Bernard Arnault, owner of LVMH, transfers assets to Belgium

As a safeguard against the socialist move by the French Government to increase taxation, France’s richest man and owner of the world’s largest luxury group, LVMH, transferred a 31 per cent stake in Groupe Arnault to Pilinvest based in Belgium, according to newspaper Liberation. He also transferred the voting rights attached to 48.5 per cent of the equity of the holding to Pilinvest, Liberation said. Arnault had already donated the 48.5 per cent stake in Groupe Arnault without voting rights to his five children.

Arnault has been seeking Belgian citizenship, a move a spokesman for LVMH said last week was aimed at protecting a foundation he created to maintain the unity of his family’s holding in case he passes away. According to the statutes of the foundation, which is to run until 2023, administrators must be at least 50 years old, which would prevent Arnault’s five children from ever sitting on its board and selling their stakes or part of the group or their assets.

A company spokesperson said: “Bernard Arnault’s main wish is to protect LVMH as the world’s leading luxury goods group because it sells French products throughout the world, which is important for France. The aim of this foundation is to protect the integrity of the LVMH group until 2023.” Arnault’s application for Belgian citizenship has caused an uproar in France, perceived as an attempt to dodge French President Francois Hollande’s planned tax hikes on the wealthy. Arnault has since said he planned to remain a fiscal resident of France

Bernard Arnauld, owner of LVMH transfers assets to Belgium