Billionaire family Reimann suffers high losses
Dhe Reimanns, one of the richest families in Germany, had to accept significant losses in the value of their company conglomerate in 2022. Unlike many industrial companies, the family-dominated umbrella company JAB was unable to withstand the crisis despite its large portfolio of beverage and coffee brands, perfumes, coffee house chains and veterinary clinics. This is not good news, especially for the co-investors brought on board ten years ago.
JAB CEO Olivier Goudet now promises improvement in a letter to investors. JAB’s conservative portfolio was unable to keep up in a multi-year upswing driven by cheap money. In the crisis – first the corona pandemic, now the war in Ukraine – the superiority will become apparent.
After a profit of more than 5.1 billion euros the year before, JAB reported a loss in value of 4.47 billion euros for 2022. The majority of the companies have lost some of their value, some of the fast food chains were closed. After the problems at their listed perfume company Coty have slowly been resolved, the family is currently struggling with the weak performance of the beverage company Keurig Dr Pepper.
However, because the Reimanns and their co-investors continued to buy in the previous year, the value of the jointly controlled empire “only” fell by 2.2 billion to 49.5 billion euros. The “equity attributable to the owners” – essentially the assets of the siblings Renate Reimann-Haas, Wolfgang Reimann, Matthias and Stefan Reimann-Andersen and their families – shrank from almost 28 billion to just under 25 billion euros.
The figures come from the recently published annual report. JAB did not hold a press conference with the opportunity to ask questions. The family is one of the most secretive industrial clans ever, the members never appear in public. The cornerstone of their wealth is the inheritance of the Ludwigshafen chemical company Benckiser. Four of the nine children of the owner Albert Reimann decided to keep their shares and continue as entrepreneurs, the rest of the clan was later paid off.
Initially only with their own money, since 2011 as an investment company with co-investors – from rich families to pension funds – the family has created billions in value under the leadership of the charismatic Peter Harf from Cologne. For some time, however, there has been a crisis, the once most important holding – the perfume company Coty – had overhauled itself when it took over former Wella brands from the consumer goods group Procter & Gamble and had to be rebuilt several times. Peter Harf seems to have run out of luck, but the 76-year-old family friend is still active as “Chairman”. It is not known when the Vice-Chairman and potential successor, the Belgian Joachim Creus, who was installed two years ago, will take over the helm.
The CEO of the umbrella company, which controls the billion dollar empire with just under 60 employees from Luxembourg and London, is the former Mars CFO Olivier Goudet. And he’s obviously worried about JAB’s reputation as an investor and company builder. In any case, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the investment company, he sent a letter to his investors along with the annual report. In it, he admits that the performance over the past ten years, at an average of 13 percent per year, has even lagged behind the broad MSCI World share index at 13.3 percent.