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.
"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.
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."