Top Ten Largest Family Businesses in Europe

Top Ten Largest Family Businesses in Europe
By Matti Blume [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Europe is home to some of the best-known family businesses in the world – its luxury, retail, and industrial sectors are littered with brands that have been under family control for many generations.

Check out our list of the top 10 Largest Family Businesses in Europe (based on revenue from the HSG / Global Family Business Index):

10. Roche Holding AG

Country: Switzerland

Industry: Pharmaceuticals

Revenue: $47.71 billion

Family: Hoffman-Roche family

Founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche to manufacture medicines on an industrial level, Roche has evolved into one of the largest healthcare companies in the world today. Roche is reputed as the world’s largest biotech company with 17 biopharmaceuticals in the market. The group is also a global leader in cancer research and treatment with innovative medicines produced against different kinds of cancer such as breast, skin, colon and more. The Basel, Switzerland company boasts over 90,000 employees working from its different facilities scattered across more than 100 countries.

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9. Groupe Casino

Country: France

Industry: Retail

Revenue: $49.1 billion

Family: Naouri family

Casino Group is one of the largest supermarket retailers in the world with net revenue of $49.1 billion from its global operations in 2015. The group has a well-established international footprint with over 15,300 sales outlets in France and in emerging and developing nations including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia , and 10 African countries. Saint-Étienne, France-headquartered retail giant also boasts 325,820 employees working from its supermarket chains, which include Géant, Monoprix, and Franprix.

8. Louis Dreyfus Company

Country: Netherlands

Industry: Agriculture

Revenue: $55.7 billion

Family: Louis Dreyfus family

Louis Dreyfus Company is the iconic holding company controlled by the Dutch Louis-Dreyfus family. The brand is a global leader in the production and processing of agricultural goods and is ranked as one of the world’s top 4 food commodities trader with about 500 million people fed and clothed each year through its products. Founded in 1851, the company has diversified into almost every product line in the food production value chain (from production to processing and transporting) and boasts an established international footprint with about 81 million tonnes of products delivered to customers in over 100 countries.

7. Auchan Holdings

Country: France

Industry: Retailing

Revenue: $57 billion

Family: Mulliez Family

Auchan Holdings (formerly known as Groupe Auchan) is the second largest retailer in France and one of the largest in the world with a revenue of $57 billion. The group is controlled by the Mulliez family which owns about 85.5% equity. Headquartered in Croix France, the holding company has a well-established international presence with 3,836 hypermarkets and convenience stores scattered across 16 countries. Attesting to the global nature of its operations, Auchan retail is the largest foreign investor in Russia with over $3 billion invested thus far in the country.

6. Peugeot SA

Country: France

Industry: Automotive

Revenue: $58.16 billion

Family: Peugeot family

Peugeot is the iconic French car manufacturer that belongs to the Groupe PSA, which also includes Citroën and Vauxhall Motors. Founded in 1810 as a coffee mill by the Peugeot family, Peugeot gradually evolved into an automobile manufacturer by the early 1900’s. Over the years the company won several awards for its innovative vehicles and is a four-time winner of the European Car of the Year award. It was also ranked as the second lowest CO2 emitter among car manufacturers. In recent times, the company’s revenue has been driven by sales in Iran and other European countries as it seeks to reduce its dependence on the French market.

5. ArcelorMittal

Country: Luxembourg

Industry: Steel

Revenue: $76.84 billion

Family: Mittal family

ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel manufacturer. Established in 2006 as a result of a takeover of Arcelor by Mittal Steel, the Boulevard d’Avranches, the Luxembourg-based company now has an international footprint in 60 countries. However, the company’s dominance in the industry has been severely challenged in recent times due to competition from rival Chinese steel manufacturers.

4. Schwarz Group

Country: Germany

Industry: Retail

Revenue: $91.1 billion

Family: Schwarz

Founded in 1930, the Schwarz Group has evolved to become Europe’s largest discount retailer with a revenue of over $91 billion in the financial year 2015/2016. Controlled by the Schwarz family, the Schwarz Group is the holding company of iconic supermarket brands and operates over 10,000 branches across the globe. In a move to gain entry into new markets dominated by larger retailers while maintaining its leading role in already conquered markets, Schwarz Group is presently investing heavily in new technology in its two major subsidiaries, Lidl and Kaufland.

3. BMW

Country: Germany

Industry: Automotive

Revenue: $92.18 billion

Family: Quandt Family

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) is the world’s leading manufacturer of luxury automobiles and motorcycles with 31 production plants in 14 countries. The Munich, Germany-headquartered automotive company also boasts over 122,000 employees that work from its facilities scattered across the globe. BMW has recorded impressive sales figures in recent times with over 2.24 million automobiles delivered in 2015. The company has also doubled down on its decision of launching a new plant in Mexico despite the threat by the President Donald Trump of having to pay a border tax for sales made in America.


Country: Italy

Industry: Investment company

Revenue: $136.4 billion

Family: Agnelli Family

Exor is one of the largest investment companies in Europe. Controlled by the Agnelli family, the investment titan makes long-term investments in industries across the board, mostly in Europe and in the United States. Its major investments include PartnerRe, football club Juventus F.C., The Economist Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, CNH Industrial, and Ferrari. The Turin-based company also boasts over 300,000 employees and posted revenue of $136.4 billion in 2015, making it the 2nd largest family business in Europe.

1. Volkswagen AG

Country: Germany

Industry: Automotive

Revenue: $213.29 billion

Family: Porsche Family

Volkswagen Group is one of the top 3 largest car companies in the world and the largest auto manufacturer in Europe. Based in Wolfsburg, Germany, the company operates 120 plants across 20 European countries and in 11 countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. The group has also witnessed phenomenal growth in its operations in recent times with 10.3 million vehicles sold in 2016 alone, up 3.8% from 2015.