Top Ten Largest Family Businesses in the World

Image by By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Family companies have a tremendous impact on the global economy, but the fact of the matter is that most people don’t realize this. Many think of family businesses as no more than their local family-run grocery store, but in truth, a large number of the largest companies in the world have a tradition of family-ownership.

In this list, we have compiled a list of the largest family businesses in the world by revenue (as of 2014).

10. ArcelorMittal

Family: Mittal

Country: Luxembourg

Sector: Steel

Revenue (2013): US$ 79.44 billion

The world’s largest steel manufacturer has been hit by falling demand in recent years led by the slowdown in China’s construction boom and soft demand in developed markets. However, this year saw ArcelorMittal post its first profits after years of losses, though analysts continue to forcast a tough road ahead. The steel giant is also Luxembourg’s largest private employer.

9. Hyundai Motor

Family: Chung

Country: South Korea

Sector: Automotive

Revenue (2013): US$ 79.76 billion

The world’s fourth largest automaker had a mixed year, as a strong local currency ate into profits despite a modest growth in sales. Investors will be keen to see how Hyundai competes with Japanese rivals benefiting from a devaluing yen after a major scare this year when Hyundai sank a record $10 billion for a prized piece of land in the prestigious Gangnam District in Seoul. The cash rich company has stated its intentions to turn the land into its new headquarters including a Hyundai-themed park.

8. BMW Group

Family: Quandt

Country: Germany

Sector: Automotive

Revenue (2013): US$ 100.97 billion

2014 is set to be a big year for the German automaker after it posted record sales and profits in 2013. BMW will look to maintain its lead in luxury vehicles as record sales in China and upbeat SUV sales continue to buoy the company’s prospects for the future. The company’s fortunes have also caused the ruling Quandt family to become the wealthiest people in Germany in 2014.

7. SK Holdings

Family: Chey

Country: South Korea

Sector: Energy

Revenue (2013): US$ 102.12 billion

SK Holdings had a remarkably tough 3013, which saw Chairman Chey Tae Won sentenced to four years in prison for embezzeling funds from SK companies to pay for losses incurred from his investments in derivatives. The resulting leadership vacuum have caused the company to post its worst consolidated earnings in the fourth quarter of 3013. While performance have improved in 2014, it remains to be seen how South Korea’s 3rd largest conglomerate will maintain momentum without the family leader.

6. Fiat S.p.A.

Family: Agnelli

Country: Italy

Sector: Automotive

Revenue (2013): US$ 109.62 billion

Italy’s largest automaker will no longer be known as Fiat S.p.A. as it completes its acquisition of Chrystler and rebrands itself as Fiat Chrystler Automobiles. The controlling Agnelli family has secured nearly 50% voting rights ahead of the debut of the newly merged company, tightening the family’s grip on the company and contrasting it with the Peugeot family, who were forced to relinquish control to gain much-needed investment for the French automaker.

5. Ford

Family: Ford

Country: United States

Sector: Automotive

Revenue (2013): US$ 146.91 billion

America’s second largest automaker posted one of the best years in its history in 2013 as strong North American sales expanded its market share and increased revenue. All eyes are on the 2014 launch of its best selling F-150 pickup, which was redesigned using lighter steel in order to raise fuel efficiency. Surging sales in China are also expected to make up for mixed performance in Europe, while North American sales will continue to be the most important market for Ford.

4. Samsung Electronics

Family: Lee

Country: South Korea

Sector: Electronics

Revenue (2013): US$ 208.93 billion

2014 is set to be a rough year for Samsung Electronics after a record-breaking 2013 in which the South Korean conglomerate established itself as the leader in the global smartphone market. An increasingly crowded market in developed economies combined with surging Chinese rivals boasting cheap lineups mean that the company will post falling profits for the foreseeable future.

3. Toyota Motor

Family: Toyota

Country: Japan

Sector: Automotive

Revenue (2013): US$ 256.45 billion

Toyota had a massive 2013, with huge profits and impressive earnings solidifying its status as the Japan’s largest automaker. The continued weakening of the yen orchestrated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambitious “Abenomics” program boosted Toyota’s profits by 94% at one point, and the company looks to benefit from this devaluation for the coming years.

2. Volkswagen

Family: Piëch/Porsche

Country: Germany

Sector: Automotive

Revenue (2013): US$ 261.53 billion

Germany’s lagest automaker had a mixed year, as the acquisition of Porsche did little to alleviate the struggling European auto sector. In fact, sales of automobiles in Europe fell to its lowest level in twenty years, as the region continues to fight economic doldrums. Things are looking up in 2014 however, as China’s sustained demand for luxury vehicles buoys sales for Volkswagen’s subsidiaries Audi and Bentley.

1. Wal-Mart

Family: Walton

Country: United States

Sector: Retail

Revenue (2013): US$ 476.29 billion

Wal-Mart holds the distinction of being not only the largest family business in the world, but also the largest company in the world. The famed (and often vilified) American retailer has experienced nearly two years of declining traffic in their U.S. stores, and the company has lowered its outlook this year due to increased health-care costs and higher e-commerce spending. While overseas sales have been solid, the crucial U.S. retail market looks to have another gloomy year, posing a challenge for Wal-Mart and other retailers.