The 500 largest French fortunes exceed the 1,000 billion euro mark, according to the magazine Challenges

Bernard Arnault, the boss of the world number one in luxury LVMH remains at the top of the ranking, which he has dominated since 2017, with a fortune estimated at 149 billion euros, against 157 billion in 2021, estimates Challenges.

LVMH shares have lost 12% in twelve months on the Paris Stock Exchange, but Bernard Arnault, whose group is a 40% shareholder of Challenges, is the second richest man in the world behind Tesla boss Elon Musk, according to Forbes.

In France, it is ahead of the family of Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, heirs to Chanel (80 billion euros), as well as the Hermès family (78.7 billion euros). The top ten weigh “half the total”Challenges told AFP.

After having approached 1,000 billion euros in 2021, the cumulative value of the 500 largest fortunes in France exceeds this symbolic milestone in 2022, thanks to an increase of 5% over the year. Last year, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it jumped “30%”.

The threshold for entry into this very select group “has continued to increase” and stands at 200 million euros. In 1996, in the era of the franc, it took the equivalent of 19 million euros to earn a place there.

The “club of 500” version 2022 has “about forty new ones”. Only professional assets, listed or unlisted, are counted, specifies Challenges.

The owner of the shipping company CMA-CGM Rodolphe Saadé achieved the best progression: +30 billion euros, a record since the creation of the ranking in 1996. “His group has benefited from the explosion in demand for imported products and transport prices”notes the magazine.

Symbols of their dazzling growth, particularly in tech, Unicorns – unlisted startups valued at more than a billion dollars – are well represented. Challenges has 34 shareholders or founders of these young shoots among the 500 largest French fortunes, with an average age of 34 years.

Jacques Gaston Murray is 102 years old the dean of the ranking, displaying a fortune estimated at 1.6 billion euros. He is notably the owner of Sicli, a French brand specializing in fire safety.

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