South Africa

Johann Rupert lost R16 billion on Monday

Billionaire businessman Johann Rupert lost over R16 billion on Monday, 17 July, following a big decline in the Richemont share price.

The latest Bloomberg Billionaire Index shows that Rupert is South Africa’s richest person, with a total net worth of $13.3 billion (R234 billion).

Rupert controls the Switzerland-based luxury goods holding company, Compagnie Financiere Richemont, through a family trust.

His other holdings include Remgro, a South Africa-based investment vehicle with stakes in more than 30 companies, and Luxembourg-based Reinet Investments.

Rupert’s controlling Richemont stake is the biggest contributor to his significant wealth, ranking him among the world’s 200 richest people.

He is the managing partner of Compagnie Financiere Rupert, a company holding 10.18% of the shares of Richemont.

It also holds 51% of the voting rights of Richemont through the ownership of 522 million class B Richemont shares.

Parties associated with Johann Rupert and Compagnie Financiere Rupert hold an additional 2.8 million Richemont shares, valued at R8.3 billion.

On Monday, Richemont released a trading update for the first quarter of its 2023/24 reporting period, which disappointed the market.

Concerns about demand for luxury goods in the United States and China, two of the biggest markets for Richemont, scared investors.

Richemont also experienced significant decreases in absolute revenue levels in Europe and America.

The luxury goods industry has been counting on a rebound in China as that country’s reopening would make up for weakness in the US market.

However, this did not materialise as expected, and Richemont is now contending with the prospect that its two main growth motors are weakening.

These concerns sent the Richemont share price plummeting by 9.5% on Monday, shaving around R160 billion off the company’s market cap.

With a shareholding of 10.18% in the company, chairman Johann Rupert lost around R16.3 billion of his net wealth on the day.


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