Italy’s richest family to get €642 mil from Nutella maker

LONDON: Life is looking sweet for the Ferrero family.

The Italian dynasty behind Nutella is poised to get a €642 million dividend from their main holding company, regulatory filings show.

The firm reported profit of €928.6 million for the fiscal year ended in August, up more than a quarter from the previous 12 months.

Payouts of this magnitude have helped make the Ferreros the world’s 25th richest family, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The wealth of multibillionaire families such as the Waltons, Kochs and Wertheimers has soared over the past decade.

During that period, the Ferreros have approved dividends totalling more than €2 billion.

Profits at the Ferrero family’s operating company have almost doubled since 2008.

The firm has embarked on a spending spree to boost its US presence and broaden its product range.

In 2018, Ferrero acquired Nestlé SA’s US candy business for US$2.8 billion and completed a US$1.3 billion deal last year for Kellogg Co’s cookies and fruit snack brands, including Keebler and Famous Amos.

The Ferreros manage their money through Monaco-based family office Fedesa, which invests in stocks, credit, private equity, venture capital and hedge funds, according to employees’ LinkedIn profiles.

It also has a Singapore branch.

The Ferrero fortune can be traced to a family pastry shop in northern Italy that used hazelnuts as a way to stretch limited cocoa supplies.

It grew into a confectionery firm, opening production facilities and offices abroad after World War II.

The company introduced the Nutella and Kinder Chocolate brands in the 1960s and then expanded with products including Tic Tac mints and Ferrero Rocher.

The business is now valued at US$32.4 billion by the Bloomberg index. Family members own it, though the size of individual stakes remains unclear.

Giovanni Ferrero – grandson of founder Pietro – owns a controlling stake in the holding company, where he is executive chairman.

The 55-year-old spent his youth in Belgium and enjoys writing in his spare time, penning books on business and Africa, according to the National Italian American Foundation.

Claudia Millo, a spokeswoman for the Ferreros, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.