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The Performance of European Business in the Twentieth Century$
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Youssef Cassis, Andrea Colli, and Harm Schröter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749776

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749776.001.0001

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Old Industries in Europe, 1911–2000

Old Industries in Europe, 1911–2000

(p.171) 11 Old Industries in Europe, 1911–2000
The Performance of European Business in the Twentieth Century

Toni Pierenkemper

Helma De Smedt

Frans Buelens

Ludo Cuyvers

Marc Deloof

Oxford University Press

The Old Industries of the Industrial Revolution (textiles and food industries, woodworking, mining, and iron and steel) continued to shape European economies deep into the twentieth century. It was only around the 1970s that these industries were engaged in a structural crisis, although they did not completely disappear. In particular, the 1990s introduced important changes, with an enormous number of mergers and acquisitions and with rapid technological change. All this is reflected in performance measures. The average return on equity (ROE) consistently fluctuated around 10%. Only the 1970–2 period was characterized by a low average ROE of only 4.15%. At the turn of the century, the average ROE was restored to the normal level of about 10%, thanks to both sectoral and economy-wide adjustment to a new reality.

Keywords:   Old Industries, return on equity, European economies, technological change, textiles, mining, steel

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