The former president of the former Miquel Alimentació Grupo, Ramon Miquel Ballart, has died at the age of 95. Thus leaves one of the most prominent businessmen in the Girona region, who thanks to its food group – currently under the name of GM Food – has been, for years, one of the richest families in the province. Miquel Ballart had received, among other distinctions, the Creu de Sant Jordi, the Clau de Barcelona and the medal of the Ministry of Economy.
Ramon Miquel was born in Figueres in 1926, just one year after his father, Pere Miquel i Esteve, had founded the fruit, vegetable and cereal wholesaling company that would end up becoming, by far, the most important in Girona’s regions: Miquel Alimentació. Ramon Miquel started working for the family business in June 1941, when he was only fourteen years old and had barely finished his studies in Commerce. Later, his brothers, Amadeu (who entered in 1945) and Josep (in 1950), would also join the business. Together they ran the company, of which he became president and CEO in 1961, when his father died.
Under his command, Miquel Alimentació, based in Vilamalla, grew to become the leading company in the distribution sector, with several supermarket chains (Suma, Proxim and Spar) and its own brands. Starting in 1999, it expanded throughout the rest of Spain – in 2022 it was implanted in Madrid for the first time – until it also became the leader in its sector in the whole of the State.
Sale to a Chinese group
In 2015, the Miquel family decided to sell the business group to the Chinese company Bright Food for 110 million euros. At the time of its sale, Miquel Alimentació managed more than 500 supermarkets, 63 cash & carry Gros Mercat and expected a turnover of up to 1,024 million euros.
The company acquired the GM Food name, but the new Chinese owners kept the structure. Five years later, last May, it was bought by the Swiss company Transgourmet, with an operation of around 200 million euros. At the moment, GM Food is the leading group in wholesale distribution in Spain, with an annual turnover of more than 1,100 million euros.
But despite the fact that Miquel Alimentació was the most important project of his business life, as he himself recognized, Ramon Miquel also got involved in other opportunities. Between 1955 and 1993 he promoted and participated in several companies in the textile, real estate, metallurgical and chemical sectors, among others. He was also, in 1961, one of the founders of Banca Catalana, of which he was a founding director and prominent shareholder until its end, in 1982.
He was also a member of the plenary session of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, a member of the general council and the executive committee of Fira de Barcelona, a member of the board of the Alimentaria fair and a director of the Catalan Family Business Association, among others. He had also been an advisor to the former Conselleria de Comerç, Turisme i Consum de la Generalitat, as well as a member of the executive council of Foment del Treball.
Linked to the EU Figueres
In Figueres, the name of the Miquel family is also closely linked to football because, for years, Miquel Alimentació was the main sponsor of Unió Esportiva Figueres since the early nineties and one of Ramon Miquel’s brothers, Josep ( died in 2003), he was closely linked to the club as sports vice president and honorary president of the club.
The three brothers – Josep, Ramon and Amadeu – were involved in the conversion of the club into a Sports Limited Company and the family owned most of the shares until their sale in 2007 to businessman Enric Flix.
Widower of Inmaculada Armengol, the mass in remembrance of her soul will be celebrated Wednesday at ten o’clock in the morning at the Les Corts funeral home in Barcelona.