Latin America is home to some of the world's largest family-owned businesses, with Mexico and Brazil leading the way. The latest "Family Business Index" shows 34 family-run companies from the region with a combined revenue of over $500 billion.
From the protein-producing giant JBS Group in Brazil to Mexico's telecom giant America Movil, these companies are making their mark on the global stage. In this article, we take a closer look at the top family-owned businesses in Latin America, including those in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia.
Latin American Titans: The Top 34 Family-Owned Companies Conquering the World
34 family-owned companies in Latin America are among the largest in the world. Mexico and Brazil lead the latest "Family Business Index" with 15 and 11 companies, respectively.
In the global scene, the Walton family of the U.S. (with Walmart) tops the list of the most powerful family-run businesses, according to a ranking by consulting firm EY and the University of St. Gallen. The Warren Buffett family (Berkshire Hathaway) and the Cargill-MacMillans (Cargill agribusiness) are close behind. Together, they made over $1 trillion in sales last year.
Leading the Latin America index is Brazil's JBS Group, the world's largest protein producer and the region's largest meat processing plant, headed by Joesley Batista, son of founder José Batista Sobrinho. It's followed by telecom giant América Móvil, owned by Carlos Slim, the richest man in the region. Although Mexico leads in total revenue due to the larger number of companies.
Mexican Family Empires: Reigning with Billions in Revenue
Mexican family-owned companies had a combined revenue of nearly $160 billion last year, according to the latest "Family Business Index."
Topping the list is telecom giant América Móvil, owned by Carlos Slim, the richest man in Latin America and one of the world's wealthiest individuals. The company, the second largest in the region, generated $41 billion in revenue, putting the Slim family in 35th place globally.
Next is the Servitje family with food company Bimbo, in 106th place with an annual revenue of around $17 billion, making it the fifth largest in the region. Alfa is owned by the Garza Sada family. It is the third-largest company in Mexico and the 116th-largest company in the world.
German Larrea's Grupo México is 121st, leading the bids to acquire Banamex, a Citigroup subsidiary up for sale in Mexico. Chedraui (owned by the Chedraui family) and Arca Continental (owned by the Barragan family) are in 197th and 200th places, respectively. These three companies had a combined revenue of $33 billion.
Other companies, including Orbia Advance, Soriana, Grupo Elektra, Peñoles, Televisa, Gruma, Xingnux, Lala, and Bachoco, with a combined turnover of $50 billion, rank below 200. Only five of these companies have at least one female on their board of directors.
Brazil's 11 Billion-Dollar Family Firms Taking the World by Storm
Brazil's 11 family-owned businesses are making their mark on the global stage, with a combined revenue of US$156 billion. JBS, the region's largest protein producer, is leading the pack, with Joesley Batista at the helm and his six brothers playing key roles. With a revenue of $65 billion, JBS is ranked 17th among the largest family-owned companies worldwide.
JBS is followed by Bradesco Bank, which has a revenue of nearly US$ 19 billion and is ranked 98th in the world. With nearly US$ 50 billion in revenue, the Molina dos Santos family's Marfrig Global Foods, the Gerdau Johannpeter family's metallurgical company Gerdau, and Compaa Siderrgica Nacional de Steinbruch round out the top five.
Votorantim, Magazine Luiza, Energisa, Cosan, Weg, and Porto Seguro are also part of the top 11, with only four companies having at least one female director.
Chile's Family-Owned Powerhouses: Leading the Charge in Diversity & Sales
Chile has six well-known family-owned businesses in the index. AntarChile, which is owned by the Angelini family and ranks 68th worldwide and 4th in the region with about US$25 billion in annual sales, is one of them.
Cencosud, owned by the Paulmann family, comes in second place locally (125th globally) and is followed by Falabella, owned by the Solari family (129th globally). Both companies specialize in retail and shopping center operations.
Rounding out the list are Quiñenco (owned by the Luksic family) in 227th place, CMPC (owned by the Matte family) in 288th place, and Agrosuper (owned by the Vial family) in 444th place globally.
It's worth mentioning that half of these Chilean companies have at least two women on their boards of directors, making the country the leader in diversity among its family-owned businesses.
Argentina and Colombia's One-Hit Wonders in the Family Business Index
Argentina and Colombia each have one family-owned business in the Family Business Index. Leading the charge in the region is Technit, an industrial conglomerate owned by the Rocca family. The CEO, Paolo Rocca, continues the family tradition of running the business started by his grandfather and father. Last year, Technit reported revenue of US$27 billion and ranks among the 63 largest family-owned businesses globally.
In Colombia, Grupo Aval, owned by billionaire Luis Carlos Sarmiento, is the sole representative. It recorded revenues of over US$6 billion and ranks 284th in the index.