ISN’T IT RICH?: Axel Dumas and the three families that control Hermès had a very good year, moving up the ranking of France’s richest people by one position to the number-three slot with a fortune estimated at 24.1 billion euros, or $26.9 at current exchange.
The Dumas, Guerrand and Puech families trail Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, still number one with a fortune of 34.66 billion euros, or $38.6 billion; and L’Oréal heiress Lilian Bettencourt at number two, with a fortune of 30.9 billion, or $34.4 billion.
Several fashion families slipped slightly in the annual list compiled by weekly news magazine Challenges. Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, whose families control Chanel but last year sold Bourjois, moved into the seventh slot from number five with a fortune of 16.5 billion euros, or $18.4 billion, while François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, slipped one slot to number eight with a fortune of 12.7 billion euros, or $14.2 billion.
While derided for its high taxes and regulations that are unfriendly to business, France echoes the U.S., U.K and India in that more and more wealth is concentrated in fewer hands.
According to Challenges, citing data from the International Monetary fund, 10.5 percent of all wealth in France is today held by the top 1 percent of the population, versus 7.5 percent of wealth 30 years ago.