenues: $2.491 billion
Employees: 5,160
www.ckh.com.hk

91. Inditex (74)
Ortega family
Clothing/La Coruna, Spain
Revenues: $2.42 billion
Employees: 24,004
www.inditex.com

92. Mercadona (75)
Roig family
Supermarkets/Valencia, Spain
Revenues: $2.3 billion
Employees: 21,000
www.mercadona.es

93. Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck (78)
Holtzbrinck family
Publishing/Stuttgart, Germany
Revenues: $2.2 billion
Employees: 12,600
www.holtzbrinck.com/eng

94. Grupo Televisa* (81)
Azcarraga family
Media/Mexico City, Mexico
Revenues: $2.16 billion
Employees: 19,900
www.televisa.com

95. Barilla G & R Fratelli S.p.A. (NR)
Barilla family
Pasta/Parma, Italy
Revenues: $2.14 billion
Employees: 8,500
www.barilla.it

96. COFIDE* (79)
De Benedetti family
Holding company/Turin, Italy
Revenues: $1.96 billion
Employees: 10,411

97. Swire Pacific Ltd.* (77)
Swire family
Real estate, investments/Hong Kong, China
Revenues: $1.93 billion
Employees: 60,000
www.swirepacific.com

98. Benetton Group* (80)
Benetton family
Fashion/Milan, Italy
Revenues: $1.9 billion
Employees: 6,672
www.benetton.com

99. Schroders* (61)
Schroder family
Money management/London, United Kingdom
Revenues: $1.85 billion
Employees: 4,747
www.schroders.com

100. Saudi Oger (82)
Al-Hariri family
Construction/Beirut, Lebanon
Revenues: $1.8 billion
www.saudioger.com

101. Bonnier AB (NR)
Bonnier family
Publishing/Stockholm, Sweden
Revenues: $1.78 billion
Employees: 10,702
www.bonnier.se

102. Publicis Groupe* (93)
Badinter family
Advertising/Paris, France
Revenues: $1.67 billion
Employees: 16,000
www.publicis.fr

103. Grupo Casa Saba* (87)
Saba family
Textiles, real estate
Mexico City, Mexico
Revenues: $1.62 billion
www.autrey.com

104. Gudang Garam* (85)
Wonowidjojo family
Tobacco/Kediri, Indonesia
Revenues: $1.54 billion
Employees: 40,000

105. Merloni Elettrodomestici* (83)
Merloni family
Appliance, components/Fabriano, Italy
Revenues: $1.51 billion
Employees: 13,672
www.merloni.it

106. Garanti Bank (54)
Sahenk family
Finance/Istanbul, Turkey
Revenues: $1.496 billion
www.garantibank.com

107. JCB (86)
Bamford family
Construction/Cotswold, United Kingdom
Revenues: $1.302 billion
Employees: 3,847
www.jcb.com

108. Visy Industries (84)
Pratt family
Paper/Melbourne, Australia
Revenues: $1.3 billion
www.visy.com.au

109. C&J Clark International Ltd. (NR)
Clark family
Shoe manufacturer/Somerset, United Kingdom
Revenues: $1.28 billion
Employees: 15,114
www.clarks.co.uk

110. Roca Radiadores* (88)
Roca family
Sanitary products/Spain
Revenues: $1.2 billion
www.roca.es

111. Serono Group* (92)
Bertarelli family
Pharmaceuticals/Geneva, Switzerland
Revenues: $1.198 billion
Employees: 3,965
www.serono.com

112. Lego Group (91)
Kristiansen family
Toys/Billund, Denmark
Revenues: $1.193 billion
Employees: 7,669
www.lego.com

113. Hermès International* (NR)
Hermès family
Leather goods, etc./Paris, France
Revenues: $1.09 billion
Employees: 4,642
www.hermes.com

114. Bankinter, S.A.* (NR)
Botin family
Banking/Madrid, Spain
Revenues: $1.05 billion
Employees: 2,919
www.bankinter.es

115. Mabuchi Motor Co.* (89)
Mabuchi family
Motors/Chiba-ken, Japan
Revenues: $1.01 billion
Employees: 60,511
www.mabuchi-motor.co.jp/eng/index.html

116. Chanel (95)
Wertheimer family
Fashion, perfume
Neuilly, France
Revenues: $1 billion
www.chanel.com

 


 

Sources and acknowledgments

Forbes list of "The World’s Working Rich"; Forbes International 800; Hoover’s Online Company Directory; Jane’s Major Companies of Europe; Ian Partridge (Loedstar S.A., Geneva, Switzerland); S.J. Taqi (IMC Business Communications, Geneva, Switzerland); William T. O’Hara (Bryant College, R.I.); Fernando Casado and Adriana Schultz (Instituto de la Empresa Familiar, Barcelona, Spain); Ludo Van der Heyden (INSEAD, Fontainebleu, France); François de Visscher (de Visscher & Co., Greenwich, Conn.); Howard Muson.

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