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Family companies see faster than expected recovery

Further evidence that businesses are beginning to turn the corner has been provided three family companies this week, all of which have reported stronger than expected growth for the first quarter of 2010. 

Family-controlled automaker Ford, which was forced to sell Volvo for a huge loss only last month, reported a first quarter net income of $2.1 billion, a staggering $3.5 billion improvement on the same period for 2009. This figure excludes Volvo data, which Ford sold for $1.8 billion to China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company in March. (Continue reading here)
In a statement released yesterday, the company said: "Ford's performance this year is off to a more encouraging start than anticipated."
Non-family president and CEO Alan Milally said: "We remain cautiously optimistic about positive signs emerging in the global economy, while knowing that the recovery is fragile and the global auto industry continues to deal with excess capacity. For us, the most important thing we can do is to stay focused and continue to make progress on our plan."
McGraw-Hill Companies, the family-controlled publisher, also announced better than expected financial results for the start of 2010, with revenues of $1.2 billion.
Harold McGraw III, fourth-generation chairman, president and chief executive of the McGraw-Hill Companies, said: "Recovery in global bond markets, solid results in US higher education, which is benefiting from double digit growth in digital products and services and an outstanding performance in global energy information markets were major factors in our first quarter.
"We are off to a good start," he concluded.
The company took a series of difficult decisions throughout 2009, including the sale of its flagship publication Business Week, in order to refocus the group's activities on its core areas of educational publishing and financial services information. (Continue reading here)
Meanwhile Continental AG, the car parts manufacturer taken over in 2008 by family-owned Schaeffler KG, has returned to profit in the first quarter of 2010 for the first time since 2008, with revenues of nearly €6 billion and better then expected growth.
Continental board chairman Elmar Degenhart said: "In the first three months of 2010, our business continued to stabilise substantially. Sales and EBIT form a very firm basis for us to achieve the corporate goals we have set for 2010." He went on to say full-year sales might beat its forecast growth for 2010.
Degenhart was appointed as Continental chairman in August 2009 by the Schaeffler family as it attempted to stamp its influence on the company after the hostile takeover. (Continue reading here)

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