Global fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton retains $6 million JobKeeper payout despite record profits during the pandemic – increasing wealth of one of the world’s richest men
- High-end French fashion house Louis Vuitton kept $6 million from JobKeeper
- Luxury brand one of many large companies claiming benefits despite making a profit
- Louis Vuitton is owned by Frenchman Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the world
A global fashion powerhouse claimed nearly $6 million from Australian taxpayers during the pandemic, despite raising its own earnings, profits and shareholder dividends.
Company records show that iconic French fashion house Louis Vuitton, estimated to be worth $558 million, claimed nearly $6 million in JobKeeper wage subsidies during the pandemic.
JobKeeper was an $88 billion wage subsidy program designed to prop up the economy during the Covid-led downturn of 2020, but employers were only allowed to claim it if they experienced a 30 percent drop in revenue.
Louis Vuitton’s disclosure, which came the same week that billionaire Gerry Harvey returned the $6 million his company Harvey Norman received from JobKeeper, brought a sharp rebuke from the federal assistant shadow treasurer.
Global fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton claimed nearly $6 million from Australian taxpayers during the pandemic — despite raising its own earnings, profits and shareholder dividends
Company records show Louis Vuitton, estimated to be worth $558 million, claimed nearly $6 million in Australian JobKeeper wage subsidies during the pandemic
In 2020, Louis Vuitton’s total sales revenue increased from $482.2 million to $465.5 million from the prior year.
Total income taxes more than doubled to $28 million, while after-tax profits grew from $29.5 million to $54.9 million.
Shareholder dividends rose nearly $7 million to $33 million.
“Louis Vuitton certainly had a luxury pandemic,” Dr. Andrew Leigh to Daily Mail Australia.
“A company that has increased its revenues and profits by selling $3,600 dumbbells does not need support from the Australian taxpayer,” he said.
“They should reach into one of their $10,000 portfolios and repay the $6 million in tax relief that they clearly didn’t need.”
dr. Leigh claimed the Liberal government had deposited “$13 billion in taxpayers’ money to shareholders of billionaires and millionaire CEOs” and called it “the greatest waste of taxpayers’ money in our history.”
Labor used the Parliamentary Budget Office’s analysis to show that $13 billion went to companies that actually made a profit.
The exact amount Louis Vuitton Australia received from the JobKeeper wage subsidy was $5,965,000, compared to the $6.56 million it paid to its parent company over the same period.
Companies would only claim JobKeeper if they had a 30-year decline in sales, but Louis Vuitton’s total sales revenue in 2020 rose to $482.2 million, from $465.5 million the previous year, by its own record.
The man who benefited most from Louis Vuitton’s payments was Bernard Arnault, who owns 47 percent of Louis Vuitton, and was named the richest man in the world in August — ahead of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Louis Vuitton’s own data shows that during the pandemic, the Australian branch increased sales by 3.5 percent and increased their profits by 86 percent to $25 million.
Under JobKeeper, companies received $1500 every two weeks per employee to cover the cost of their wages.
The man who benefited most from Louis Vuitton’s payments was Bernard Arnault, who owns 47 percent of Louis Vuitton, and was named the richest man in the world in August, ahead of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Previously, electronics retailer Harvey Norman has yielded to public pressure and refunded $6 million in JobKeeper grants after revealing record profits.
The company has come under intense criticism after its headquarters and franchisees received more than $20 million in wage subsidies last year despite rising sales.
Billionaire chairman Gerry Harvey had previously refused to return the money, insisting it was only a ‘small amount’.