Billionaires



October 13, 2019,   10:07 AM

Bernard Arnault’s Net Worth Surges By $5.1 Billion After LVMH Sales Jump 17%

Hayley C. Cuccinello

FULL BIO

bernard arnault

Europe’s richest person just got richer. 

The fortune of Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of LVMH, has soared by $5.1 billion since late Wednesday thanks to the strong sales at the world’s largest luxury house. LVMH, which owns 75 brands from Christian Dior to Veuve Clicquot, reported on Wednesday that sales grew 17% in its third quarter. 

Its share price has surged 5.6% since Wednesday’s market close, boosting Arnault’s fortune to $99.2 billion. He ranks as the world’s third-richest person, behind No. 1 Jeff Bezos, worth $107.5 billion, and No. 2 Bill Gates, worth $105.1 billion. LVMH’s robust results buoyed other luxury stocks. Gucci owner Kering’s stock rose 4.2% on Thursday; the net worth of its billionaire founder, and Arnault rival, François Pinault, jumped $1.1 billion to $30.2 billion.

The Paris-based conglomerate LVMH reported significant growth across the globe, including Asia, despite the protests in Hong Kong, which accounts for 5% to 10% of global luxury sales, according to money management firm Bernstein Research. LVMH’s sales in Asia, not including Japan, grew by 12% in the quarter. The company noted that its makeup segment grew rapidly in China and that it had opened its first Sephora store in Hong Kong last month. Growth in Japan was strong thanks to increased sales of wine and champagne. Across the board, growth was highest in fashion and leather goods, increasing 19% using constant exchange rates. 

“Product launches now need to be global in order to be successful,” Arnault told Forbes in 2017. “That requires higher investment—which gives us an advantage. Creating increasingly desirable new products and selling them worldwide is what LVMH does best.”

Arnault became the world’s third-richest person in June when his net worth hit $100.4 billion. Shares then fell, knocking his net worth back below $100 billion. He is at the threshold of centibillionaire status again.



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