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Billionaire Watch

Meet the 35-year-old German billionaire whose company manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine

Halix B.V which was contracted to manufacture AstraZeneca vaccines is managed by 35-year-old Dr Ernest Droege.

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The race for the manufacture and sales of the Covid-19 vaccines which is arguably the most sought after product in 2021 has been on for a while. Many countries have produced their versions of the vaccine and presented it for evaluation.

One of the leading Covid-19 vaccines in the race is the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been approved in over 50 countries and mostly used in Europe.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and a host of other European countries.

READ: US Billionaires earn $1.3 trn during the pandemic while 80 million lost their jobs

Halix B.V and the Droege billionaire family 

HALIX, a corporate venture and spin-off of HAL Allergy, is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), based in Leiden (The Netherlands). The company is licensed for the contract manufacturing of clinical and commercial medicines according to GMP standards.

Halix B.V is a subsidiary of Halix Allergy which is under the Droege Group, an independent advisory and Investment Company founded in 1988 and under full family ownership. According to Reuters, Halix B.V was contracted to manufacture AstraZeneca vaccines. The company is managed by 35-years Old Dr Ernest Droege. His father, Walter Droege started the family business in 1988 and is the 37th richest man in Germany according to Manager Magazine. Forbes lists Walter Droege as worth $4bn.

READ: Pandemic Billionaires: Meet Turkish couple behind $21bn BioNtech company

Dr Ernest Droege

Dr Ernest Droege took over the reins of the business from his father, Walter P. Droege in 2018. According to Bloomberg, he first studied industrial engineering at the University of Karlsruhe before eventually earning a doctorate in economics at RWTH Aachen University. He worked at Goldman Sachs for a while before joining the family business. He started as co-head of operations on the management team and worked his way up the chain.

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What you should know 

  • According to Forbes, the Droege Group is active in 30 countries and generates around $12 billion in annual revenue.

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Billionaire Watch

Meet the only man on top 5 billionaire list who is not in tech

Bernard Arnault, today owns and has huge stakes in over 70 different luxury brands in the market. 

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How Bernard Arnault Became The 4th Richest Man In The World Selling Luxury Brands

The internet has made many people multibillionaires. The first five richest people in the world are all tech gurus who made their money from the technology sector, except one.

The fourth richest man in the world has no known successful investment in technology but somehow maintains a staggering net worth of $177.8bn. He started this week as the third richest person but a surge in Microsoft stocks saw Bill Gates displace him to the 4th position at the time of writing this report.

Our person of interest sits atop a 70 luxury brands empire which includes big names like LVMH, Sephora, and Hermes. He has stakes in virtually all the big luxury brands that have become household names.

Meet Bernard Arnault, the luxury brand king 

Bernard Arnault started his adult life as an engineer but somewhere along the line, decided to delve into the world of luxury brands. At 22 he took over his father’s construction company where he rose to become president, succeeding his father.

His adventure into the world of luxury brands officially kicked off in the year 1984, with the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of financier Lazard Frères et Cie. Bernard acquired a dying textile company that owned a host of brand labels including the now-famous Christian Dior.

He surged on from there to buy and invest in virtually all the top luxury brands in the market.

According to Forbes Bernard Arnault, today owns and has huge stakes in over 70 different luxury brands in the market.

Key Strategy: Decentralization

Bernard Arnault while speaking to Harvard Business Magazine revealed what he believes is the key to his successful luxury brand empire – decentralization. 

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Bernard Arnault revealed to the Harvard Business Magazine that despite his company LVMH owning over 70 global brands and employing over 54,000 employees. The headquarters of the global company in Paris is made up of just 250 people.

A key secret of LVMH’s success is the decision to let each of its various brands run as a company of its own without much interference. Every brand runs like a different company and is headed by its own different creative director.

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He strongly believes in the notion of creativity thriving in space and he explained to HBR that acting like a typical boss around creative people stifles their creativity.

In his words, “ I don’t have alarm bells when it comes to creativity. If you think and act like a typical manager around creative people — with rules, policies, data on customer preferences, and so forth — you will quickly kill their talent. Our whole business is based on giving our artists and designers complete freedom to invent without limits.

Our philosophy is quite simple, really. If you look over a creative person’s shoulder, he will stop doing great work. Wouldn’t you, if some manager were watching your every move, clutching a calculator in his hand? So that is why LVMH is, as a company, so decentralized. Each brand very much runs itself, headed by its own artistic director. Central headquarters in Paris is very small, especially for a company with 54,000 employees and 1,300 stores around the world. There are only 250 of us, and I assure you, we do not lurk around every corner, questioning every creative decision.”  

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Brands and numbers 

The LVMH empire owns and has stakes in the following big-name brands: Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Guerlain, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Sephora, Berluti, Chaumet, Krug, Bulgari, Fendi, Céline, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo, Loewe, Loro Piana, Rimowa, Fred, Hublot, Zenith, TAG Heuer, etc.

According to Forbes, Bernard Arnault’s net worth is valued at $178.7b. He added a whopping $95bn to his net worth over the course of last year.

This massive surge was spearheaded by a 107% increase in LVMH share prices since March 18 last year.

According to Forbes, in the first quarter of 2021, LVMH recorded $16.7bn in sales revenue with analysts expecting the number to go up.

Bernard Arnault owns a 47% stake in LVMH the parent company which owns in whole and parts over 70 global luxury brands. This is his primary source of income and net worth.

What to know 

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  • The luxury industry is divided into 5 major sectors: Fashion and Leather Goods, Perfumes and Cosmetics, Wines and Spirits, Watches and Jewellery and Selective Retailing.
  • The LVMH house owns stakes in the biggest brands in the world across all 5 sectors.
  • Bernard Arnault has successfully integrated his children into the family empire with each manning a select niche in the LVMH house.
  • Bernard Arnault, speaking to Forbes, revealed that he sees himself as a custodian of the French heritage and culture.

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Billionaire Watch

Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the historic $65bn investment fraud dies at 82

Bernie Madoff passed away today at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.

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The man behind what has been described by many as the biggest fraud attempt in US history has passed away in government custody.

Bernie Madoff was the architect of the biggest Ponzi scheme attempt in the United States. He was a famous Wall Street fellow who at a certain time was the Chairman of Nasdaq and CEO/Founder of the Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Bernie Madoff defrauded about 37,000 people in 136 countries over 4 decades according to US investigators. Included in his victim list are prominent Americans like movie director Stephen Spielberg and former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

READ: Anti-virus creator, John David McAfee charged for U.S tax evasion

Bernie Madoff and the US Govt

Bernie Madoff was arrested on December 11, 2008, following tip-offs. He pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted to operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison with restitution of $170bn.

Death 

Bernie Madoff passed away today at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. His death was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Madoff died apparently from natural causes, the AP reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. He would have turned 83 on April 29.

What you should know 

  • Restitution is a payment made to compensate a victim for financial losses related to a crime.
  • Bernie Madoff’s family was badly affected by his fraud case. His older son Mark committed suicide according to CNBC.
  • JP Morgan Chase, the primary bank of Bernie Madoff was forced to pay $2.6bn to the US government in settlements.

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