- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - They say crime doesn’t pay, but working in fashion certainly does, as Bernard Arnault, CEO, and Chairman of luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, becomes the fourth richest man in the world. His luxury company, which owns leading fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Givenchy enjoyed one of its best years to date last year and saw Arnault blaze past fellow fashion billionaire, Amancio Ortega, in the annual ranking of the world’s billionaires.
Ortega, founder of leading fast-fashion company Inditex (owner of Zara) previously maintained a strong presence among the top 4 richest people in the world. Back in 2017, he ranked in fourth place with a net worth of 71.3 billion US dollars. Although he officially retired from all roles at Inditex and its subsidiaries, he remains the majority shareholder through his investment vehicle Pontegadea. Shares in Inditex fell 7 percent in late February following analyst fears over a sales slowdown at Zara over the critical holiday sales quarter. As a result, Ortega’s net worth fell 6 percent, dropping to 68 billion US dollars and left him in sixth place in Forbes annual ranking of World Billionaires for 2018.
On the flip side Arnault, together with Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, saw the biggest increase to their net worth in a single year. How? LVMH reported revenues of 42.6 billion euros (52.9 billion US dollars) in 2017, an increase of 13 percent over the previous year. In addition to record results at LVMH, fuelled by strong sales, a deal to purchase nearly all of Christian Dior also helped boost Arnault’s personal fortune by 30.5 billion US dollars in a single year. This made him the richest man in European for the first time since 2012 and the richest man in France with a net worth of 72 billion US dollars. However, this was not enough to secure first place (or second or third), which went to Bezos. His fortune increased more than 39 billion US dollars to 112 billion US dollars, the list's largest one year gain to date. Bezos is followed by Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft with a net worth of 90 billion US dollars and Warren Buffet, with a net worth of 84 billion US dollars respectively.