Mid-sized family businesses embrace globalisation to grow, new research says

Key findings

  •  While over half (62%) of the world’s top fast growing, mid-sized family businesses come from Europe or North America, their operating businesses reach far and wide across the globe. They are active across 3.7 regions on average;
  • These family businesses often focus on a single sector for their success;
  • They are predominantly active in ‘Retail, Consumer Goods and Lifestyle’ (24%) and ‘Agriculture, Food and Beverage’ (24%);
  • People are their key strength - they employ 15,000 workers on average;
  • Corporate Social Responsibility is important to their business success and is a way to engage the next generation of family members.   

London, 29th March 2017

Campden Wealth Research, in partnership with Citi Private Bank, has today launched the Top 50 Global Challengers study. The new research celebrates the growth of mid-sized family businesses around the world. It profiles 50 fast growing family businesses with turnover between $200 million - $6 billion.

Masters of one trade, rather than jack of all trades

The majority of the family businesses highlighted have found success through expanding their operations internationally via a single sector approach. Forty-three of the 50 family businesses noted that they operate within one sector, with a reach that spans 3.7 regions on average.

While these businesses focus across 14 different sectors, they are predominantly active in the secondary economy (the production of goods from raw materials), with nearly half residing in either ‘Retail, Consumer Goods and Lifestyle’ (24%) and ‘Agriculture, Food and Beverage’ (24%). Thus, it has been the mass market production of consumer goods, distributed internationally, which has driven the successful expansion of many of these firms.

Philip Watson, Head of Global Investment Lab for Citi Private Bank says, “These sectors have benefited from significant population growth, urbanisation, mass market production and a focus on meeting consumer demands. With the advantage of requiring relatively low capital investment in the early stages, families and their businesses have developed strong and often highly competitive ecosystems within their sectors.”

Manpower is a key input for these family businesses

These family businesses are large employers of people, on average hiring over 15,000 workers each. This underscores the economic and social importance of these companies, particularly within the local economies within which they operate.

Dr. Rebecca Gooch, Research Director for Campden Wealth, commented on the findings, “Our research highlights that The Global Top 50 Challengers are major employers of people all around the world. Getting the best out of their large workforce and ensuring that this will lead to their continued growth is a key ingredient for the success of these family businesses.”

CSR is at the centre of these businesses

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies are very much in evidence among the Top 50 Global Challengers, with a high incidence of reporting impact and having procedures for CSR policies within the areas of social (86%) and environmental (82%) impact, and employee involvement (74%).

Interviews with family business advisors also evidence that CSR policies are a powerful tool to ensure that future generations remain active in the family business.

Philip Watson highlights, “Strong CSR can help build the reputation of companies, as well as their controlling families and key stakeholders. Doing good for society and the environment, and philanthropy helps consumers associate and build loyalty with brands.”

Notes for editors:

About the research

In order to be considered for the list of Top 50 Global Challengers, companies had to have turnover of between $200 million – $6 billion, be at least 50% family-owned and have second generation family members or later involved in the business. The final qualifying and ranking criterion, sales growth, was calculated by taking an average of the two most recent years of annual growth.

Prospective family businesses for the initiative were identified in three ways:

• Direct entry by family businesses following the promotion of the initiative within the Campden Wealth community and publicity by CampdenFB.

• Nominations of family businesses from the advisory community that Campden Wealth has built up.

• Extensive secondary research on family businesses utilising Campden’s database of family businesses and institutional knowledge.

All the data on the profiled companies was either sourced from the family businesses themselves or through publicly available information. Much of the secondary data was obtained from the profiled companies’ websites with some level of judgement applied. While due care was taken, this data was not verified by the company, and therefore its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Media Contacts:

Campden Wealth:           Dr. Rebecca Gooch

                  +44 (0) 203 763 2806


Citi Private Bank:            Belinda Marks


                   +44 (0)207 508 3082


About Campden Wealth

Campden Wealth is the leading independent provider of information, education and networking for generational family business owners and family offices globally in person, in print, via research and online.

Campden Research supplies market insight on key sector issues for its client community, and their advisors and suppliers. Through in-depth studies and comprehensive methodologies, Campden Research provides unique and proprietary data and analysis based on primary sources.

Campden Wealth also publishes the leading international business title CampdenFB, aimed at members of family-owned companies in at least their second generation. Campden Wealth further enhanced its international reach and community with the acquisition of the Institute for Private Investors (IPI), the leading membership network of private investors in the United States, founded in 1991 and with the establishment of Campden Family Connect PVT. Ltd a joint venture with the Patni Family in Mumbai, India in 2015.

About Citi Private Bank

Citi Private Bank advises some of the world's wealthiest, most influential individuals and families. With approximately $390 billion in global assets under management, the franchise includes 48 offices in 16 countries, serving clients across 139 countries. The firm offers clients products and services covering capital markets, managed investments, portfolio management, trust and estate planning, investment finance, banking and aircraft finance, as well as art and sports advisory and finance.