Our case studies

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.

The people behind the stories

Beyond the fifth generation: From ‘family business’ to ‘business family’ in Finland

Beyond the fifth generation: From ‘family business’ to ‘business family’ in Finland

The Ahlström family are one of Finland’s most significant industrial dynasties, with a tradition of entrepreneurship and philanthropy that goes back 165 years. Their most prominent achievement was founding the Ahlstrom paper company back in 1851, which is now (without the umlaut) one of the world’s largest and most successful fibre-based businesses.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
A home-made success story: Organic growth and organic food in the US

A home-made success story: Organic growth and organic food in the US

It would be hard to find a better example of what a family firm can achieve than Amy’s Kitchen. In 30 years, Rachel and Andy Berliner have gone from making food in a small kitchen to fund their daughter’s college fees, to owning and managing a multi-million dollar organic food business that’s so successful it doesn’t even need to advertise.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
From private firm to private equity: The cycle of growth in India

From private firm to private equity: The cycle of growth in India

Apollo Hospitals is one of the leading hospital chains in India, with an international reputation and an outstanding track record in harnessing the power of new technology. The business was founded by Dr Prathap C. Reddy in the 1980s, when he returned from working in the US and saw how far Indian healthcare was lagging behind. He galvanised a group of doctors from across India and beyond to invest in a hospital, and it opened in Chennai in 1983.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Writing down the ‘unwritten rules’: Professionalisation in Malaysia

Writing down the ‘unwritten rules’: Professionalisation in Malaysia

The Malaysian conglomerate AZRB is a good example of many of the themes brought out in this year’s survey. The company was founded in 1982 by a strong and visionary entrepreneur, and by 2010 had grown into a company with total assets amounting to $417m, trading in Asia and the Middle East, with interests in construction, infrastructure, plantation, oil & gas, and property development.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Protection, promotion, and posterity: The business of heritage in the UK

Protection, promotion, and posterity: The business of heritage in the UK

Blenheim Palace is one of the most spectacular buildings in the UK, and a World Heritage site. It was built to celebrate the battle victory of the first Duke of Marlborough, and 300 years later is still the family home of the 12th Duke, which makes it one of the most enduring ‘family concerns’ we’ve ever profiled.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
'Family, country, and community': Giving something back in South Africa

'Family, country, and community': Giving something back in South Africa

One of the family firm’s great strengths is its rootedness in its community. We’ve interviewed companies for this survey in the past that have been going for over fifty years and have worked with the same suppliers all that time. Many family firms turn these relationships into a unique competitive advantage, and take pride in the positive role they play in creating local employment, and supporting local communities. The Bosveld Group, of South Africa, is a great example.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
The right tools for the job: Succession in Austria

The right tools for the job: Succession in Austria

These days the Haidlmair tool manufacturing business is a high-tech success story selling all over the world, but it has its roots in the smithy in the family’s home town of Nussbach, which was run by the current CEO’s grandfather. Mario Haidlmair took over in 2012, and there’s still a very strong family presence both as managers and owners: his brother is group controller, his mother an accountant, and his wife involved in sales.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
‘Changing the way the world sleeps’: Innovation and reinvention in the UK

‘Changing the way the world sleeps’: Innovation and reinvention in the UK

The Harrison Spinks bed business is now into its fifth generation with three generations still involved in the business. Harrison Beds spent the majority of the 20th century as a mid-range mattress manufacturer, with a solid reputation and solid returns, though very little real growth. Then the ‘90s recession hit and the business suddenly found itself in trouble.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
From Przemyśl to premieres: Growing a global brand in Poland

From Przemyśl to premieres: Growing a global brand in Poland

It’s a long way from a town in southern Poland to the bright lights of Broadway and the catwalks of Fashion Week, but one family firm has not just gone the distance, but done it in style. Inglot Cosmetics was founded 33 years ago by Wojciech Inglot, supported by his sister Elżbieta.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Insights from Sir Graeme Avery

Insights from Sir Graeme Avery

Sir Graeme Avery has had a long and successful career as an entrepreneur. He set up the Adis International medical publishing group, having identified a gap in the medical journals market, and made it into a world-leading scientific publisher. That business was sold in 1996, and Sir Graeme moved into wine, which had always been a passion and now became a business. He is President of Sileni Estates, New Zealand, which has grown from 2,000 cases in 1998 to 750,000 cases now, and is about to make the transition to its second generation. He is also a prominent and respected philanthropist. We talked to him about being an entrepreneur, going digital, and understanding millennials. Here’s what he had to say.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Technology, Innovation, People: Growth and diversification in India

Technology, Innovation, People: Growth and diversification in India

In this year’s Survey, 57% of those questioned believe that family businesses are able to re-invent themselves with each new generation. But there are few firms that can demonstrate it as powerfully as the JBM Group in India, recognised for the second year in a row as one of the fastest-growing companies in Fortune India’s Next 500.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
‘Still hungry for success’: Transforming a tenth-generation business in Germany

‘Still hungry for success’: Transforming a tenth-generation business in Germany

We’ve rarely had a case study from a business that’s reached its tenth generation, and only a tiny percentage ever make it that far. But the German firm, Carl Kühne GmbH & Co. KG is an outstanding example of how a family business can not just survive but thrive for over 300 years. So how have they done it? We asked Stefan Leitz, the current chairman of the management board.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
The sweet smell of success: Innovation and internationalisation in France

The sweet smell of success: Innovation and internationalisation in France

The Mane Group is a fascinating business. Founded in 1871, it’s now a billion-dollar company, operating in 32 countries, with 92% of that revenue generated outside France. And it has built its success by applying the power of technology to the time-honoured skills of using aromatic raw materials to create scents for perfume, and flavours for food. The result? Market leading positions not just in fragrances and flavourings, but state-of-the-art pharmaceutical compounds too.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Breaking new grounds: Managing and mentoring in Canada

Breaking new grounds: Managing and mentoring in Canada

Mother Parkers is one of the largest coffee and tea suppliers in North America and can trace its roots back to 1912. With Paul and Michael Higgins at the helm of the family business, they have recently sought to professionalize the organization by bringing in a President from outside the family.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Looking good on paper:  From first to second generation in Mexico

Looking good on paper: From first to second generation in Mexico

Agustín Anaya is one of Mexico’s most successful entrepreneurs. He’s set up over 15 ventures in his time across a variety of sectors including construction, but his first and greatest love has always been the paper industry. The business he founded in 1993, Papeles y Conversiones de México, or PCM, is now the third biggest producer of paper rolls in the world and the second on the American continent. It also has market-leading positions in other products such as labels.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Building and rebuilding: Managing through change in Australia

Building and rebuilding: Managing through change in Australia

Dan Perkins runs a successful construction business set up in 1965 by his father and uncle. He trained in carpentry and gained a building qualification after he left school, and since then has worked for the family firm, though that included some time abroad getting experience in the UK.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Success factors: Tech’s appeal in Greece

Success factors: Tech’s appeal in Greece

Plaisio SA is one of the most recognised retail names in Greece. What started in 1969 as a ten square metre shop in a well-known area of Athens, has now grown into one of the country's largest retailers of technology products - a genuinely multichannel business producing and selling computers, tablets, phones and other consumer electronics.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
‘A sense of responsibility’: Family, community and nation in Oman

‘A sense of responsibility’: Family, community and nation in Oman

SABCO was set up in Oman in 1977, by Sayyid Hamad Bin Hamood Albusaidi and his two sons, Sayyid Sami and Sayyid Badr. The business was founded with a mission to provide local infrastructure and employment, and play an active role in nation-building. Forty years later, it’s a diversified conglomerate headquartered in Muscat, which now includes members of the third generation as owners.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Professional, practical, adaptable: Success and succession in India

Professional, practical, adaptable: Success and succession in India

Sreekanth Reddy is Executive Director of Sagar Cements, a second-generation Indian business initially founded by four friends forty years ago. It’s split several times since then, most decisively in 1992, when Sreekanth’s father and brother took control of the business as it is today.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Traditional values, new challenges: Family firms in the Middle East

Traditional values, new challenges: Family firms in the Middle East

As we’ve discussed in previous reports, family businesses are especially important in the Middle Eastern economies, contributing 60% to GDP and employing over 80% of the workforce. Many of the region’s largest companies are family-controlled, and in a sector like retail, some of the biggest Western brands are actually managed as franchise operations by local family firms.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Traditional values: Taking a long view in Australia

Traditional values: Taking a long view in Australia

Taplin Real Estate is the oldest real estate agency in South Australia, and quite possibly the oldest family business in the sector across the whole of the country. It was started by Wilfred Taplin in 1932, who then introduced his son, Noel, to the industry and he is still an active and passionate Chairman at the age of 92. Noel’s son Andrew is now the Managing Director and has the same passion for what the firm does, and the same commitment to the traditional values that have turned Taplin into the success story it is today.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Proof of the pudding: Growing a successful business in Mexico

Proof of the pudding: Growing a successful business in Mexico

Tere Cazola is named after its founder. She started making Mexican desserts and cakes in her kitchen back in the 1980s, and now they’re sold all over the country. There are two main aspects to Tere Cazola’s success: an efficient production and distribution operation, and a strong brand. With both of these in mind, she has been very careful to make the business grow in a way that doesn’t affect the quality of the product, and the authentic ‘home-made’ taste.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Learning as you grow: Strategic planning in Russia

Learning as you grow: Strategic planning in Russia

Trio is a Russian agribusiness company founded in 1997 by two entrepreneurs as a grain and sugar-trading venture. In 2003, the company ventured into the agricultural business. Today, Trio is a multifaceted enterprise, with turnover exceeding US$100 million, and is one of the leading suppliers of potatoes to Frito-Lay/PepsiCo. It has also diversified into grain, sugar, dairy and potato production.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
Better by design: Innovation and new product development in Denmark

Better by design: Innovation and new product development in Denmark

Vipp is known the world over for its elegant, practical homewares, which are the essence of Scandinavian style, but it’s a success story built on – of all things – a bin. Holger Nielsen was a metal worker by trade, and produced a special pedal bin for his wife Marie’s hair salon, as a side-line to his main business processing steel. When Holger died, his daughter Jette Egelund took over the company, specifically to explore the commercial potential of the bin design. As she says herself, “I thought if I make a failure of it, it’s my own risk.”

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
'For real leadership, you need family': Growth and professionalisation in Turkey

'For real leadership, you need family': Growth and professionalisation in Turkey

Turkey is one of the most vibrant markets in the world, with a young and tech-savvy population, an enviable position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and an entrepreneurial culture. There have been many political upheavals in the last thirty years, and the region still faces significant challenges, but when it comes to emerging economies, Turkey is still putting the ‘T’ in MINT.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.
From cigars to 3D printing: Starting a new entrepreneurial venture in the Netherlands

From cigars to 3D printing: Starting a new entrepreneurial venture in the Netherlands

Royal Agio Cigars has been in the cigar business for over a century. In four generations it’s built a prosperous and premium business, ranking 4th globally. But tobacco is a sector with limited growth opportunities, and the family who run Royal Agio has faced up to that challenge and used the most advanced modern technology to find a way forward.

Start adding items to your reading lists:
or
Save this item to:
This item has been saved to your reading list.

Contact us

David Wills

Global Leader - Entrepreneurial & Private Business, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 3 8603 3183

Peter Englisch

Global and EMEA Family Business Leader, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 201 438 1812

Siew Quan Ng

Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Clients, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 6236 3818

Alfred Peguero

Partner, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (415) 498 6111

Follow us