One hell of a family business

Zara - the main Inditex brand has more than 2000 stores around the world

Zara - the main Inditex brand has more than 2000 stores around the world

Last week, Family Capital sung the praises of John Elkann and his investment group Exor, and nominated the Italian as the Investor of the Year. But if there was a prize for the top performing family business of 2015 Industria de Diseno Textil, better known as Inditex, the Spanish clothing group owned by Amancio Ortega and his family, would probably win.

The share price of Inditex has risen by more than 50% this year, outperforming pretty much every stock exchange index by a considerable margin. The market capitalisation of the company has now hit €108 billion, making it one of the biggest companies in the world - and that's just the free float, around 26% of the total share capital. Ortega owns around 60% of the business and members of his family own additional amounts. Bloomberg’s billionaire list reckons he’s the second wealthiest man in the world, and his wealth is growing much faster than number one on the list, Bill Gates.

But Inditex can probably be most proud of the fact that it’s outperforming its biggest rivals like H&M, Gap and the Japanese Uniqlo, which have a combined market capitalisation less than Inditex, and have all seen sales growth fall in 2015. In contrast, Inditex sales numbers look very healthy so far this year.

Led by one of the best CEOs in the world of business, Pablo Isla, Inditex looks to be unassailable in the retail clothing world in the years ahead. But one big question hangs over the business - when with Ortega, now 79, pass the running of the business over to his heir apparent and daughter, Marta Ortega Perez...