Business

UK construction group Wates Group has acquired another family-owned building business, the third-generation Purchase Group, based in the Midlands town of Walsall. The family will stay in charge. 

Economists might find them hard to fathom, but there are good reasons that business families in Asia want to build conglomerates. For a start, it helps them diversify without having to sell their businesses. 

Hedge fund billionaire George Soros’ interest in a Spanish construction business raises and intriguing possibility – that he (or someone else) could mimic Warren Buffett’s investment strategy in Europe.

Western investors are looking for the next big thing in Africa, but as always it is families who have done the heavy lifting, and who created the continent’s thriving businesses in the first place.  

Before 1990, most of China’s many family-owned firms were wiped out, appropriated by the state. But since the country embraced capitalism a host of new family firms have sprung up. Here are five to watch. 

Turkey’s Ulker family have bought the firm that makes British biscuits such as Jaffa Cakes and Hobnobs, proving that if you know your stuff you can build a vast family business empire around the most modest of products. 

British hotelier Sir Rocco Forte has entered into a deal with the Italian government to open hotels in tourist hot-spots. The deal should secure the troubled group, and bring in some much-needed Chinese money.  

It might not be a household name, but Sweden’s Kinnarps is one of Europe’s biggest furniture makers. It combines a strong family tradition, roots in the town where it was founded with financial success. We met its non-family CEO. 

They are best-known for developing some of London’s most expensive property, so the rumour that the Candy brothers want to buy the FT seems bizarre. But families still own much of the world’s publishing businesses. So it might work. 

The business services group has bought Peter Leach & Partners, a London-based family business consultancy, to beef up its offering in the sector. Leach and his colleagues will start working for Deloitte in January.