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Press release Companies with real estate and in the liberal professions achieve the highest disposal assets profits

Entrepreneurs sell their family businesses increasingly in high age

In the liberal professions, the average disposal asset profit has risen continuously since 2001. The positive trend in agriculture and forestry began after the global financial and economic crisis in 2010. Whereas in the commercial sector, development was unsteady. The price collapse during 2008/2009 still needs to be overcome. These results are the study's conclusion "Company disposal assets' – distribution, profits and trends".

Dr Isabell Stamm (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne) and researchers from IfM Bonn examined how many companies are sold each year in Germany and what profits they make. In practice, they used tax data on the disposal assets' capital gain – the selling price minus selling costs and the book value of the business assets. The result: around 150,000 women and men sold companies or shares in a company in 2016, for example. The assets to be taxed added up to more than 12 billion euros this year. The average disposal asset capital gain before taxation was 83,000 euros.

"A small sales number with high profits faces a large sales number with low profits (if not a negative amount)", reports Dr Rosemarie Kay, Deputy Director at IfM Bonn. "Maximum values are achieved in sectors where real estate is typically part of the business assets, and in the liberal professions, such as business consultancy and health care."

Another result: about two-thirds of the over-55-year-old self-employed in the liberal professions, and agriculture and forestry make use of the state tax allowance for the self-employed, which grants funding for disposal asset profit of up to 181,000 euros. In addition, the researchers observed an increase in salespersons' average age and a particular increase in the proportion of over 75 years old. "This indicates that more entrepreneurs are choosing a succession solution outside the family," explains Dr Rosemarie Kay.