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Family-owned firms hold part of the answer to the productivity puzzle

Family-owned firms hold part of the answer to the productivity puzzle

HALL AND WOODHOUSE has been brewing beer amid the Georgian splendour of Blandford St Mary, in Dorset, since 1777. The company’s founder, Charles Hall, made his fortune during the Napoleonic wars selling ale to the troops bivouacked in nearby Weymouth, ready to repel the French. Today the seventh generation runs the firm and the extended family still owns almost all the shares. It is a venerable example of the dominant form of business structure in modern Britain, where over two-thirds of companies are family owned.

Hall and Woodhouse looks like everything the chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, would like a company to be. It trades heavily on its heritage, yet remains innovative. With a turnover of £100m ($135m) a year it has just spent £20m on a new factory to produce more of its Badger beer. “We experiment,” says the managing director, Anthony Woodhouse. Last summer the firm added a range of ice-creams for dogs, including Carrot Crunch and Old Sock flavours, to the…Continue reading

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