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Austria's 33 richest families worth EUR 120 BN

3. October 2014

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) dominate the Austrian economy. Despite their size they are considered the stronghold of economic stability, based on their long-sighted strategies and the ever short way between decision making and action. Some are household names like Porsche, Red Bull and Swarovski. Others represent decades of success by Austrian “Mittelstand” companies – technically brilliant and successful worldwide but largely unknown to the public beyond Austria’s borders.

The Porsche and Piëch families are the richest family clan in Austria with assets of EUR 44,8 billion. Ferdinand Karl Piëch, born in 1937 in Vienna and grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, is the chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen Group (Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, Volkswagen, Ducati, MAN, Scania, Neoplan).

Dietrich Mateschitz, the marketing brains behind Red Bull, is worth EUR 7,5 billion. In the 1980s he discovered a Thai tea on his travels and turned it into an energy drink. Today Red Bull is also known so for its sponsorship of extreme sports (Red Bull X-Fighters, Red Bull Air Race Series, Red Bull Formula One, Red Bull Extreme Diving).

Johann Graf is worth EUR 5 billion. In 1980 he set up Novomatic to manufacture gambling machines with just EUR 3.600. Today this has turned into a global business with activities in 80 countries.
Karl Wlaschek has a fortune worth EUR 4.5 billion. Heis Austrian’s oldest billionaire. He made his money with the supermarket chain Billa.
In 1895 Daniel Swarovski started a factory for crystal glass. Today the company is a world leader and is still run by fifth generation family members. Marilyn Monroe wore a Swarovski diamond dress when she sang “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kenndey. Net worth: EUR 4,1 billion.

Frank Stronach started out as a penniless emigrant in Canada, building an empire worth EUR 3,9 billion with his automotive company Magna.

The Kaufmann family is worth EUR 2,4 billion. The Frantschach paper mill made the Kaufmanns one of Austria’s richest families. In 2004 Andreas Kaufmann one of the beneficiaries bought the manufacturer of iconic Leica camera. His day job is as a teacher in a Waldorf School.

The Mayr-Melnhof family has a fortune worth EUR 1.95 billion. Today Franz Mayr-Melnhof manages the group which owns Austria’s biggest forestry company with a total area of abot 32.000 ha and the biggest saw mill of Austria.

Brothers Helmut and Alwin Lehner started their plastic packaging company in 1955. Sixty years on the Alpla group supplies companies around the world. Estimated value: EUR 1,85 billion.

Gaston Glock started making guns in his garage in 1963. In 1980 he made his first Glock pistol – the Glock 17. Major success came with the sale of 20.000 pieces to the Austrian army. Other military clients soon followed. The company has a sales volume of about EUR 120 mill. per year and is worth EUR 1,55 billion.
In 1994 Wolfang Leitner took up a management role with equipment manufacturer Andritz. Today he owns 29% of the thriving company and has a fortune worth EUR 1,36 billion.

Dr. Paul Schwarzkopf started producing wire for the lightbulbs in 1921. During the Second World War he lost his company to the Nazis because he was Jewish and had to flee. Today the Plansee group (worth EUR 1,25 billion) speciaized in powder metallurgical materials is once again in family hands and ran by Michael Schwarzkopf.

The Greiner Group specialises in synthetic materials. After 115 years the company is still 100% family owned and worth EUR 1,23 billion.

The Haselsteiner family owns Strabag AG, one of Europe´s largest construction companies which is worth EUR 1,2 billion.

The family company Rauch produces juices, the most popular of which are marketed under the brand Happy Day. The Rauch family’s fortune is put at EUR 1,2 billion.

Gerald Schweighofer made his parents wood producing business a huge success when he started expanding to Eastern Europe in the 1970s. Today his empire is valued at EUR 1,15 billion.

Georg Kapsch, runs the family company, which is well known for its Intelligent Transport Systems (including tolling) and GSM-R Systems (Global System for Mobile Railway Comms). The Kapsch family has assets worth EUR 1,1 billion.

The Egger brothers own a brewery, a chipboard factory and the Radlberger soft drinks company. Their assets are worth EUR 1,05 billion.

In 1892 the Doppelmayr family started building cable cars and ski lifts. These days the company is worth EUR 1,02 billion, operates globally and is still owned and run by the family.

Sources: This article is based on research carried out and published by Austria Trend Magazin and widely reported in the Austrian media including Die Presse.