LVMH chief Bernard Arnault dumps remaining shares in Carrefour

French billionaire Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury group LVMH, is selling his remaining stake in Carrefour. The major shareholder is taking heavy losses, but says he continues to believe in a revival of the food retailer.


Not profitable

"After supporting Carrefour for 14 years as a long-term shareholder, we have decided to further refocus our investments", Bernard Arnault stated in a communiqué from his holding company Agache. The exit is not a big surprise: since September last year, the shareholder has been reducing its stake, which now stands at around 5.7%.


The investment of the richest Frenchman in Carrefour has not been profitable: Arnault bought his first package of 32 million shares in 2007, at a price of 47 euros per share, and continued to buy more shares in the years that followed. In 2019, he owned 69 million shares or 8.6 % of the capital. But Carrefour's share price has been languishing ever since: a share is now quoted at less than 17 euros.


"Remarkable transformation"

At the beginning of this year, Arnault was keen on the rapprochement between the Canadian group Couche-Tard and Carrefour: a deal could still have given him a partial recovery on his investment. But the French political world put a stop to this.


Now, holding company Agache wants to focus on luxury and technology, although Arnault remains positive about Carrefour: "Over the past four years, Carrefour has undergone a remarkable transformation under the leadership of Alexandre Bompard," the businessman says, arguing that the retailer "has all the assets to strengthen its recovery."


CEO Bompard has already expressed his gratitude: "Agache has backed the Carrefour Group reliably for the past 14 years. Since my arrival, I have benefited from the trust and unwavering support of Bernard Arnault at every stage of the Group's transformation. I thank him very much."