What are family businesses?
The term “family business” is flexible. The bakery around the corner is just as family-owned as Porsche and BMW are. In order for investors to invest in a family business, it must be listed on the stock exchange. A study by the TU Munich states that A listed company is considered a family company if the founding family owns at least 25 percent of the voting rights or has a seat on the supervisory board or board of directors. According to this definition, around 40 percent of the listed companies in Germany are family businesses.
It is a successful German peculiarity that in this country the many family businesses in particular form the backbone of the industry. While in many other countries the industrial strands are more bundled in a few large corporations, in Germany the most important company decisions are mainly made at the family stove, and only a few of them are known nationwide.
According to a study by the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) and the Mannheim Institute for SME Research, around 2.8 million (86 percent) of the around 3.3 million companies in Germany are not only controlled by families, but also by their owners themselves guided. Family businesses together employ more than half of all employees, generate around 45 percent of sales in Germany and are highly profitable.