July 31, 2021

Who are the five richest French billionaires? – West-France evening edition

American magazine Forbes has just published the list of the richest billionaires on the planet. Who are the five richest French people?

Forbes, the American magazine specializing in finance, published on April 6, 2021 the list of the 2,755 richest personalities in the world. Entrance fee to appear in this ranking? A fortune of at least a billion dollars.

Against the tide of the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the cumulative fortune of the billionaires on the planet identified this year amounts to 13,100 billion dollars (11,090 billion euros) against 8,000 billion l last year, specifies the American magazine. “The very, very rich have become even more very, very rich”, told Randall Lane, editor-in-chief of Forbes, to the Reuters news agency

At the top of the ranking of the super-rich, throne for a fourth consecutive year Jeff Bezos, the founder and boss of Amazon, while Elon Musk takes second place, ahead of Bernard Arnault, the best ranked among the 39 billionaires French. But who are the five richest tricolors on the planet?

1. Bernard Arnault (127 billion euros)

Bernard Arnault. (Photo: Martin Bureau / AFP archives)

At 72, the boss of luxury group LVMH from Roubaix (North) is firmly anchored in third place in the world ranking of billionaires, with a fortune estimated at 127 billion euros against nearly 64 last year. Very good economic health which can be explained by Forbes through “Acquisitions hailed by the financial markets which have consolidated its position” despite a drop in the sale of its products due to Covid-19.

2. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers (61.8 billion euros)

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers. (Photo: François Guillot / AFP archives)

Ranking world’s first female billionaire Forbes, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers occupies the 12e place in the world ranking. At 63, the sole heir to the L’Oréal cosmetics empire, “In particular benefited from the 62% growth in e-commerce in its group, which is strengthening its positions”, note the French version of the site Forbes. In detail, the fortune of the daughter of the late Liliane Bettencourt, born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, jumped from just under 42 billion to 61.8 billion euros.

3. François Pinault (35.5 billion euros)

Francois Pinault. (Photo: Ouest-France archives)

The owner of the Stade Rennais football club does not know about the crisis. At the 34e ranking place Forbes, the founder of the various luxury companies of the Breton family group, (Kering and Christie’s in particular) headed by François Pinault, 84 years old, and his son François-Henri, 54 years old, produced “A turnover of 12.6 billion euros despite a 15% drop in sales”. The Pinaults’ fortune reached 35.5 billion euros.

4. Alain and Gérard Wertheimer (29 billion euros)

Alain and Gérard Wertheimer. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

The fortune of Alain and Gérard Wertheimer is doing very well despite the health crisis. Estimated at 14.38 billion in 2020, their financial assets reached peaks in 2021 with 29 billion euros. They are at the 41e ranking place Forbes. Very discreet in the media, the two brothers are 72 and 61 year old horse riding enthusiasts, originally from Alsace. Owner of the Chanel brand, they are the ones who modernized the fashion house by hiring Karl Lagerfeld in 1983.

5. Emmanuel Besnier (16.05 billion euros)

Emmanuel Besnier. (Photo: Élodie Grégoire / Ouest-France)

Originally from Laval (Mayenne), Emmanuel Besnier occupies the 94e ranking place. At 50, the boss of the agri-food group Lactalis saw his fortune reach 16.06 billion euros. An increase of nearly 5.5 billion compared to 2020. Emmanuel Besnier is the third generation at the head of this family business created in 1933 in Laval by André Besnier, his grandfather (1894-1955).

Four new French billionaires

Despite the health crisis, four new French billionaires have entered the magazine’s ranking Forbes.

Holding 8% of the capital of Moderna Therapeutics, a leading American company in the race for anti-Covid vaccines, its CEO, the French Stephane Bancel, makes an entry directly to the 23e place on the 39 French billionaires, with a fortune estimated at 3.5 billion euros.

➞ Also read: our interview in 2015 with the boss of Moderna (when the company had just raised half a billion dollars to fund messenger RNA research)

Second entry, that ofOlivier Pomel, at the 34e place with 1.5 billion euros. The CEO of the cloud watch company Datablog owns 6% of the shares which saw their price soar by 39% after the first day of listing on the Nasdaq, according to the magazine Forbes.

Suit Francois Feuillet at the 35e place with a fortune of around 1.5 billion euros. The CEO of Trigano holds 58% of the shares of this leading European group of motorhomes and leisure equipment, and owns 9.5 hectares of fine vines, according to Forbes.

Finally, Yves-Loïc Martin enter at 36e place with 1.4 billion euros. He is the brother of Gilles Martin who founded the Eurofins Scientific analysis laboratories, positioned in the food industry, pharmacy, environment and medical biology. He is now a director and holds 11% of the shares.