LVMH becomes the first European company to be worth $500bn

Luxury goods giant LVMH becomes the first European company to be worth $500bn

LVMH has become the first European company to hit a market value of $500billion (£401billion) as luxury goods defy the cost-of-living slump.

The milestone came after shares edged up 0.3 per cent to €903.7 on the Paris Stock Exchange, making the firm the world’s tenth biggest company, ahead of Visa and just behind Tesla.

The owner of Christian Dior and Tiffany is the sole European name among the top 10 firms in the world by market value, a list dominated by US tech groups led by Apple.

Just two weeks ago LVMH boss Bernard Arnault became only the third person – and the first non-American – in history to amass a fortune of $200billion (£160billion).

Family fortunes: LVMH, led by Bernard Arnault (pictured with his daughter Delphine), is now the world’s tenth biggest company, ahead of Visa and just behind Tesla

Arnault, who has earned the sobriquet ‘the wolf in cashmere’ during his decades at the top, is worth £161billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him the world’s richest man, beating out both Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

In January, the 74-year-old retail mogul appointed his daughter Delphine as the head of Christian Dior – laying the groundwork to keep the company under family control. 

But he has shown no signs of slowing down and LVMH has hiked its age limit for chief executives from 75 to 80.

LVMH, whose brands include fashion labels Givenchy, Celine, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton, has cashed in on huge post-pandemic growth in China. 

The Chinese luxury market has rebounded dramatically following the lifting of the country’s zero-Covid policy, with shoppers flocking for costly designer bags and clothes.

Europe and the US have also remained resilient despite economic pressures weighing down consumer spend.

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, believes LVMH is ‘well insulated to economic shocks’ owing to its rich customers, who are less likely to cut spending due to rising living costs.

‘The ultra-wealthy aren’t put off by economic ups and downs, and inflation is unlikely to dent their spending habits.’

First Republic sees ‘unprecedented deposit outflows’ in first quarter 

US regional bank First Republic late last night said it saw ‘unprecedented deposit outflows’ during the first quarter of the year.

Deposits plummeted by £58billion in the first three months of the year as the lender was engulfed in the regional-banking crisis that led to the collapse of three of its peers.

Deposits sank by 35 per cent to £83billion, even after the country’s largest lenders parked £24billion of their own cash with the San Francisco-based bank in an effort to shore up its finances.

The company said it plans to reduce the size of its balance sheet and cut its workforce by as much as 25 per cent as part of its efforts to stabilise the bank.

The turmoil first started with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which fell into government receivership after spooking depositors.