Home » Johann Rupert’s wealth slump could shake Africa’s richest ranking

Johann Rupert’s wealth slump could shake Africa’s richest ranking

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Johann Rupert

South African billionaire Johann Rupert, who recently claimed the title of Africa’s richest man, could face losing his position as his net worth takes a hit due to a decline in the share price of his luxury goods holding company, Richemont.

Since overtaking Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote on June 16 to become Africa’s richest man, Rupert has seen his net worth decrease by $700 million, falling from $12 billion to $11.3 billion. In contrast, Dangote’s fortune has grown by $400 million, rising from $10.8 billion to $11.2 billion, narrowing the gap between the two titans.

The recent setback in Rupert’s wealth can be attributed to the dip in the market value of his 9.14-percent stake in Richemont, which accounts for the majority of his fortune.

Over the period since June 16, Richemont’s shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange have experienced a 10.34 percent drop, falling from CHF150.45 ($171.94) to CHF134.9 ($154.2) at the time of reporting, resulting in the market value of his stake in the company plunging below $9.4 billion.

The decline in the company’s share price comes despite a noteworthy increase in its sales during the first quarter of the 2024 fiscal year. Revenue skyrocketed from €4.65 billion ($5.23 billion) to €5.32 billion ($5.98 billion), showcasing a remarkable performance in a challenging economic period.

Richemont’s success was bolstered by the robust performance of the Asia-Pacific market, where sales surged by an impressive 32 percent, soaring from €1.17 billion ($1.31 billion) to €2.24 billion ($2.52 billion). The lifting of COVID-related restrictions and border reopenings contributed significantly to this growth.

However, the company’s organic sales, excluding the impact of currency movements, rose by 19 percent, slightly below the 20-percent expectation set by analysts. 

Furthermore, the 14-percent surge in sales to €5.32 billion ($5.98 billion) fell short of projections, with analysts at Barclays predicting €5.43 billion ($6.1 billion) and analysts at Bank Vontobel forecasting €5.54 billion ($6.2 billion).

The decline in Rupert’s fortune and the strong performance of Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s net worth set the stage for a potential shift in the rankings of Africa’s wealthiest individuals. As the market remains unpredictable, it remains to be seen who will emerge on top in the battle for the title of Africa’s richest person.

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