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LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault is now the world's second wealthiest individual

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Jul 18, 2019

People

Retail tycoons and owners of fashion conglomerates are regularly featured in global rich lists, but for the first time LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault is amongst the top three wealthiest individuals. Arnault is new to the club of centibillionaires, alongside Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who comes in first place, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates at number three, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

Arnault entered the ranks of centibillionaires this week after the luxury goods group posted a 2.9 percent increase in share value to a record 368.80 euros a share. Arnault's net worth has increased almost 32 billion this year, the most on the 500-member Bloomberg Billionaires Index, states Bloomberg, with a total net worth just over 100 billion dollars. A fortune that is the equivalent of 3 percent of France’s economy. Bezos’ fortunate is estimated to be 124 billion dollars.

To break down Arnault’s wealth, he controls approximately half of Paris-based LVMH through a family holding company and also owns a 97 percent stake in Christian Dior. Arnault entered the luxury-goods market by acquiring a textile group that owned Christian Dior. He sold all of the company’s other businesses and used the proceeds to buy a controlling stake in LVMH in 1988.

The LVMH Group operates 75 luxury houses and business, across fashion and leather goods, jewellery and watches, cosmetics, retail and wines and spirits and reported sales of 46.8 billion euros in 2018.

Amancio Ortega, the owner of Indetex and parent company of Zara, Pull and Bear and Massimo Dutti amongst others, comes in at number 6 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. With a fortune of 66.2 billion dollars, he is thought to earn over 400 million dollars a year in dividends.

In August 2017 Ortega briefly surpassed Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates by mere millions of dollars to become the world’s richest person, according to Forbes. But when U.S. markets closed on 29 August, Gates was back in the No. 1spot.

Article sources Bloomberg and Forbes. Photo Credits: Bernard Arnault / AFP - Francois Guillot