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Despite the coronavirus crisis, French businessman Bernard Arnault is increasing his fortune.

Bernard Arnault has overtaken Bill Gates. The owner of the brands Dior and Louis Vuitton is the second richest person in the world

Martina Šmalclová
12.Nov 2020
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2 minutes
Bernard Arnault

The owner of the luxury concern LVMH that brings together brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, FENDI, Bvlgari, Guerlain, Dom Pérignon, Hennessy or Moët & Chandon, has officially become the second richest person in the world. His fortune is currently estimated at $137 billion. He surpassed Bill Gates again, as he did a year ago.

After Bezos and in front of Gates

Among the richest people in the world, Frenchman Bernard Arnault ranks behind American Jeff Bezos (Amazon), whose net assets are estimated at $184 billion, and ahead of Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates, whose net assets are $119 billion. Bernard Arnault already ranked second a year ago in September, when he was deposed by Bill Gates. For one day, he also became the richest man in the world, when he even skipped ahead of Jeff Bezos.

There are now five billionaires in the world with a wealth of over $100 billion. In addition to the aforementioned trio, the elite group also includes Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. That makes Bernard Arnault an exception among technology giants.

He has the vaccine to thank

The LVMH's chairman and CEO added $7 billion to his fortune earlier this week. The increase came after the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced it had a promising trial vaccine that’s supposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. European stocks of luxury companies rose sharply at that moment.

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Bernard Arnault
Bernard ArnaultSource: Profimedia

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Bernard Arnault can again see the light at the end of the tunnel after the LVMH Group, like many other brands and companies, had to temporarily close its stores and the conglomerate's profits began to decline. Jeff Bezos, for example, found himself in a completely opposite situation - his profits reached astronomical heights during the pandemic. In the second quarter of this year, Amazon made the largest profit in its 26-year history, earning $5.2 billion.

The Chinese market is also recovering

While the American or European market is still struggling with the pandemic and restrictive measures, the Chinese market has begun to recover slowly but surely. The LVMH Group was able to recover some of the losses caused by Covid-19 thanks to the improving situation in China. One of Bernard Arnault's quotations took on a real form.

"Money is just a consequence. I always say to my team, don't worry too much about profitability. If you do your job well, the profitability will come."

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Bernard Arnault
Bernard ArnaultSource: Profimedia

Meet Bernard Arnault

The Frenchman, who is regarded as one of the key trendsetters in the field of luxury, was born on March 5, 1949 in Roubaix, France. His family owned a major construction company. He himself graduated from the École Polytechnique University with a technical focus. Since 1991, he has been married to his second wife Hélène Mercier, with whom he has three children - daughter Alexandra and sons Frédéric and Jean. Arnault is a well-known art enthusiast and in 2014, he donated $135 million to build the museum of the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Think that success can be fleeting? Bernard Arnault is convinced that some things just don't go out of style.

“Can you say that in 20 years people would still use the iPhone? Maybe not. Maybe we'd have a new product or something more innovative. What I can say today is that, in 20 years, I'm quite convinced that people will still drink Dom Perignon."

Luxusní byt s terasou - Praha 1 - Nové Město
Luxusní byt s terasou - Praha 1 - Nové Město, Praha 1

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