WORLD | Mar 2, 2023

Elon Musk returns as world’s richest man

/ Our Today

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Bernard Arnault now reverts to Number 2

Elon Musk

Elon Musk has recovered his title as the world’s richest man, which was taken away in mid-December by French businessman, Bernard Arnault.

Arnault, 73, is chief executive of the French luxury-goods giant, LVMH, the owner of prestigious brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Bloomberg Billionaires Index indicated that the French tycoon took first place from Musk on December 13, the day his net wealth was estimated at US$171 billion, compared with US$164 billion for Musk, 51.

The fortunes of the two men are based on their stakes in their respective companies. Arnault owns 48 per cent of fashion and luxury giant, LVMH. Musk currently owns 14.11 per cent of Tesla’s shares outstanding, according to FactSet.

The tech billionaire also has a more than 40 per cent stake in SpaceX. The changes among the elite of the wealthy stemmed mainly from Tesla having a bad year on the stock market. 

Musk vs Arnault

LVMH share prices benefited from the reopening of economies around the world after two years of COVID lockdown but, since the start of the year, Tesla shares have rebounded strongly on the stock market. Arnault hasn’t slowed down but Musk’s comeback is supersonic.

Over the first two months of the year, Tesla stock is up 68.6 per cent, which translates to US$267 billion more market capitalisation. This revival in turn reflects the sparkling fourth-quarter results the Austin EV producer reported.

In addition, Tesla’s horizon seems clear: Demand for the group’s cars is at record highs, Musk told analysts on January 25. The automaker also plans to produce up to two million vehicles this year after 1.37 million in 2022. 

In a few months, Tesla will also start production of the highly anticipated Cybertruck, its first pickup/truck. This vehicle, whose order book is full, to the point where Tesla no longer takes orders in many parts of the world, is seen as the firm’s new cash cow.

Bernard Arnault, Chief Executive Officer of LVMH. (File Photo: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

Tesla is holding an Investor Day on March 1 and the markets are expecting Musk to make some dramatic announcements. The billionaire could unveil a US$25,000 vehicle, which would allow Tesla to reach a large audience.

All this news has therefore benefited Tesla but also Musk. His personal fortune is now estimated at US$187 billion as of February 27, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. It is up US$50.1 billion this year.

The tech mogul now finds himself ahead of Arnault, whose net worth is estimated at US$185 billion, up by US$23.2 billion this year.


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