Business Maverick

Business Maverick

French Protesters Briefly Storm LVMH Headquarters in Paris

French Protesters Briefly Storm LVMH Headquarters in Paris
Protesters outside the LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE headquarters in central Paris. Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

Protesters briefly stormed the Paris headquarters of LVMH on Thursday ahead of a labor union-led march against Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, setting off flares in the building on the chic Avenue Montaigne. 

Opponents of the president’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age to 64 from 62 are increasingly targeting symbols of capitalism and business in France after the organized protests in recent weeks had little impact on the government’s plans.

On the morning of the previous day of strikes, small groups entered buildings housing the offices of BlackRock Inc. and Natixis SA.

“Apparently our government is struggling to finance our social security and pension system, so money needs to be found where it is, which is in billions in companies like LVMH,” Fabien Villedieu from the Sud-Rail unions said on BFM TV after leaving the luxury company’s building.

Macron’s government says raising the pension age is vital to boost employment rates and halt the build-up of deficits in the massive public retirement system as the population ages. Unions say changing the age thresholds to claim a full pension will disproportionately penalize the least well-off and that there are other options to balance the system, including higher taxes on business and the wealthy.

LVMH shares rose to a record on Thursday after the company reported strong first-quarter sales as Chinese shoppers emerged from the world’s strictest lockdowns and splashed out on luxury handbags and jewelry.

LVMH’s multibillionaire founder, Bernard Arnault, saw his fortune cross the symbolic $200 billion threshold last week. On Thursday, it stood at $198 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making Arnault the world’s wealthiest person.

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