This article analyses the seven largest business groups in Portugal from the 1930s to the mid-1970s, a period in which they attained an unprecedented scale and scope. The analysis involves a comprehensive reconstruction of the groups' equity participations and corporate networks, using new sets of data. A few common features are found: these groups were based on family ownership and remained inward-looking, holding large equity participations in affiliate firms and segmenting them from more inclusive partnerships with other groups. But diversity should also be stressed: they displayed enormous plasticity in their dynamics of growth, combining exogenous and endogenous explanations. It is this plasticity that explains their resilience, capacity for adaptation, and ultimately their ubiquitous nature.
- Business groups
- twentieth century