Speed Reads

Loot for Louis

LVMH, owned by world's richest man, surpasses $500B in value

Luxury goods conglomerate LVMH on Monday became the first European company to ever surpass $500 billion in value, following a massive rise in sales. 

Earlier this month, LVMH reported a 17 percent increase in first-quarter sales, according to Reutersmore than double what industry analysts had predicted. The company ended the first three months of the year with $23.10 billion in sales to hit a record share price, which eventually helped bring its value over the $500 billion mark. LVMH's total shares are up 32.8 percent year-to-date, CNBC reported.  

While the company itself may not be a household name, LVMH owns dozens of iconic luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hennessey, Moët & Chandon, Givenchy, Princess Yachts, and TAG Heuer. 

This marks a massive milestone for the company, which analysts had expected to only receive an eight percent sales increase in the first quarter. A large portion of this was due to an uptick in luxury purchasing in the Asian market. Lilia Peytavin, a portfolio strategist at Goldman Sachs, told Bloomberg that LVMH's stocks "embody what the equity market has best to offer at the moment: exposure to Chinese consumption, which continues to surprise on the rise, and robust margins thanks to their pricing power."

Bloomberg noted that demand for LVMH products, such as Louis Vuitton handbags and Moët champagne, has remained steadfast despite increasing inflation and rising interest rates worldwide. 

The $500 billion mark also cements the status of LVMH founder Bernard Arnault as the world's richest person, along with his extended family. Like his company itself, Arnault is not a name that is familiar to many outside of the luxury circles. However, Forbes places his net worth at $243.4 billion, significantly more than Tesla founder Elon Musk, who sits in the number two spot with a net worth of $171.5 billion.